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Professional photographer Damien Poullenot of France, travelled across Patagonia with his young family of five, in 2016. Together they witnessed spectacles of mother nature that will stay with them forever.

Mount Fitz Roy, Southern Patagonia
(pictured above)

We arrived in El Chalten after two days of non-stop travelling on ‘ripio’ (dirt road) in our campervan. It had taken us two full days to drive across Patagonia and the weather was extremely bad. We arrived in El Chalten at sunset and as if in a dream, all the elements came together at the right time. We drove over a hill and came upon the most amazing and impressive landscape we had ever seen. Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre were facing us. Alone on a desert road in Patagonia, we just took our time to admire it! We stayed in El Chalten for three days and spent three amazing days hiking with perfect weather, something that is not very common in Southern Patagonia!

El Chalten
This was a hike we did on the last day in El Chalten. We were looking for trails that were not as well known. I was not that confident with the bridge, so I went first and the kids followed. For them it was fun. As long as you look confident your kids will trust you 100%.

© Damien Poullenot

Perito Moreno Glacier
After Fitz Roy, we headed south to visit the iconic Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the largest and most famous glaciers due to the fact that it is one of the only ones that keeps moving and changing each year. As we were in the campervan, we camped in front of the entrance to the national park, so we were the first to enter the park the next morning. This picture was taken just when we arrived with the first morning light.

Visiting the Perito Moreno was one of the more intense experiences in nature that we had. Just like the power of the sea during a strom, we could feel the power of the nature right in front of us. We stayed and watched the glacier for hours. Every 20 minutes the glacier was pushing so much, that you could hear big cracks and see walls as high as 30 metres of ice falling into the lake. That was just a crazy experience!

© Damien Poullenot

Guanacos
We left and headed into the extreme south of Patagonian Chili to visit Torres del Paine. The roads and colors were crazy with the Guanacos all over the Pampa (desert). Like Kangaroos in Australia, we had to be really careful while driving as they love jumping just in front of your car.

© Damien Poullenot

Torres del Paine
We arrived by night into Torres del Paine National Park in Southern Chilean Patagonia and planned to do a big hike to the Mirador Del Torre, first thing in the morning. When we woke up and opened the campervan, this was our view. Not bad!

© Damien Poullenot

Mirador del Torre
The most famous trail to the Mirador del Torre is considered the most difficult and with three kids, including the youngest of five, we were not confident of reaching the top. The hike takes eight hours, over 16 kms and is almost 1000 metres in elevation. The weather was bright but very windy and some parts were not so easy with the wind, especially the last part which was extremely steep with sliding rocks. People couldn’t believe we were hiking on this trail with the kids and applauded each of them. They were really proud.

When we arrived at the top (pictured here) it was so windy that it was hard to stay in the same place and just watch the towers. We had to find places to hide under the rocks to rest and keep warm (you can see Noe under a rock on my left).

© Damien Poullenot

Torres del Paine
This was another hike we did in the Torres del Paine National Park. After the big one the day before, my wife Charlotte and daughter Lily were exhausted, so I took the other two kids and we hiked this trail alone. In three hours we only came across three people!

© Damien Poullenot

Tierra del Fuego
After Torres del Paine we headed further south again, going through the Strait of Magellan to arrive in Tierra del Fuego. We had heard about a colony of King penguins here that was apparently the only place on the continent, where you could observe this species of penguin.

It took us many long hours on dirt road, in middle of nowhere to reach the place and when we arrived, we were completely alone and spent a few amazing hours observing the penguins all by ourselves. They were extremely curious and fearless of humans, so we experienced rare scenes of the kids facing and the penguins facing one another. This was the most southerly point we reached before getting on the road to to explore the Atlantic coast of Argentina.

© Damien Poullenot

Commerson’s Dolphin
On our road north up the Atlantic coast, we reached Puerto Deseado where we faced a huge huge storm. We took the wrong road with the campervan and had to go back, as we almost rolled the campervan and had a part of the roof fly away. When we finally could get back on the road, we reached Rawson where we stayed a few days to rest and observe this rare species of dolphin, the Commerson’s dolphin, a really small (1.5m), active and playful species.

© Damien Poullenot

Valdes Peninsula
We travelled to the Valdes Peninsula Nature Reserve, a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its rich diversity of its marine and land species.

It is one of the only places in the world where you can witness orcas attack seals on the beach. To see them attack, is extremely rare and a once in a lifetime spectacle of nature. A team of National Geographic filmmakers were there for a week trying to film them in an inaccessible location in the reserve. Tourists are only allowed in one of the areas where they are supposed to attack, and they hadn’t been seen for weeks when we arrived. After only three hours an attack took place right in front of us! We were exceptionally lucky that day and unfortunately the TV crew missed the whole thing. Our kids didn’t realise how lucky they were and they still think seeing orcas attack on the beach is just a normal, everyday occurrence.

To see more of Damien’s epic photography from locations around the world visit: http://damien-poullenot.fr/photos/