Amazing Patagonia - Perito Moreno Glacier
Trip Start Oct 06, 2010
14Trip End Dec 14, 2010
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Where I stayed
Situated at the base of the Andes, Patagonia, this town lives up to expectations. Named after a beautiful wild Patagonian bush with yellow flowers and blue berries, this town has a wild and rugged feel to it. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and living on the edge of the beautiful Lake Argentino, it does not fail to astound. It draws many types of people from those seeking adventure, to those just wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
After our disappointing experience in Puerto Iguazu, our hostel (i Keu Ken) was fantastic. Named after the owners forefathers, the hostel integrates the culture and heritage of the local indigenous Indians. The staff were so friendly and helpful. We were given our own cabin, with amazing views over-looking the town and lake
Along with the apartment came our own resident dog! We fell in love with this dog, called Blocky, instantly. A cross-breed, it was the size of a bear but was as soft as butter. It slept outside our door each night, and happily greeted us with a wagging tail each morning when we arose. Blocky would come on walks with us each day, showing us around town, and introducing us to all the neighbourhood dogs. In Argentina dogs are ubiquitous. There are two types - those that happily roam the streets freely and those that do not (due to restrictions placed on them by their owners). The latter being very territorial and also very bad-tempered, due to this fact. Blocky fell into the former category, a free spirit. He took great delight in showing us how he would tease these dogs by encroaching on their territory, and then making a quick get-away. Very amusing!
On the first day we had a brief look around town, and also went to see the nature reserve and wetlands. Here we saw many pink flamingos and other types of migratory birds.
On Friday morning we awoke early. We had booked ourselves on a trip to Los Glaciares National Park to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. We arose early at 6 am to be picked up by the tour operator and transported 40 miles to the glacier. On the bus were the usual types of backpacker, but on the back row were a group of 4-5 guys, spread-eagled over the seats, singing Gaelic songs. We decided to avoid them. We settled into our seats, and an hourīs drive later the bus started approaching the south face of the glacier. Here we started to catch glimpses of the glaciers brilliant white colour
After taking photos for about an hour we were driven to a boat that ferried us to a nearby island. Here we alighted and were met by the expedition leaders. We were split into two groups - the English group and the Spanish group, based on the language spoke - this prompted remarks from the group of 4-5 Irish guys. "Weīre not f**king English" they said. We were then led to an area close to the glacier where we were given crampons and harnesses in preparation for our Big Ice trek across the glacier. Everyone was wearing all the correct gear, ready for the sub-zero temperatures including hiking boots, thermal layers, fleeces, merino wool scarves, thinsulate gloves etc...except of this particular group of guys who came wearing trainers, jogging pants, leather jackets and no gloves! Again we were split into two groups for the 5 hour ice trek. We made sure we were didnīt end up in the wrong group i.e
We given a safety lesson about walking in a single line, listening to instructions carefully, and making sure we donīt fall down any of the hundreds of 300 ft crevasses! The guides took us on the most amazing trek, that took us to see the most stunning blue sink holes and crevasses, the most striking cathedral sized ice formations, and to the most breath-taking place I have ever eaten lunch. The glacier is the most stable glacier in the world and is moving at a rate of 3 metres a day. Some of the deep compacted ice can be up to a thousand years old. Walking on top of it felt like a real privilege.
Towards the end of the expedition the two English speaking groups crossed paths. Our group was following the advice of the tour leaders and walking in single file...the other group containing the group of guys were all walking in one big stumbling huddle. It turned out that this group of Irish guys had decided to bring bottles of whiskey to keep themselves warm, rather than suitable winter clothing!
Whilst on the trek we met a couple from Australia, who it turned out grew up just around the corner from Carla in Melbourne
On the Sunday, we decided to have a rest day, uploading photos, sorting out washing and admin, going for a walk with Blocky, laughing at Blocky chasing cars, and generally contemplated how lucky we were to be in Patagonia!