Argentina 2013: A Wonderful Hunt and Fantastic Vacation: The Glacier on Foot

by david on October 3, 2013

The best part of the day was our free time inside the national park on the walking trails.  The trails are actually expanded metal walkways that are elevated just enough not to disturb the plant life in the park.  The walkway meandered over and around the rocky hillside and provided some particularly stunning views of the glacier.  There were three to four kilometers of trails and a few dozen observation platforms that run from the top of the peninsula to almost water level.  The girls wanted a picture taken from every single one of them.  A series of stairs are used to connect the walkways between elevations, so we headed down the first set.  Even though the distance traveled was not that great, the up and down of hundreds and hundreds of steps quickly wore us out.

The phenomenal views that kept appearing at the next viewing platform kept us moving as we anticipated what was around the next corner.  We were lucky in that today there were a great many chunks of ice falling off of the glacier and into the lake.  We actually saw several of them hit and the resulting mini tidal wave that resulted.  We were unfortunate in that our cameras always seemed to be pointing in some other direction when the ice fell.  By the time we could point the cameras in the right direction and in the viewfinder, it was too late.  At the end of the hike, the girls wanted to go to a central viewing platform to watch specifically for falling ice.  The thought of waiting for ice to fall did not appeal to me, so I opted to take the trail all the way around and come back through the forest.  In the end, we were both disappointed.  They never got a good falling-iceberg picture and I ended up walking about 2K for a 150-meter stroll through the woods.  It was neat, but hardly worth the effort.

The only saving grace for my expedition was the hike itself.  The temperature was around freezing, and the wind was blowing steadily at 20 mph and gusting at 35-40 mph.  Towards the end of my hike, I had stripped down to shirtsleeves and was still sweating like a stuck pig.  Did I mention that I undertook this little expedition with a time restriction?  We were all supposed to be back at the bus in 45 minutes when I started out and I figured I could make it.  The hike itself was quite demanding in that, over the two kilometers, it changed elevation every 50 meters or so.  I made it back to the girls in just under 30 minutes.  Even though I was quite pleased with my efforts, I was more pleased to sit and rest for a while.  We all made it to the bus on time and back to the hotel by 4:40 pm.

We left for supper early, as the girls wanted to do some shopping.  I was not thrilled to go shopping after my self-imposed march, but they supposedly had pre-picked out the items they wished to purchase.  This made sense as they had already been in every shop at least one time and I figured I would not be for too bad of a time.  I should have known better.  Both shops from which they wanted to purchase their items were closed.  The store hours on the door said they should be open, but that was not the case.  No, we got to start all over again.  Kris and Jess eventually found sweaters that made them happy in another store, but Janice never found a scarf like the one she wanted.  To top it all off, the restaurant Janice had spent so much time researching on line was also closed.  She was really bummed out.  Our luck changed for the better as the restaurant we picked at random yielded some of the best food of the trip.  After dinner was ice cream for the girls and a brandy for me.

Inside the forest at Los Glaciares National Park El Calafate, Argentina.  It is very pretty, I just wish there had been more trails to explore.       Inside the forest at Los Glaciares National Park El Calafate, Argentina. It is very pretty, I just wish there had been more trails to explore. I thought it was unusual for a small pond to be so close to a large lake.  It turned out to be more of a bog with some surface water.         I thought it was unusual for a small pond to be so close to a large lake. It turned out to be more of a bog with some surface water. This cave was not due to fracturing but it was still interesting.           This cave was not due to fracturing but it was still interesting. A view of the glacier from the high point on the Magellian Peninsula.               A view of the glacier from the high point on the Magellian Peninsula.

Previous post:

Next post: