No Weather Forecasts Needed in Patagonia
“Let’s not talk about the weather,” said Jorge, our guide, as if I had just brought up a taboo. Jorge laughed and explained that you could never predict the weather in Patagonia and it was better to just not mention it. But when you hike the “W” Circuit in Torres del Paine, the topic of the weather comes up often, mainly because the weather is bit temperamental. Cold persistent rains, sleet, snow, winds that whip white snakes of foam across the water, an occasional patch of sun, dark ominous clouds: this is what a single day might contain. The weather is a supporting character in the cast of the many wonders and challenges of hiking Patagonia (rocky terrain, altitude, the fact you have to buy special hazard insurance just in case they have to airlift you off of a glacier); kind of like your goofy uncle who says mildly inappropriate things at family dinners and makes everyone a little uncomfortable. We did have one fine day in Paine when the winds died and the sun came out and the sky was blue and crisp and we walked slowly as if to try to absorb it all in. I mentioned something to Jorge about how it would be nice if Patagonia was always this pleasant and he said, “But then everyone would come.” And he was right. The weather is what helps keeps the actual experience of being in the rugged, unspoiled, beautiful folds of Patagonia somewhat of a secret.