Breakfast at 6:30 and away on the tour at 7:30, Bon and I...Jake rented a bike to cycle around the area and Mari??
First stop was the Mylodon cave Visit More About Cave More Here
, where they found the remains of giant sloth-like beasts that lived about 10,000 yrs ago. The cave itself was formed by the action of a glacier which carved away the rock and as it melted and wave action took over some 35,000 years ago eating away the loose carbonate shell and rock material which had been left in the bottom of some ancient river bed perhaps millions of years ago. The indigenous peoples hearabouts have a creation legend about two serpents, one which tried to drown the people with a flood because they refused to honor him and the other which took pity upon the people and animals raising up the land above the water to save them. Both of these things happened ie. the ice age and receeding of glaciers and the other the volcanic eruptions some 6-8,000 years ago.
Next Lago Sarmiento and Laguna Amarga where we saw and learned about blue green algae Check Relationship to Earth History
which are thought to be the beginnings of life on earth. These living fossils are now found only here, in N. Chile, Salar del Llamara, and on the W. Coast of Australia. Formation of Fossils
The gravel road in the park was quite curvey, winding up and down around dozens of small lakes/ponds and big lakes as well. At Lake Nordenskjold we saw the great Paine massif formed by layers of plutonics (magma that solidified underground forming white granite) and sedimentary mudstone, a dark rock...thus providing a great contrast in the mountain itself. Here also we saw another advancing glacier, Almirante! Fantastic! See pics.
Onward to Salto Grande, nice, noisy waterfall just before entering Lake Pehoe where we stopped for lunch. Lake and Salto
Also, see pics. A long hike to a viewpoint at Grey Lake and glacier was a welcome stop for excercise and gave me a chance to taste glacier ice water from calved chunks which floated to shore. Our final stop, Lago Toro, was the last lake the rivers flow into before heading downstream to Puerto Natales and the ocean. Lago Toro
Animals we saw along the way:
Flamingos, Patagonia skunk, herds of guanacos, lots of rheas, and condors kettling Explain Kettling
overhead...plus various other birds I could not identify in/near water.