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Patagonia Part 5: Ice Kayaking and Hiking

I’ll be honest, after arriving at the final Refugio, I was not exactly thrilled about the concept of kayaking in the freezing cold 3 hours later. However, I kept my reservations to myself, took a nap, and got prepared for the cold. It was AMAZING! We weren’t out for too long, but there are not many opportunities in life to kayak right up to an iceberg and just hang out. Due to the wind/cold, I only took my camera out for a short stretch but that resulted in some of my absolute favorite photos of the trip. I think a few people were feeling the cold, so we had tea/a snack on the water, sheltered by icebergs all around us, and made our way back to land.

The next day, we did an ice hike. In my mind, we were done with hiking, but then the guides told us we had an hour hike to the start of that hike after a short boat ride. Well, by hike they really meant wet rock scramble. The way up was fine, but I just kept thinking how terrifying the way down would be. However, I didn’t let that fear get in the way of enjoying my time on the ice. What an out of this world experience! The sun broke out as we made our way off of the glacier, which was a great way to end the Chile portion of the trip. Thankfully, one of the guides stuck with me at the back, and made the trip down really easy by offering a hand at any challenging points. All in all, I am super proud of how far I’ve come because a year and a half ago that type of hiking would have sent me into a panic attack.

I’ll be honest, I was struggling to get in the right headspace that first week. I was in such a beautiful place with great people, but something wasn’t connecting my mind with those facts. The kayaking/ice hike really just brought me to such a place of joy that I stayed at through the rest of the trip, despite not feeling my best physically.

We ended the day with a boat ride back to the Glacier (sadly my camera was packed away as the sun broke out) before a crazy windy/rainy walk 40 minutes from the beach to the parking lot that was really the only time we felt the true Patagonia weather. Despite the unpleasantness, I loved it! It helped knowing we were heading back to the hotel in Puerto Natales with a great warm shower.

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