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30 November 2012 / leggypeggy

A taste of farm life in the wilds of Patagonia

Campground in Chile

What a backdrop for camping in Chile

This overland trip has delivered a first for us—a camping stay on a remote farm.

This wasn’t just any farm. It’s located on the outskirts of the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and, more or less, set up as a campground.

Now imagine this. We’re in the very south of South America. It’s November and almost summer. It’s blowing, snowing and raining. It’s Thanksgiving Day.

The big bonuses are stunningly beautiful scenery, a spacious cookhouse with two wood fires and tables and chairs, running water, shelters for some of the tents, hot showers, toilets and toilet paper.

Over the next six days we made the most of everything.

Laundry in Chile

Quick drying laundry—note the angle on Poor John’s blue shirt

Hot showers were top of the list, along with laundry. Water tanks had to be refilled twice a day—with water pumped from a well or the nearby river, Rio Cerrano.

Keeping the fires going was important too, which meant chopping, gathering and splitting wood. There were hikes in the national park, horse riding, fishing, cooking, long walks around and near the farm, and a lot of card playing. There were even bridge lessons!

It was freezing cold, and most everyone took a night or two to figure out how to stay warm in their tent. Here’s a tip. Put a towel or a sarong between your roll mat and sleeping bag—helps to distance you from the cold ground.

Patagonian lamb

Barbecuing the Patagonian lamb

In spite of the cold nights and howling winds, the weather wasn’t too bad during most days. Our laundry dried in a couple of hours even though the temperature was about 8°C or 46°F! Mind you our hands nearly froze doing the washing.

Boredom set in. The overall stay was longer than it needed to be, except for the group who did a three-day hike in the Torres del Paine (I’ll write separately about that and some hikes I did), and even they got bored in a day.

That said, a huge highlight was the barbecued Patagonian lamb the farm owner cooked for us on the night the long-distance hikers returned. He cooked it in the traditional Patagonian way—with the whole lamb butterflied. I have no idea what herbs he used but it was, without doubt, the tastiest lamb I’ve ever had in my life.

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6 Comments

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  1. lmo58 / Nov 30 2012 8:52 am

    You’re right Peggy—it is incredibly beautiful. But I have a question: if it’s nearly summer, why is it blowing, snowing and raining? Are they having an unusually cold spring? It must have been really good too having hot water for showers and the lamb sounds very yummy. Presumably it came with lots of veggies? So pleased to see that you’re having such a fine time and feel very privileged to have friends who are adventurous enough to have these sorts of holidays. I would never be brave enough for some of the stuff you’ve done but I so enjoy reading about your exploits and feasting on your photos.

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    • leggypeggy / Nov 30 2012 10:24 am

      Patagonia has some of the wildest weather in the world. Almost always windy and never really warm. The daytime high on the farm was about 12 to 14°C. Who knows what the wind chill was? Trees grow horizontally.
      The farmer only made the lamb. We made salads and veggies.
      As for the travel, we’re having a wonderful time.

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  2. braith an' lithe / Dec 1 2012 12:50 pm

    Sadly that sounds rather like summer where I live! Would love to go to Patagonia though…

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    • leggypeggy / Dec 9 2012 2:16 pm

      Oh dear, hope you manage to stay warm during your summer. I think Patagonia gets a bit warmer as summer progresses. Hope you get there one day.

      Like

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