Posted by: Dave | February 8, 2009

This country is great…

Calafate is, for all intents and purposes, a tourist town. It has seized the opportunity to thrive on tourism that comes to see the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, which is in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares about 30km outside of town. Calafate is still quaint, but there are busses with tourists and over-priced (compared to what I´ve experienced in Argentina so far) restaurants and shops. But it´s worth it. The Perito Moreno Glacier is still advancing at a rate of up to 6 feet a day, which means it puts on a show. As a glacier pushes forward, the ice pushes in all sorts of directions, causing giant chunks to fall into the turquoise water below. I can´t even describe the sound it makes. Perito Moreno is about 180 feet high, and when even a “small” chunk makes a huge noise when calving off the face and splashing into the water.

This is part of the Perito Moreno glacier with a boat in the water for perspective. That boat holds about 200 people, and is probably about 1/4 mile from the face of the glacier. Now you can see how tall 180 feet of ice really is!

This is part of the Perito Moreno glacier with a boat in the water for perspective. That boat holds about 200 people, and is probably about 1/4 mile from the face of the glacier. Now you can see how tall 180 feet of ice really is!

Perito Moreno Glacier... incredible.

Perito Moreno Glacier... incredible.

One more of Perito Moreno.

One more of Perito Moreno.

I have photos of big pieces of the glacier falling off… but I´m having trouble loading pics, so I´ll do that at another time and link to it. Thanks to  my new camera for capturing these pics.. they´re awesome.

Next stop was El Chaltén, a (very) small town about 2 hours to the north, just on the north edge of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. There are two beautiful peaks that tower over town – Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.

The drive into El Chaltén. That´s Cerro Fitz Roy up in the clouds, and Cerro Torre more in the middle (kind of spikey).

The drive into El Chaltén. That´s Cerro Fitz Roy up in the clouds, and Cerro Torre more in the middle (kind of spikey).

We did an overnight hike into the park to see the peaks up close and on Day 1 were fortunate enough to have the morning clouds disappear to provide stunning views of Cerro Fitz Roy, named after the captain of the Beagle – the man responsible for inviting Charles Darwin to come along on a certain voyage. We have learned that this was truly exceptional weather and that Cerro Fitz Roy often is hiding in the clouds. I think the pics tell the best story.

This is after about 1 hour of the hike.

This is after about 1 hour of the hike.

... and this is about 2 hours later.

... and this is about 2 hours later.

Yes... this is a 100% real photo. Not a fake backdrop. Not a model standing in for me. Ha.

Yes... this is a 100% real photo. Not a fake backdrop. Not a model standing in for me. Ha.

On Day 2, the hike to Cerro Torre was fairly easy and it was a beautiful day, but the jagged peaks were hiding in a cloud bank and didn´t provide the views that we had the day before. It´s ok. The weather has been treating me extremely well so I won´t complain! I don´t have pics uploaded from this day as Cerro Torre was completely hidden. Oh well… you can see it above in the first pic.

El Chaltén has taken top spot as my favorite town in the world. It was only established in 1985, in an attempt to keep Chile from claiming the land. Weird. It´s now a 600-resident town that serves as the base for trekkers and climbers who want to explore the northern part of Nacional Parque Los Glaciares.  Add El Chaltén to your must-do-soon list… as it´s likely to grow as word spreads.

We left El Chaltén the next morning to begin a journey to Bariloche, in the Argentinian Lake District. Route 40, the major north/south road on the western side of Argentina is mostly dirt.. and terrible. I can´t even explain how bad this national highway is in some parts. Imagine the worst dirt road you can. And that´s it. I need to write about our driving experience, and I have a lot of pics of random but beautiful roads… so look for that soon.

Here in Bariloche I´ll be doing more hiking and maybe some mountain biking and kayaking. Amazing weather continues today… we´ll see if it holds up.

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Responses

  1. Hey Dave….FANTASTIC blog! I saw the link on your Facebook page and thought I would check it out. Now I’m hooked! Beautiful photos and amazing commentary….keep it coming! Safe travels!

  2. I find it funny that you keep telling us the photos are un-retouched. Would someone seriously think you are running photoshop color processing on your photos from the road? Great pics keep ’em coming!

    Your boy LD is doing well at Bayern…

  3. Great blog and pictures Dave! Your pictures and narration make me feel like I’m there! Since you’ll be looking for a job when you get back maybe you could pitch a reality show to the travel channel? Traveling and blogging for money….now THAT would be nice!

  4. Now that is a fantastic idea!

  5. That photo is retarded….so jealous. Be safe and take some R&R days too!


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