The clocks beginning to tick, we left the parents in Bariloche with only six weeks to complete the southern portion of Patagonia and get the truck to Buenos Aires for a mid December ship date (we hope). As a result we needed to put in some long days driving. As we go further south however the days become much longer, so 8 hours of driving can also be combined with a few hours of sight seeing. This is how on route to El Chalten to hike the Fitz Roy National Park we were able to hike to the falling glacier at Queulat, kayak the marble chapel and see the Cueva de las Manos.
The hike to the falling glacier was much tougher than I had anticipated, which was evidenced by my deciding to wear jeans. Somehow I was under the impression that it was a board walk. There was a boardwalk for a 100m or so but then dissolved into steep rocky terrain of rainforest in minutes, a smarter man would have turned back to the truck and changed, I on the other hand decided to carry on regardless and made a moderately challenging hike rather tough as the humidity and my sweat fused my jeans to my legs. The reward however was spectacular, we spent a long time at the mirador watching the glacier fall onto the rocks below.
The kayak to the marble chapel was a unique experience, Heather had researched this and I had no idea what to expect. The chapel is actually a giant mushroom shaped hunk of marble, the patterns and the shape of the rocks in its caves were incredible.
The last stop before Fitz Roy was Cueva de las Manos, which is a series of hand prints and paintings on the side of a rock wall dating from 7300 B.C. Our tour was in Spanish so we only understood about 50% of what we were being told but none the less it was very interesting.
The following day we arrived in the town of El Chalten ready to hike in the Fitz Roy National Park. The hiking is considered some of the best in the world, this unfortunately meant it was the busiest hike we have done on this trip. The weather was not cooperating 100% as it became cloudy each day by around 11am, so the views when hiking were limited. However each morning we were presented with either views of the Fitz Roy range or the Cerro Torre range along with Glacier Grande. After all the driving of the previous week or so it felt good to be walking in the woods again.
We arrived back in El Chalten and bumped into our friends AJ and Kat who we have not seen since Nicaragua in February. Much drinking and catching up was done. We then decided to travel to El Calafate together to visit the Perito Moreno glacier.
Unfortunately we chose a wet morning to visit the glacier, but it was still a dramatic site, as chunks of ice tumbled into the water accompanied by thunderous cracking sounds. To warm up after the glacier we went to an ice bar. The bar was in a giant freezer (made from glacial ice), we were provided with space age shiny silver ponchos and given 25 minutes in the bar. Armed with our ice cup we set about making full use of the open bar posing for silly pictures.