And the Chicago Tribune...

15 March 2007
5:15 PM

1 Comment

Who knew I was at the head of such a journalistic fad? Shortly after I wrote about Torres del Paine National Park, an article showed up in the New York Times. A reader wrote to tell me that the Chicago Tribune published another article on the park in its Sunday edition. Now I wonder if all the people I met in Torres del Paine were journalists. The Trib’s take is “Nothing’s Normal in Torres del Paine” by Alan Solomon.

In the article, Solomon makes the following clever analogy: “Los Cuernos del Paine—the Horns of Paine—are a mountain cluster, which is like saying Michelangelo’s “David” is marble.” As I read his article, I learned that he was staying at hotels and making short day hikes in the park. If I may make an analogy of my own, getting the story about Torres del Paine from someone staying in a hotel and making day hikes is is like getting the story about the moon from Michael Collins. That’s an obscure reference, but it fits: Michael Collins was an Apollo 11 astronaut; he stayed in the orbiting command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.

Why send a reporter to Torres del Paine National Park without going to the Torres of said park? Here’s one potential answer from Solomon’s article:

Trekking for miles and hours on rugged trails is about the only way to see the actual torres—the towers—of the Rio Paine.

Odds are fair to good, however, that when you get to the point when you can see them in their entirety, they’ll be enveloped in cloud or you’ll be battling face-zinging rain, or the sun will frustrate photographers by being in precisely the wrong position.

But when you do beat those odds it’s spectacular.

Torres del Paine at sunrise

You can read the Tribune article for now without registering. There is also a small photo gallery. If anyone sees a Star article on Torres del Paine, drop me a line.

Update: It turns out that you cannot read the Tribune article directly without registering. Due to the Tribune’s somewhat bizarre policy, you can read the article without registering only if you search for Torres del Paine and click on the search result “Nothing’s Normal in Torres del Paine.”

Tip courtesy of James Lewis.


Stumbled into your blog. Thanks, I think, for the plug — but a few things, for the record: 1) There might have been a spurt of Torres stories in part because the Society of American Travel Writers held its annual convention last fall in Chile; some writers, including the NY Times person, might have hit Torres to help defray the cost of attending. (My visit was unrelated to the SATW deal.) 2) I WANTED to trek in to see los Torres, but on advice of a couple of guides, the weather plus my own time constraints made that impractical. It was important to me, however, to let folks know Torres del Paine, Torres or not, was still an amazing, worthwhile destination. Hell, maybe they should have called the place “Cuernos del Paine” anyway. 3) I’d compare myself more to Buzz and Neil than to Mike: In the overall scheme of things, Buzz, Neil and I only walked a few small steps on hallowed ground — lots of Moon remains untrod, after all — but we took those steps on the chosen land, were properly awed, and are grateful for having had the privilege.

Alan Solomon

on August 17, 2007 2:11 PM

Leave a comment