Upon arriving in Patagonia, we were greeted at the airport by our Nat Geo Expert, Tommy Heinrich, with a sign and a big hello. We piled into a van and made our way to the Villa la Angostura in Bariloche.

Group shot in the Arrayanes forest.

Group shot in the Arrayanes forest.

When we arrived, seemingly endless mountains greeted us. After snapping photos and eating snacks, we took our first hike, accompanied by a friendly local dog who joined us on the mountain trail. As we climbed further and further up the mountain, we took in the beauty of the Argentinean landscape. By the end of our hike, we had grown SO EXCITED to explore the natural beauty of Patagonia.

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Yoga sunset session on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Photo by student Kayla G.

After our hike, we boarded a ferry and sailed on the Nahuel Huap lake to Peninsula Quetrhue. On the ferry we saw how the beautiful mountains graced the horizon. The top of some of the mountains were covered in snow, which was hard to believe after leaving the hot summer of the United States. Once we arrived on the peninsula, we observed the arrayanes trees- they have light bark and are native to Argentina.

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Students marvel at groves of arrayanes trees in Arrayanes National Park.

After exploring the peninsula for a little bit, we warmed our chilled bodies with a nice cup of hot chocolate. After sailing back on the lake, we stopped by the shore just in time to snap a picture of the sun setting on the mountains.  The night was capped off with a presentation from Tommy about his life as a photographer for National Geographic, and his many expeditions including climbing Mount Everest.

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We then made our way to Chile! Our home for the past four days was a cozy refuge and there we slept soundly above the clouds on the side of the Osorno Volcano.

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Our arrival in Chile!

We paddled our way through fjords in kayaks, stargazed, and have gone on long hikes. Witnessing spectacular sunrises and sunsets have opened our eyes to this place, and it seems unreal to experience all of this in just a few days.

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Students point out and photograph the volcanoes surrounding Lake Todos Los Santos near Ensenada, Chile.

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Students kayak the dramatic scenery of Reloncavi Fjord, Chile.

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Students hike near La Picada in the shadow of the Osorno Volcano, Chile.

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The Milky Way and southern sky as seen from our base camp, the Teski Refugio, high atop the flanks of the Osorno Volcano.

Our NatGeo expert Tommy has been a great support for us all, both emotionally and intellectually. It’s been an honor to get to know such a humble human being! We are very sad to see Tommy leave, but our memories will not go away. The rest of the day was spent strolling though the town of Puerto Varas. Tomorrow we head back to Argentina. The adventure continues!

Nat Geo expert Tommy Heinrich shoots along the shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Photo by Johanna E.

Nat Geo expert Tommy Heinrich shoots along the shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Photo by Johanna E.