A Travellerspoint blog

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

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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

Road Trip with amigos from home!

Southern Lake District, Argentina

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View South America 2009 on retomer's travel map.

A road trip in a foreign country is very similar to a road trip at home. There are driving games, singing in the car, long silences contemplating the scenery, searching for the perfect campsite, beers at lunch, mosquitos in the mornings.....and of course a perfect campfire.

Greg and I were beyond stoked that our friends Jenny and Brock met us in Bariloche, Argentina with a rental car. It all started as a "hey, wouldn´t it be cool if we could meet in Argentina" thought one day months ago. The plan continued to take shape in between volleyball games (sometimes overlapping into the actual play) and crazy poker nights. Then, wow, all the sudden Greg and I were on an Argentinian road trip with our friends from Santa Cruz! This is the first time that any of our friends or family have been able to hook up with us when we´ve been on the road.

Sharing a travel adventure with friends from home is unique and special. There is the familiarity of long time friendship mixed in with the un-known of a foreign place.....we shared hikes and waterfalls, as well as artensenal beers and yummy meals in terrain new to all of us. We laughed and scrabbled and reminisced while philosophising and recalling seinfield and south park scenes like we do at home.

Thanks for the fun, Jenny and Brock. And especially thanks for the Trader Joes´s peanut butter!

PS - The El Bolson mustard is almost gone, que lastima!

Posted by retomer 13:36 Archived in Argentina Tagged tourist_sites

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