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Days 21 & 22 (February 17 & 18, 2012) George Gaylor Sympson was an American Paleontologist—the most influential paleontologist in the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis. In Sympson’s first book, Attending marvels. A Patagonian Journey (1934), he describes his travels across Patagonia, mainly collecting fossils. I highly recommend this book if you are planing to visit Patagonia. It describes this land many years ago, but the landscape has not changed much. Here is a quote from the book:

“Bleak, a.,” says the dictionary. “Exposed to wind and weather. Syn.: bare, barren, bitter, blank, cheerless, chill, cold, cutting, desolate, dreary, exposed, hostile, raw, stormy, unfriendly, unsheltered, waste, wild, windy. The dictionary has taken the words right out of my mouth. Patagonia is all of that, and I may as well start repeating it now: Patagonia is bleak.”

George Gaylord Simpson, Attending Marvels. A Patagonian Journey. Macmillan Pub. Co. (1934)

For the last two days we have been riding in the southern part of the Chubut Province both on paved and gravel roads. It has been raining a lot and at times Sympson’s use of the work “bleak” to describe Patagonia has rung very true in my mind. You might wonder why on earth would anybody want to go to the Patagonia described in that quote. Well, because Simpson was exaggerating. Patagonia is wild and windy, but not bleak and hostile. There are locations that seem very desolate and raw but all of the sudden you see a herd of guanacos gracefully running through the steppe and Patagonia comes alive.