A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: goyo

Calafate

fun with glaciers

semi-overcast

So after Chalten, the next logical destination heading south is to the town of Calafate. This town is totally different from Chalten as it is an actual town with all the ameneties including an airport that ushers in thousands of tourists to view the main attraction....the glacier Perito Moreno.

Maybe you are like me and are thinking " big whoop. a mass of ice moving really slow". In fact it turned out to be really big whoop! I was blown away by our experience there.

We arrived at daybreak and we were trated to a double rainbow arcing over an imense wall of ice. Once more this wall of ice was cracking and popping as gravity shoved it piece by piece into the lake before us. Imagine the cracling sound your ice cubes make when you pull them out of the freezer.....now multiply that by a thousand! It was pretty amazing! It gets even better.

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At times when hearing this sonic release of energy big chunks of ice would fall off into the water. Some as big as cars. Later we went on a boat to get a closer look from water level at the 150 foot wall of ice. It was from this vantage point that we witnessed a chunk the size of two 5 story buildings peel off and explode into the water. Just when it seemed like that was it, these massive ice cubes came shooting back to the surface, shooting violent jets of water and causing a 5 foot wave.

Pretty sweet!

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Posted by goyo 18:05 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking

Tucked away in El Chalten

Trek to Fitz Roy

sunny

We hopped off la ruta 40 for a stop in the little village of El Chalten. We arrived before daybreak, hour 30-some of bus travel, stepping off into harsh wind and wet streets. Its always a rush showing up in totally foreign towns, but the cold, dark conditions lent a sense of urgency to get inside somewhere quick. There were only a couple streets lights and we bent over our guide book map trying to figure out which direction to go, ending up head down, hood on, zipper up heading to Patagonia Hostel.

Why did we come to El Chalten? It is the closest thing resembling a town near the amazing natural granite spires of Fitz Roy and Cero Torre. These are famed natural wonders and we wanted to see for ourselves what the fuss is about,

Luckily the the towns proximity to these wonders made access pretty quick. Considering the areas reputation for volitile weather, that was a good thing.

The day we arrived was overcast and rainy with just a peak here and there of some far off snowy peaks. The next day dawned gorgeouse and seizing a break in the rainy forecast, we headed out towards Fitzr Roy, the larger of the zaugernauts named after the captain of the ship the "Beagle" of Charles Darwin fame. We had a perfect day. A 2 hour approach to the campground had us gasping at the views of Fitz Roy.

We pitched our tent in the designated camping area among a few others. From there we hiked up another hour or so on a very steep hillside to access the glacial lake that sits at the base of the Fitz Roy formations.

For me this is religion. Nothing inspires more than the sublime majesty of places like this. We just sat there staring for a long time trying to take it all in. As soon as the sun moved new features would reveal themselves through shadows.

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Reluctantly we went back to camp and easy sleep. Sure enough first thing in the morning light rain prompted us to get up and going. Good thing we did as we ended up hiking out in a storm, four hours of wet, though with our rain gear on it wasn't bad at all.

Another perfect excursion. We seem to be lucky with weather when it counts. Alot of people don't get to view these things due to bad weather.

Posted by goyo 17:49 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking

La (infamous) Ruta 40

If we rode horses we would never had made it

all seasons in one day

So after a fun time with our friends Brock and Jenny ( who made an amazing effort to come hang out with us for a week ) it was time to head into the deep south of South America. To Patagonia.

We chose to set out on the infamous Ruta 40. This "highway" parrallels the Andes as it makes its way south, similar to HWY 395 and the Sierras. This bus ride took us 33 hours to complete. We should have gotten some kind of merit badge or at least a free beer at the end of it.

The mostly unpaved highway rolls along some of the most desolate terrain on the planet. This wouldnt be so bad if the bus ever got going faster than 30 miles an hour, which it only did on the short paved sections. So there we were dragging along in the middle of absolutely nowhere, with the notorious Patagonian winds thwarting every mile. At times the wind was so strong the bus had to just stop. I imagined we were in a toy truck and a giant toddler was having his way with us.

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It was one of the coolest experiences so far! The feeling of isolation yet knowing at the end of it all something special waited. And We can say " yeah, we know Ruta 40"

Posted by goyo 17:36 Archived in Argentina Tagged bus

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