Nov 4, 2013
“After rearranging the furniture, we have settled into our large room. We overlook a bog. The main body of the lake is in the distance. Saw an iceberg floating by today. We booked our glacier hike. Hope all the hiking at El Chalten has my legs in shape.”
Once again, this will be broken into parts. Perito Moreno glacier was too impressive to cut short. And, I have lots of great pictures and fun info. So here goes . . .
It took us 3-1/2 hours to drive to El Calafate. Our new home for the next month was the end unit of an apart-hotel. The first thing we did was rearrange the furniture in our large space. That’s when you find the places the maid never cleaned! It was off-season so we got a good rate.
Our room overlooked a lake. Occasionally we saw icebergs floating in the distance. Right in from of us it was more like a bog.
The following week, we booked a day of hiking the Perito Moreno Glacier, the most accessible glacier of this size in the world. While in town we rented hiking boots. Glad we did.
At 7:30 am, a bus loaded with anxious hikers picked us up for the 1 1/2-hour ride to the glacier. When we arrived, we were dropped off for a 1/2 hour to view the glacier from an extensive walkway along the coast of Lake Argentina.
Next, we were transported a short distance to a ferry. Our busload plus another group rode across the lake to a rock landing. The ride took us across the lower lake. We were glad to have a sunny day. If you look at the panoramic above, we crossed on the lake on the left. Notice the water is higher on the right.
The face of the glacier looked immense from the bow of the boat. It reaches as high as 240 feet. The glacier is 3 miles across. The picture on the left shows the rock we landed on, one side of the glacier is visible from here. Perito Moreno Glacier comes down from the left, crosses the lake and bumps into the land on the opposite side of the lake. The glacier is fed by the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
Our group gathered on the rock landing with our assigned guide. We were later to learn we had the most energetic guide. We blazed our own trail. Brutal! We began our hike walking the moraine. The moraine is a collection of the rocks pushed aside by the advancing glacier. It makes for a challenging walk. Within minutes the glacial face was disappearing from view. We followed along the edge of the glacier.
At times the glacier towered above us.
We were headed far up the “coast.” We passed other groups doing the “easy” hike. Hard to see them, look for ants above the moraine. We went much farther.
We passed an unexpected waterfall.
After at least an hour of strenuous hiking, we came down through the woods and across the moraine to the edge of the glacier. We had no clue that this had been the easy part.
Each of us was fitted with crampons before stepping onto the glacier. You could walk almost vertical up slopes. Good thing since some hills looked like you should sled down them rather then walk up them.
It was eerie. In some areas you could hear water rushing beneath your feet. We passed areas where the water had broken through from below. A glacial lake.
This is the actual color!
Someday, this large boulder will be added to the moraine. For now it is along for the ride on the glacier.
The walk was grueling, but our surroundings were outstanding!
We had to watch our step since it had snowed a few inches the previous night, making the small crevasses harder to see. The large ones we could walk through.
This one felt like I was in a surfing tube. This is the actual color!!
Beautiful blue ice caves formed.
At lunch time we stopped next to a river. We drank the water – 400 year old water. This is the world’s third largest fresh water reserve.
We were only half way!!!!! I started to think I would have to be rescued. My legs were beyond tired. But Chris pushed and pulled me onward.
As we headed back, we noticed the rock walls beside the glacier. You could see where the glacier had scored the wall.
I gratefully stepped off the glacier. We still had a long way to go to get back to the boat. I tried to keep my mind off my exhaustion by looking at the stunning ice sculptures. Nature is quite the artist.
The boat landing is within sight!!
Now I just have to make it to the boat!
The size of the glacier is humbling.
Back at our room we were soothed with this gorgeous sunset. I was wiped out for days, but I would gladly do it again.
I was able to publish this post, but my computer has crashed 8 times while I was working. If there is no post tomorrow that’s why.