Viedma Glacier Walk

Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
Trip End Apr 15, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Friday, March 19, 2010

We tried again this morning for ice trekking and climbing.  It is an absolutely gorgeous day - so bright and clear.

The drive to the boat launch...the 8 km one was in
actuality 18 km...I thought it was more but the walk was pleasant.  I really
didnīt want to do it again today so I had to hitch a ride...When I did, I almost
wished I were walking again because today it is sunny and warm and
everything is crystal clear..the colors pop out.  All the little bushes and
mossy mats seem so much more visible compared to the cloudy and rainy day
yesterday.  The lake was a matte blue with a slightly pearly, milky look. 

So we had a second boat ride on the glacial lake but this one was successful.  We had great views of Viedma Glaciar as we approached and there were also
some ice bergs. everyone gets very excited by those.  I separated from my group
because they were all doing the ice climbing activity up the ice wall.  My ice trekking-only group was pretty large but there were only 3 English-only speakers.  After
the 20 minute walk on the rocky moraine, we put on crampons...I decided I would try to put on my own but they
needed to be tightened and redone.  We were given a demonstration of ice trekking technique
and set off.  I did pretty well with the uphill sections...flat footed steps,
short steps, leaning forwards - i had an almost full daypack with 1 and a half liters of water
in it.  I had more trouble with the feet apart instruction though. 

We were shown various features of the glacier...the scoured rhiolite rock, some sink holes, water running beneath and in the sink holes, and a
small ice cave (maybe) with deep blue ice.   We stopped at a cone (of moraine material that covers the ice and keeps it cold and from melting).  We got cups with chunks of glacier
ice in them and then some Baileys to go in it.  The downhill part separated the young
from the old.  The young zipped down and the old teetered down with help.  I got a lot of help from Marco, one of the young guides - the one with the little ponytail. 

A couple from Buenos Aires practiced their English on me - they were very
nice...the man said I was like Osama because I pulled my sweater out from my
jacket (I didnīt know I put on my jacket with my sweater half in and half out of
it) and put it on my head for a hat when I was at the back of the boat and it
was colder and windier.  On the trip back in the boat, I was approached by a
Brazilian woman who thanked me because she very much wanted to do the ice trek
but didnīt think old ladies could do it and some other people on the boat told
her that some old ladies had indeed done it.  I havenīt thought of myself so
much as an old lady but I think there must be a reason why i have acquired this
image.  This woman also told me her second desire is to go to NYC and see the
street corner with the big sign that is in all movies set in NYC.  I think she
didnīt believe I was from New York when I didnīt seem to know what she meant.  I
always explain to people that I am not from NYC itself but I am not sure that I
get it across.  In any case, she planned to sign up for trekking on the next day.

As celebration, I treated myself to a three flavor ice cream once I got back
into town from my hitched ride.  Last night some of us had a nice dinner at the
microbrewery with its 2 kinds of beer - pilsner and bock - and tomorrow we are
off again....for more hiking. The views at Torres del Paine are supposed to be spectacular as
well.   With the sun out today, seeing those huge jagged snow-covered peaks was
definitely awe-inspiring.

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