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Into the Mountains

granite peaks of the Andes Mountains' Tres Torres in Patagonia, Chile, with guanacos on the steep slopes in the foreground
Patagonia, Chile, in summer, by Helen Weismeyer

Patagonia, Chile, in Summer

With the jagged, misty Andes range in the background, AAA Washington member Helen Weismeyer pointed her camera at a few guanacos (smaller relatives of llamas and alpacas).

With the jagged, misty Andes range in the background, AAA Washington member Helen Weismeyer pointed her camera at a few guanacos (smaller relatives of llamas and alpacas).

“They were everywhere, probably 100 in view at a time, scattered over many acres,” Weismeyer says. “I took the picture of the ones that were posing for a photo!”

A former Riverside, California, college teacher who retired to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Weismeyer was on a South American tour in February 2008. The trip started at Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. A small cruise ship then took her around Cape Horn and through the Strait of Magellan to Punta Arenas.

From there, she was on her way to Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. The bus drove past lakes, forest and even a puma walking near the road before pulling into a parking area surrounded by grassy pampas. In this picture, one of the granite peaks of “Tres Torres” (three towers) is obscured by fog.

It’s cool and often windy where Weismeyer was standing. She wore a down jacket even though February is Patagonia’s summer, snapping the photo with a Nikon D70 camera using a telephoto lens.

Weismeyer has visited more than 60 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia, including India, Tibet, Nepal, Egypt, Morocco and Japan — but this scene was particularly memorable.

“When I look at all my photos, I would be happy to return to Patagonia and take the same tour again,” Weismeyer says.

– Written by Victor Whitman

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