Five days and four nights of Patagonian trekking and camping in Torres del Paine started a week ago today – and flew by in the blink of an eye, as I knew it would. I’m certainly different now from the girl who stepped into that adventure one week ago, and really, that’s one of many takeaways I love about time in nature. Disconnecting from what has become the hustle and bustle of life allows for infinite genuine connections with ourselves, the people around us and some of the most important parts of this planet we’re so lucky to call home – and Torres del Paine is one special place.
I carried so much on the trail with me throughout those five days. Some anticipated. Some unanticipated. It’s been an emotional adventure, to say the least, and I am grateful in the depths of my soul for every step of the journey. Quite literally. It was amazing to see the expanse of the park on Monday as we drove back to Puerto Natales. The postcard view was something we hadn’t yet seen, and as we drove further from the mountains, we could more or less see all the ground we’d traversed as each mountainous benchmark became visible. Every day. Every kilometer. Every memory. It’s crazy how time flies and, really, how the world can feel so small and ginormous all at once.
Our Overseers Cottage adventure on Table Mountain is by far one of my favorite moments from my month in Cape Town, and as is the case with most adventures, this story doesn’t start with the trek itself. It starts roughly three days before — when I knew nothing of Overseers Cottage.
Night one. Mile 18. As I walk away from the campfire and circle of chairs, I gaze up at the stars and dark canyon walls. I can’t imagine how much taller these walls will get, how much further we have to travel.
I look down again and turn on my headlamp. The bright glow reveals where others are sleeping. I’m cautious to walk around them, my steps uneven in the sand. I can hear my dad snoring as I grow close to our family’s spot for the night, a mini bluff above the river.
Near my tarp, I dig my journal out of my dry pack and scribble, “Can’t believe how far in we are and how far we have to go.” A generic comment. I’m tired, don’t give it much thought. As I settle into my sleeping bag and let my head sink into my pillow, I continue to study the stream of stars above.
The dark canyon walls provide a focused view of a sky I’ve seen many times in many places. In the coming days and nights, I’ll realize my time in the Grand Canyon is also providing a focused view of me.