Friday, October 12, 2007

Los Glaciares National Park

The past couple of days I've been in El Calafate visiting Los Glaciares National Park.

A friend of mine had recommended taking two days here, spending the first day on a boat trip around the lake and taking the second day to visit Perito Moreno glacier. The reason being that if you did Perito Moreno first, the rest of the glaciers would be a disappointment.

So the first day we were picked up at the crazy time of 7:15 (after a night in the town in what the hostel staff described as the only party of the year) and taken to the boats.

They looked pretty sturdy, which was quite nice to see as we hit quite a few rather large lumps of ice on the way to see the glaciers.

We visited 3 glaciers on the trip, I won't post all the photos I took here, you can see them all on flickr, but it was quite spectacular.

Some of the glaciers are quite dangerous and we were only allowed to get within 800 meters of them as the entire front can collapse. This one is about 80 meters high and about 4 kilometers wide.

The distance makes it quite hard to appreciate the scale of the thing. We did get very close to some of the other glaciers and even managed to catch some of them calving (quite hard to capture on film, you're always just too late with the camera).

Stopped for lunch at a nice glacial lake and then returned home.

The following day we did something that I think will be one of my highlights of Patagonia. I was initially a bit reluctant to sign up for this tour, I'm starting to get a bit bored of the whole going on excursions thing, but it was more than worth it.

We were picked up a slightly more reasonable time of 8:30 and taken to the base of Perito Moreno glacier.

You can see some people walking on the glacier in this photo which gives you an idea of the size of the thing.

A quick walk through the forest took us to the start of the ice and it was time to strap on the crampons for our turn.

Walking on the ice was absolutely fantastic and the ice is truly beautiful.

After an hour or so walking on the ice we were treated to some whisky with glacial ice cubes!

We took lunch taking care to stay away from the edge of the lake:

and were then taken to the viewing platforms to watch the glacier calving. The noise here is amazing, sounds like thunder with an almost constant sound of cracking and creaking.

You can see more photos of the glacier here.

All in all, an amazing couple of days. Today I'm catching a plane to Iguazu to see what is billed as the second not to miss thing in Argentina, a massive waterfall.

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