The week in Argentina began with a hike on the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glacieres National Park. The scale of the glacier was only put into perspective when, as we approached it by boat, the people hiking on it looked to be the size of insects.
The guide told us that the visible part of the glacier is more than 300 feet high and the ice near the face of it is more than 400 years old. Our boots were fitted with crampons and we were instructed to walk uphill on the ice Charlie Chaplin style. We hiked up and down the hilly ice along deeply etched crevasses and pools of cerulean ice-melt sculpted like beautiful vases.
The water is so pure, we could replenish our bottles straight from the running ice melt. At the end of the hour and a half hike which was thrilling, a bar was set up on the glacier and we were offered glasses of whiskey with glacial ice! Although it was a rainy day, it was a most memorable experience.
And then the weather changed! The wind disappeared. The rain went away. No more clouds even. The sun shined brilliantly. Instead of windburn, we had to contend with sunburn. Our guide told us these last three days have been the first good days of summer for hiking and mountaineering. If someone had told me in Chile that I’d be hiking a few days later in shorts, I wouldn’t have believed it. So we’ve had three glorious (and very strenuous) days of hiking: 41 miles in 27 hours. We had 9 and 10 hour hikes (15 and 14 miles, respectively) to see different views of Chalten (also known as Fitzroy), the signature peak pictured here. There are numerous glaciers below the peak and also, as you can see, the bluest of lakes.
Today, we had a 12 mile hike to get a closer look at Cerro Torre, another most dramatic and imposing range of mountain peaks. We ate our lunch facing the massif with it’s sea-green lake full of icebergs calved from the glaciers above it. These are some of the most compelling vistas I’ve ever seen.
Now it’s off to Buenos Aires where I hope to rest my very weary feet and see the sights before heading home.