Ice ice baby

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Where I stayed
El Huala Camping, Parque Nacional Los Glacieres

Flag of Argentina  , Santa Cruz,
Saturday, November 12, 2011

The drive from El Chalten to El Calafate starts with me getting a crick in my neck and nearly crashing a few times trying to get the last few looks at the beautiful mountains as we drove away. It's not too far of a drive around and it was also our last bit of driving on the Ruta 40 before we finally turned off for El Calafate. I was a bit annoyed there were no kilometre markers on this section as we’d got a pic of one when we got on but we’d definitely covered a good chunk. We stopped off quickly in El Calafate to buy some food before heading off to the main attraction of the area, the Perito Moreno Glacier. It’s about an 80km drive from town to the glacier and all the way out we passed tour buses heading back to town and were glad we’d be missing the crowds. The hire car has definitely been a good call.

Perito Moreno glacier is huge, about 5km wide at the front and about 74m high and is classed as stable i.e. it is neither advancing nor retreating significantly. Its position is almost perfect for viewing as it comes out into a lake straight towards a peninsula so you can get very close but still be safe. A huge series of walkways have been constructed so you can take in loads of different angles of the glacier and try to be in the right spot looking the right way when chunks of the front wall break off and crash into the water below. The sound they make when they crack is like a gunshot and even though some bits look small from a distance you can tell how big they are by the enormous splashes they make. We spent a few hours walking nearly all the paths and taking loads of photos as it really is an incredibly impressive sight. There is such a huge amount of viewing areas and given the crowds had gone it felt like we had it almost to ourselves. Eventually there is only so much ice you can look at so after about 4 hours of it we headed on. We had decided to keep up the camping and drove an hour or so to a nearby free camping area. It’s a bit disappointing there is none in the national park but maybe our time in New Zealand spoiled us. The drive to the campsite was fun though on more gravel roads with plenty of sheep to dodge. Again the site was practically empty so we set up camp, cooked up another feast of pasta and sausage, drank some wine and went to bed. I miss mattresses.
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