Hiking in the best Chile has to Offer

Trip Start Sep 27, 2005
Trip End Mar 07, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, January 22, 2006

Back into Argentina yet again. Our first night was the first free camp in Patagonia. It was a very nice location but in the morning the wind picked up and there were tents being blown around everywhere as people tried to put them down in a vicious wind. Everyone had pointed there tents into the wind but that only stopped the worst of the problems.
We continued to a place called El Calafate. This place exists today because of the Moreno glacier. We took a day tour to see the glacier and learnt that calafate is a bush and in the area around El Calafate is just about the tallest thing on the landscape at all of 4 foot tall. The glacier is an amazing sight with a face 5km (3 miles) long. We were told that the trip included an hour and a half hike but it turned out to be about 20 minutes hike with over an hour standing in various places along the way. However, our guide managed to get a very small iceberg out of the lake and broke it up so that we could drink water from the glacier. It was nice to have some free water for a change. The hike took us from some viewing platforms to a wharf where we took a boat trip up to near the face of the glacier in the hope of seeing large pieces break off. We did see a large piece go when we were eating lunch on the viewing platforms but not when we were on the boat.

From El Calafate we went back into Chile and on to the Las Torres del Paine National Park. This is a small group of mountains next to the main Andes chain. Here we spent 3 days camping and hiking. THe first hike was about 7 hours long and went along the side of a lake up to another glacier called Grey´s Glacier. This was a rolling hike without any steep climbs and made the day very enjoyable. The next day I went for a hike up to Mirador Condor, (mirador is a viewing place.) When I got up there Mike and Adam were already up there and had seen several condors already. I spent about half an hour up there during which time condors would come off the mountains and glide across the valley passed the viewing point. Some where within about 50 yards of us and it was much better than viewing them at Colca Canyon as there was almost nobody else there. The reason I only spent half an hour was the wind, it was blowing a gale at the top of the hill we were on so it was very cold and much better to get down again and have one of the hamburgers that were being made for lunch. On the last day there we went on the Las Torres walk. This was harder than the Grey´s Glacier walk as it was initially up a steep hill and then there was 20 minutes of clambering over rocks to reach the top but it was definitely worth it. The view at the top was amazing, please see pictures once I get them copied off the camera.

From here it is onto Ushaia the most southerly city in the world and the land of Tierra del Fuego.
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