Monday, 10 June 2013

Patagonia flat: it's all relative

Things that are flat: the of of a top hat, the prairies, the top of the desk my computer is sitting on.

Funny, Patagonia didn't make it on my list.  That's because the hikes are NOT FLAT, no matter how cute your guide thinks the term "Patagonia flat" is, it doesn't make the trail any flatter.  Nope, not at all.  

My first introduction to the Patagonian terrain was on the trek to Mount Fitzroy.  Why start small when you can go BIG?! And so, on my first first day of trekking with GAdventures in Patagonia, I was off on an eight hour hike to Mount Fitzroy.  Our journey began through some relatively flat, forested terrain.  The branches on the trees were twisted like the enchanted forests of long ago tales and we could see Fitzroy in the distance.  We just had to make it through this forest,  across the meadow, over the bridge and up the side of the mountain.  That's all.  No biggie. 

The first part of the hike was what we'd consider "Patagonia flat".  Small hill-like rolling elevations.  You take a couple of steps up, you go a couple of steps down, but you're usually within about 20 steps of "flat".  So in Patagonia that is flat, in Saskatchewan those are mountains, but I digress.  The most challenging part of these "flat" areas are those tricky tree roots that come out of nowhere and try to trip you.  Little rascals!  I refuse to believe that I stubbed my toe that many times because I wasn't paying attention to where I was going.  I blame enchanted tripping trees.

The climb to the viewpoint at Fitzroy is probably why there is such a term as 'Patagonia flat".  The trail leads you straight up the side of a mountain  for about an hour, so hopefully your legs aren't too tired after all that "flat" terrain. And in comparison to what you're now up against, that area was definitely comparatively flat. So pull up your socks, because that's not going to be an easy climb even if you're lucky enough to get warm and sunny weather to hike in.   

The climb is challenging.  There are a lot of rocks to propel yourself over and around.  Watch out for the wobbly ones! Enchanted rocks too? Nope, you only find those on the way down.  Getting up them is hard enough without them trying to play tricks on you.  But when you finally get to the top, the burning in your legs is so worth it.  It's gorgeous!   I'm pretty sure there's an old adage somewhere that you appreciate things more when you've had to work for them.  Maybe Patagonia is just trying to remind us of that. 

Just don't be deceived: Patagonia Flat is not actually flat, it's all relative.