Los Glaciares World Heritage Site & Lake Argentino

Trip Start Oct 20, 2013
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Trip End Nov 08, 2013


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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday morning we left Torres Del Paine, heading to El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina.  It was another long bus trip, but it was interesting to watch the landscape change from the mountains and valleys to the Argentinian Pampas.  We had no trouble going through immigration leaving Chile at a small checkpoint on gravel road and then a short distance down the road, we entered Argentina at their checkpoint.  The Pampas is so vast, as you'll see in the pictures.  We spent Wednesday and Thursday at a really nice hotel that was once an "Estancia" or sheep ranch in El Calafate.  They still have a small herd of sheep on the property and we can see the horses grazing  right outside our window.
 
On our hour ride to the park, we saw a gaucho riding along the road and we stopped the bus to see if he would talk to us. We asked him questions about his life in the pampas.  Gauchos  generally live very isolated lives in small houses on these very large ranches.  He and one other gaucho were responsible for 800 cattle, along with their trusty dogs on a large estancia.  We also saw lots of birds, including many more condors and flamingos.
 
We spent the rest of the day at the Perito Moreno Glacier - what an unbelievable site!  This is the most accessible glacier in the world.  It is part of the Southern Ice Field which is the third largest source of fresh water in the world and is actually on the other side of the Torres Del Paine park, but because of the mountains and the few roads here, it took us 8 hours to travel from one park to the other. There are 5 miles of galvanized steel walkways in front of the glacier
 for close-up looks;  we climbed from the bottom of the cliff to the top to see it from all angles.

 The glacier is 18 miles long, and 240 feet high above and 550 feet below the surface of the lake in front of it and only one of many glaciers here in the area. We could hear  it cracking and creaking and were lucky to see it "calve" 4 times with large pieces of the glacier falling into the lake in front of it.  The glacier is stable though, not receding or growing; but as all glaciers, it is moving forward.  The blue color of the ice is intense - as we stood in sunshine in front of the glacier, we could see it snowing on the glacier in the distance.  Hope you enjoy some pictures from the Perito Moreno Glacier!
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