What struck me most about Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonian region of Chile were the colors. Depending upon the angle of the sun, the mountains of the Cordillera Paine Massif range from the deepest black to pale gray, lavender, and Wedgwood blue. As the sun sets, abundant feldspar in the granite flanks reflect iridescent orange patches. Add snowy peaks and grass covered foothills, and the mountains of Torres del Paine become a veritable rocky rainbow. Even the name of the park is derived from a color. Paine means “blue” in Aonikenk, the language of the original inhabitants.
Late in the afternoon, I took this photo at Lago Nordenskjold viewpoint. The oblique angle of the sun’s rays illuminated the landscape in iridescent colors that seemed almost unworldly. The lakes in the foreground added to the mystique. Though waters fed by glaciers often exhibit unusual colors due to the minerals deposited in them, I simply could not puzzle out why two adjacent lakes would reflect such disparate hues. I could have wandered for days, drinking in the stunning beauty of this park that National Geographic Magazine named the fifth most beautiful place in the world.
If you enjoyed this mini-article about Lago Nordenskjold Viewpoint in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, you may also be interested in my stories about Santiago, the capital of Chile; Puerto Natales; and about the llama-like Guanaco that are found throughout Torres del Paine NP.