There’s a lot more to unpacking after a trip then taking things out of a backpack. That little receipt from the amazing chocolate shop, the trail map from that steep hike. And it’s unpacking that I found myself once again in Patagonia. Paradise exists, and I found another piece of it in Patagonia, and with it, the renewed knowledge that the world is too big and beautiful to be seen in a lifetime. That seems so unfair.
Kilometers pass quickly below me as the mountains recede leaving space to the immense pampas. One last goodbye to Cerro Catedral from my airplane’s window and I’m well on my way back to Buenos Aires with Aerolineas Argentinas/Austral. It’s time for me to close my eyes and meditate on the past few days. I left more than just landscapes behind; I left new friends and a piece of myself. These people will go on with their travels, some far down to El Calafate or even further down to Ushuaia, other up north to Peru or Bolivia. We left each other with the hope that our roads will cross again in some other beautiful place.
One steady step after another, digging in the packed snow turned ice, me and my new hiking companion, a joyful french man answering to the name of Antoine, reach the summit of Cerro Catedral two and a half hour after leaving the base.
The view behind us is gorgeous, but what we find on the other side is breathtaking in its majesticity. The rugged white topped mountains meet the deep blue sky with Cerro Tronador standing high in its authority. The narrow valleys below are of a lush green and broken only by streams that snake their way within them. This is a beauty that hurts. I cannot stop thinking how much longer will our beautiful planet resist human impact. How many places like this one have already disappeared? So far we have not found another planet like ours, wouldn’t that be a reason good enough to protect what we have? Each one of us has limited power; what I can do, and it’s what I do best, is traveling to places like this and share what I see with others so that they may understand what we have and what we shouldn’t lose.