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Southern Patagonia!!!

Glaciers!! and lots of wind!

View Holly's Destinations on HMB2010's travel map.


What an amazing week. I arrived into El Calafate, Argentina and southern patagonia is WINDY!! I thought my cab was going to blow off the road on the way to town, but we made it. I quickly arrange to visit the famous Perito Moreno glacier the next day and hoped for better weather as it was snowing lightly, and windy, then rainy, then sunny in the 30 minutes before I booked the tour with the agency. They say that the weather here changes every 5 minutes and they are pretty much right! Southern patagonia is pretty much wide open light greenish pasture land as far as the eye can see for miles and miles until they butt up against the andes mountains. The landscape felt open, lonely, empty, windy and unlimited. It was truly beautiful.

El Calafate does not have much going on in its own right and is really an entry point for hikers and rock climbers to get over to the mountains and hike or view the glaciers. The Perito Moreno which is the most visited mainly because geography permited a road and hiking paths to access an ideal look out point. The glacier is AMAZING!! I do not think I can convey how huge and incredible this enourmous block of ice is. Pictures do not do it justice, but here are a couple anyway. This glacier is moving into Lake Argentina anywhere from 2 cm to 2 meters! a day! It is about 120 feet high and about a half mile wide. This glacier is continuing to get lots of snow on its upper sections and so it continues to grow and move into the lake (vs most other glaciers that are shrinking around the planet). To me the most amazing aspects were the deep blue of the ice cracks and the ice itself (due to less oxygen in the compressed ice) and the sounds of the ice moving. Typically you could hear a resonant boom before you saw ice fall off the face of the glacier into the lake. Other times it sounded like a gun shot as ice somewhere deep inside the glacier collapsed.
Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier

Glaciers 2

Glaciers 2

After viewing the glaciers from the walkways, hiking and sweating uphill over a mile in the sunny heat, my guides strapped on my crampons and we put back on all of our coats and cold weather gear to walk on the glacier. We hiked around for about 4 hours and let me tell you, crampons must be so named because they cramp up your feet! It was a jarring walk on the feet and joints after so long, but the views of the ice were awesome and so different from what you see on the face. Up on top of the glaciers you can see rivers and lakes of pristine melted ice. The deepest blues were found down long cracks that appeared limitless.
Glacial Lake

Glacial Lake

What a great day!

I spent the last 5 days over in Torres del Paine national park in chile. If I thought El Calafate was windy, it has nothing on most of my time hiking around Torres. While not constantly windy, it gusted wind that was anywhere from barely ruffling your hair to literally knocking you off your feet which required severe bracing into the wind or holding onto something big and heavy. Interestingly most of the time the wind was cold, but one day it was warm wind and we spent that day hiking in t shirts. But mostly it was a little chilly unless I was vigorously walking uphill and burning the muscles. I was constantly putting clothing layers on and off.

The views were amazing. The landscape here is so rugged and brutal that it is surprising that so many people were here hiking and so much wildlife is supported in the park (guanos, ostrich, sheep, horses, fox, hares, flamingos, tons of birds etc.). Here is a typical of shots. Some people never get to see this vew of the horns because they are usually misted-clouded over, but we were lucky with the weather. For me the actual Torres were a little less spectacular.
The Horns - Torres del Paine, Chile

The Horns - Torres del Paine, Chile

The Torres del Paine over my tent

The Torres del Paine over my tent

While in the park I "camped" at the cascada ecocamp, it is an enviromentally friendly permanent camp site in the park - google it if interested - which was amazing - even without having any heater in my tent/dome!

Soon I am off to my antarctic cruise!! More later!

Posted by HMB2010 13:44 Archived in Chile

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Looks amazing!!! Enjoy your cruise!! When are you coming home?

by Dawn

Happy B-Day Holly! Sounds like a great way to spend it! Have a great time in Antarctica! Take as much seasickness medicine as is allowed - it's my #1 advice. But when you get there, it's all worth it. LD

by Laura

Hi Holly! The glaciers look amazing! So good to see your smiling face this morning!
Enjoy the cruise!

by Matt W

Looks incredible!!! Say hi to the penquins for me! KAN

by Kelly

Happy Belated Birthday Holly!

What a way to spend the day. The scenery is spectacular! Glad you are having so much fun. ENJOY! Travel safely.

by Liz Farrell

Yea! The glaciers are still there! I'm glad to hear at least some are still building. I see you're wearing a Patagonia jacket in Patagonia - nice:-) Have a great time on your cruise!

by Suzanne

The glaciers look amazing. And you look so tan. Enjoy you last 10 days of fun. Hope the seas weren't too rough. We can't wait to see you on the 22nd. How fast 87 days went!

by Renee

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