Sarah and Justin discovered their shared passion for hiking after they started dating. Both lovers of the outdoors, they're constantly on the lookout for any opportunity to explore and hike. For Justin's 40th birthday, they decided Patagonia would be the perfect place to celebrate the milestone.
As avid travelers, Sarah and Justin have hiked together in places like Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, but they noted Patagonia as their best trip yet. "We thoroughly appreciated the wilderness and it was nice to completely check-out from reality," Sarah said. "The people were very friendly, and everyone we encountered was patient and kind."
"We enjoy exploring things on our own. We wanted general direction and support for our trip but we weren't looking for anything overly guided. Audley and our specialist, Chris, respected that and found the right balance for us." -Sarah
Sarah and Justin also took on the challenging Laguna de los Tres hike; a steep and strenuous endeavor that earned them stunning photographs on a magnificent day.
"My favorite part of Argentina was El Chaltén, which is a small, remote village town with not as many visitors as popular parts of Patagonia. The town backs right up to the National Park of Los Glaciares for easy access to the hiking trails right out your front door. We got extremely lucky on the day we chose to hike to Laguna de Los Tres. It was a clear day with blues skies and sunshine. We were able to view the three iconic Mount Fitz Roy peaks on that 16 mile round trip hike to the lake back. It was a real butt kicker; especially the last mile of the hike, which is almost completely straight up." - Justin
Many travelers cite Torres del Paine as a highlight of their trip, and Justin and Sarah were no exception. "We would have loved to spend more time there, it didn't feel like enough!" Sarah said.
"If we could do it again, we would stay a couple days longer in Torres del Paine. The company Patagonia had a little shop set up at the base of the trailhead, and it was great to learn about the public works the company is doing to help preserve the National Parks in Chile and Argentina." - Justin
While in Torres del Paine, Sarah and Justin hiked the long and challenging path to the bottom of Los Torres. On the hike, they experienced virtually all four season. At the start of the hike, they wore only tank tops, but by the time they reached the base of the mountain, a snow storm came through putting them in winter jackets and hats.
The following day, Justin and Sarah tackled the Glacier Grey hike - another particularly beautiful experience. The hike is an exhausting one, and the elevation gain adds another level of challenge. However, the breathtaking views make every minute worth it.
The day-to-day routine Sarah and Justin fell into on this trip was part of what made it so enjoyable. Every morning they'd wake up and head to the local bakery before the mountain. Then, after completely exhausting themselves on hikes each day, they would return from the mountain and go straight to a local pub for beers or wine and dinner in town.
There was one particular dish that stuck with them on this trip. "We fell in love with lamb stew and ate it almost every single day," Sarah said. "Every restaurant had their own spin on it, and we ended up trying it in every town we stopped in. Within a week of being home, we got a recipe to make our own."
They also enjoyed the remote aspect of some of the excursions -- the feeling that you are in the middle of nowhere with no gas stations, no cell service; just you.
"Driving in the middle of nowhere on these dirt/gravel roads on Ruta 40 in a little 4x4 hatchback was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We drove for hundreds of miles without seeing anyone else except llamas, cattle and sheep. Sarah kept saying that she thought we were on someone’s private ranch land. It definitely felt like it, and it was a blast" - Justin
Sarah and Justin took some of their most photograph-worthy moments and put them to film. Below is a short video they compiled to highlight one of the famous treks they undertook - the W Trek in Patagonia.
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