Perfect Patagonia

The past few days since we last spoke have been jam-packed with spectacular scenery. We met our next Intrepid group in Buenos Aires and yet again, we have chanced upon a great group. There are 12 of us this time from various backgrounds and the dynamics of the group are fantastic. Our leader Ana is wonderfully sweet and very organized; a real joy to have on your side.

We set off for Patagonia and landed in El Calafate late in the afternoon. It was a blazing blue-sky day, quite unusual for these parts. I am beginning to think that disaster follows us but amazing weather precedes us! On approach we were treated to a fly by over the Perido Moreno glacier and the surrounding mountains; a very unusual and thrilling occurrence.

Perido Moreno glacier from the plane, Patagonia

The glacier is 32kms long and flows lazily into the largest body of fresh water in Argentina, aptly named Lake Argentina.

After a restful night we set out, full of enthusiasm, for an up-close look at the glacier. The sun was rising over the peaks and casting a yellow glow into the open valley as we drove. We came across an eagle feasting on a rabbit killed on the road and we watched from only a few meters away as he tore at the rodent’s stomach, completely unfazed by our presence.

Black Chested Buzzard Eagle, Patagonia

We eventually dragged ourselves away and the south face of the glacier soon appeared majestically as we rounded a corner and glistened under the yet again perfect sky. The first boat out onto the lake is by far the least crowded and worth the early morning… and the 50 pesos!

The imposing Perido Moreno glacier, Patagonia

As you approach the glacier you can hear the ice cracking and straining under its own weight. Occasionally, chunks of ice will break away from the face and fall into the lake, creating a wave. This is one of the only glaciers in the world that is stable, if not advancing and grows and retreats at a pace of around 1.5 meters a day. It is made for viewing with the front nearly touching the sides of the lake.

Perido Moreno, Patagonia

It is placed so that you can actually view it from all sides on land and can have an overwhelming feeling of insignificance as it comes straight towards you. Albeit at a glacial pace! It really is something not to be missed.

The towns in this area are built on tourism and feel like a small ski resort towns.

El Chalten, Patagonia

Wood and corrugated iron give a quaint and homey feeling with a plethora of cafes, bars and restaurants providing refuge for weary and windswept hikers. For the first time in months we are in a place where you can safely drink the water out of the tap! Wonderful.

We are now in El Chalten eating Calefate berry waffles. Yum. We had to try these local berries, which are much like a blueberry as the locals say that if you eat the Calefate berry when you are in Patagonia, you will surely return. I don’t know how that works but I just had to make sure I covered all by bases.

On our drive between the two towns we stopped for a coffee and a piece of home-made cake at a ranch. It was like I had gone to heaven. A beautiful log hut with huge glass windows overlooking the valley and surrounding mountains complete with a wooden deck. A zoo of animals milled around including a Choique (much like and emu but smaller), a Guanaco and her young (sort of like an Alpaca but from the camel family), a black house cat and several sheep.

Baby Guanaco, Patagonia

They all butted up against the front door, vying for a place inside with the family. Only the young Guanaco was allowed in as it was being bottle fed. I got to feed a baby Guanaco!!! So cute! For those of you that know me will understand how much of a thrill it was for me.

Yesterday was our 10 hour hike to Mt Fitzroy which juts sharply out of the landscape. It is unusual to see it in its entirety but as usual the gods of clear skies did not disappoint. In fact our guides (www.walkpatagonia.com), who had been hiking the track for years said they have almost never seen it as clear as it was yesterday.

Mt Fitzroy in all its glory, Patagonia

This place is known as one of the coldest and windiest parts, with rain and snow being the norm. On a clear day, this is without a doubt one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen.

Lunch at Laguna De Los Tres, Patagonia

I will not rabbit on about it but will simply put up some photos and they are the best way to demonstrate the beauty of this special place. Come here, you will not regret it. It is amazing!

Close to the top for a view onto Mt Fitzroy, Patagonia

El Chalten is a great little place to cozy up to a beer from the local micro-brewery or drink endless cups of coffee and admire the surrounding cliffs.

Next we across the border to Chile for a few days of hiking and camping.

See you soon

Em and Stu xoxo

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5 responses to “Perfect Patagonia

  1. Just with you both every step of the way – loving sharing this adventure with you so much – I especially love all the animals you’ve met along the way – so much wildlife, so much beauty and so much inspiration – truly incredible, thought-provoking stuff!! Beautiful skies, beautiful minds & beautiful times… ps put me down for one of those pom pom ponchos & a baby guanaco! I’ve packed my imagination & can’t wait for the next stop…. Muchas gracias amigos!! Xox

  2. Wow! spectacular is hardly enough to describe the scenery. What an experience. Love the photos and your commentary has a lovely personal touch as well as being informative and interesting. Can’t wait to see more. Enjoy the rest of the trip.

    Marisa

  3. Stunning Em. And not just the mountains and glaciers. I feel personally that the baby Guanaco has a most kissable little nose and the sweetest watery eyes ever. I have to go hug the dog now. Really enjoying your commentary. Happy trails.

  4. Well, my dear Miss Emily…what a life experience. Absolutely stunning and beautifully expressed through your words and photos. You’ll have many places to “go to” in your head when you need some peace when you get back home.
    I’ve got friends who just now returned from Patagonia. I’ll soon find out if they experienced the glorious weather that you have encountered. And Joey’s right… That baby Guanaco is gorgeous. It just so happens that while I was typing that, Teenie came up to give me a kiss on my nose. I think he’s jealous!
    Will keep watching. Love reading. Enjoy the rest of this unbelievable journey!
    Love, Rosy

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