Hunting Pumas At The End Of The World: Discovering The Dramatic Deserts, Glaciers And Deadly Cats Of Chile
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Hunting Pumas at the End Of the World: Discovering the Dramatic Deserts, Glaciers And Deadly Cats Of Chile

I had been up and travelling since 4am when I arrived, dusty and tired, in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia region.

The last part of my journey from the Atacama Desert via Santiago had involved being driven for several hours in an eight-seater minivan along the Ruta del Fin del Mundo – literally, the route to the end of the world.

It was now mid-afternoon and my first chance to unpack since arriving in Chile four days earlier.

But as I admired the mountain view from my room in the Tierra Patagonia Hotel, the phone rang: ‘We’re tracking pumas this evening – be in reception at five,’ said the voice at the other end of the line.

I almost replied: ‘No, please, I need sleep!’ But then I thought: ‘What if they do see pumas?’

Not wanting to miss such an experience, I duly reported at 5pm. And I’m so glad that I did – the two trackers with us excelled themselves.

We began by going to see the gruesome remains of a guanaco, a docile animal related to the llama that is fairly common in South America.

This one had been killed by a puma the day before, then abandoned. Condors circled menacingly overhead, impatient to resume their carrion feast once we’d gone.

After a short drive to an even more remote area, we scrambled up a rugged ridge, our best compact binoculars trained on a languid puma two or three hundred yards distant on a scrubby hillside.

The animal was joined by another puma, one that had lost her tail at some point. The first one stretched out, rigid with concentration, on a rocky ledge. We wondered what she was looking at. It turned out to be a guanaco ambling along the ground, oblivious to the threat.

Then, just when it seemed as if the guanaco was about to become supper, it disappeared from view and, almost like a scene from a cartoon, somehow re-emerged behind the puma before fleeing.

I was spoilt that first night in Patagonia – to have such luck in spotting pumas was incredible, but it didn’t detract from the other wonders of the Torres del Paine National Park, and some jaw-dropping moments were still to come. Back, though, to the Atacama Desert where my Chile trip had begun.

We travelled a little further to see ‘the Three Marias’ – million-year-old apparitions in the middle of nowhere looking like hunched figures and made of gravel, clay, salt and quartz.

Then there was bare, bleak Death Valley, with its reddish hues and system of dunes and small caves, and later that day, the Atacama Salt Flats, where our arrival coincided immaculately with the sunset. As our guide produced drinks and a selection of cheeses and crackers, we trained our compact binoculars on the flamingos, posing like pink ballerinas in the middle distance.

I learnt that the sparkling grey/white chunks of the salt rocks and boulders which stretch as far as the eye can see are formed by salts and minerals originally washed down from the Andes and then crystallised on the surface of the land. The effect is startling.

It was an all-too-brief 48 hours in the Atacama Desert – I was reluctant to leave but then, of course, I didn’t know what a treat was in store with the Patagonian pumas.

On my second day in the Torres del Paine National Park and still buzzing from seeing the pumas, I went on a gentle horse-ride with my own personal guide and gaucho in the Lenga forest.

We watched in awe as a falcon attempted to attack a much bigger eagle. On the ground, a skunk, or chingue, appeared unexpectedly but scuttled back into the safety of foliage when it saw us.

This was lucky, apparently, because if you mess with a chingue and get a dose of its ‘olor’, everyone will know for weeks to come – no matter how much you wash!

An expedition to the Grey Glacier provided a superb finale to my Chile adventure – but it nearly didn’t happen. A film crew from Santiago, who were with me and two wildlife experts, spotted a huemul, a South Andean deer, and her baby in the bushes at the side of the road. There was much excitement because huemuls are relatively rare. We spent so much time admiring them that we missed the boat that takes visitors to the glacier. Fortunately, there was one more trip that day and we managed to scamper on board.

Find best compact bird watching binoculars for sale, best compact spotting scope that let you get closer to nature.

It’s a three-hour round trip costing about £60 per person, but it’s worth it to see part of the Southern Ice Field of Patagonia.

Before I went to Chile, my knowledge of the country was limited to recognising those regions that produce great wine, so I was astonished to find how beautiful it is with such incredibly diverse landscapes and climates.

All eyes have been on Brazil more recently, but give Chile a chance and you won’t be disappointed.


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
Best Gun Safes on the Market
A quality safe for your guns is beneficial in several ways. First and foremost it will keep your guns protected if you have a break-in in your home and many safes also protect in the event of a fire. A gun safe can also keep guns away from young children…
By: joel9 in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Mar 23, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Excellent Tips to Select Rifle Guns for Hunting
Knowing the right rifle to use for a hunt is extremely vital. It might score or break the game single handedly. You will never realize what dilemmas could develop from bearing the wrong rifle during hunting activities. Therefore, it is important to take some time in selecting the best rifle…
By: Fred Gill in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Mar 18, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

The Peregrine A Hunting Life
The Peregrine Falcon A hunting life J. A. Baker’s The Peregrine is my all-time favourite book about birds and wildlife watching. Baker captures the often solitary life in a landscape of both bird and the watcher. It is full of acute and highly descriptive passages based on ten years spent…
By: Phil Whittaker in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Apr 26, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Dead on Center
Pinpoint accuracy Shooting a rifle is so much fun, but what’s more fun than just shooting a rifle is hitting your target, spot on. A rifle scope will help you accomplish this. The only problem is which one to install on your rifle, well that all depends on what you…
By: Patc in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Apr 05, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Wildlife Digiscoping
i have recently purchased some supplies for digiscoping. This is one way to get around the need for purchasing those highly-priced long lenses. Sincerely, you purchase a birding scope and digicam adapter and fasten the digicam to the scope. I've simply purchased the supplies and have not tried them, yet.…
By:  in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Sep 18, 2015  
0
  Likes: 0

The Twist
When buying an AR15 rifle, is there anything to consider? Well, yes there is. I must admit, when I bought mine, the main thing was how it looked, it is a awesome looking weapon and quite accurate. The gun is easy to take down, which means there is no excuse…
By: Patc in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   May 04, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

A Heros Best Friend
The ar15 was developed after studies concluded that the U.S. needed a new weapon to replace older designs that were used in previous wars. The ar15 encountered a few bumps along the road, including one that would directly affect you and I, if we wanted to own one. The bumps…
By: Patc in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Mar 30, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Autumn Migrations Have Begun
Thanks to shorter days and chilly morning temperatures, curious naturalists know the transition from summer season to fall has begun. More than a few fall migrations additionally provide evidence that autumn is coming. Chimney swifts are acquainted summer residents. They spend all day sweeping the sky for flying bugs at…
By:  in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Aug 31, 2015  
0
  Likes: 1

Growing up on the River
When we were kids growing up out in the country there weren't very many ways to make a few bucks other than farmhand jobs. The only other way we knew of, even back then as kids was "off the land" Summers were always busy but after harvest, getting spending money…
By: Ed Thomas in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   May 15, 2011  
1
  Likes: 1

Comfortable Shot
Do you ever see the commercials that advertise beds? More specifically, mattresses? They all have the right mattress for you, then they show you the studies and tell you that you will sleep better on a good mattress and their probably right. What about the cabs on large trucks these…
By: Patc in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Apr 28, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Horton Vision Crossbow Review - Any Good?
The Horton Vision Crossbow is no doubt one of the most unique looking crossbows on the market but does it have the stats to back it up?
By: Dave in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Feb 01, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

The End Of Guns
There are many things that one can do to the ar15 to improve the performance of the weapon or just make it look better. Just one idea is to add or replace a flash suppressor, these look great, but also have a specific purpose. Another add or replace part is…
By: Patc in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Apr 28, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Get A Grip on Your Ar
The Weaver rail mount and the Picatinny rail mount are systems that are used to mount a variety of different components to almost any type of weapon. There is a difference between the two, but not much at all. They are so close that when advertised, manufactures will identify them…
By: Patc in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Apr 13, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Stomach - resting Binoculars
Stomach-Resting Binoculars For several months now I've been using a new binoculars, one of two models introduced by Pentax last year. Designated the DCF-WP (for Water Proof), the line consists of an 8x42 and 10x42, both of which are of identical size and weight. Of course, the size of the…
By:  in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Sep 08, 2015  
0
  Likes: 0

Best Rifle Scope
Best rifle scope I realize that it is not easy to decide what the best rifle scope is, because this will depend on the kind of shooting you do. The one I might consider being the best, might not suite your kind of shooting. That is why this is my…
By: eddie1 in  Recreation and Sports  >  Hunting   Apr 27, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

Article Views: 2183    Report this Article