Emily Mitterhuemer knows firsthand that trekking in Patagonia really puts you through your paces, but reaching your goals in this awe-inspiring region of South America has the greatest rewards…
“I know that hiking up a mountain is not for everyone, but bear with me for a moment. The feeling that you get when you have slogged your way up the toughest part of the trail and the perfect lookout point appears from over the ridge, is a particularly special one. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, not to mention privilege, to be in a hard to reach place that is difficult to achieve any other way. Patagonia is a particularly rewarding place to test your endurance and get back into shape (like you have been promising) with the added bonus of breathtaking scenery and the cleanest air imaginable.
The hike up from El Chalten, a new town in the mountains created entirely for hikers and tourists, to dramatic Mt Fitzroy is one of the most incredible and thrilling places to walk. It takes all day, covers 28 km (17 miles) and is worth every step. I can’t say that walking is my favourite thing to do, as I would much rather sit in a cafe and watch the mountains, cappuccino in hand, but I have been opened up to a new world of enjoyment and the brotherhood of the hiker.
It is a world where you envy another hiker’s rain jacket or long-lasting, supportive shoes, rather than lusting after that ‘it’ bag or open-toe patent leather pumps. In this world we are all out for one reason, and that is to appreciate the beauty of some of the wildest and most stunning places you could ever hope to come across. With just your backpack and walking shoes to rely on you can see some great things – and you don’t even need to be experienced, just committed.
My life before this trip was a pretty sedentary one, with the occasional dog walk being my only real exercise. Well, the dog ran around while I sat and watched more than anything. Intrepid’s Active trips are indeed active and are a fantastic way to realise just how far your legs can take you.
All up we have spent about 5 full days hiking on some pretty tough terrain, not including some of the optional extra hikes, and I feel like I could now crack a nut in my butt-cheeks – and that is just a happy side effect of having seen some of the most amazing natural sights this continent has to offer. I reckon, buying my sensible pair of hiking shoes and donning a backpack was the best thing I ever did – you should try it someday!”
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* photo by Kelly Clark – Intrepid Photography Competition