Friday, March 22, 2013

The Glacier

Day 145 (March 10, 2013)
El Calafate, Argentina to El Chalten, Argentina
Day's Ride: 230 Miles

After rousting myself out of my sleeping bag, the Quebecoux couple that I had been camping next to invited me over to share their table with them for breakfast. After some talking for a while, they invited me to ride with them and two other riders out to see the Perrito Moreno glacier. It's nice to have a little company sometimes, so I said yes. (By the way, the above map isn't totally accurate; it's missing the portion from El Calafate to the glacier. Unfortunately, the internet is barely functioning here tonight.)

The entrance to the National Park which contains the glacier is a little under 50 miles west of El Calafate. We arrived at the gate and paid the entrance fee (120 Pesos apiece) then made the final drive for the glacier. As we were going along, we had an amazing view of a rainbow.

We finally made it to a little parking lot where we had to leave our bikes before taking a small shuttle bus to the actual glacier overlook. As soon as I stepped out of the trees and saw the glacier for the first time, I was stunned.

Glaciar Grey in Torres del Paine was huge, but this was huge and very, very close! Though not as wide as Glaciar Grey also seemed that the snout of Glaciar Perrito Moreno was significantly taller.

Also, despite the cloudy weather, you could see the ice field stretching far into the distance behind the glacier.

I was about to have one of the Canadians take a picture of me in front of the glacier when a huge slab calved off right behind me. I snatched my camera out of their hands and was able to get a picture of the huge splash made by the ice.

And then I got my picture....

After hanging out by the glacier for a while, I said goodbye to the Canadians and hit the road for El Chalten where I was supposed to meet Dylan later that afternoon.

As has become the norm, the wind was out of control. I stopped to get a picture of one of the typical "wind advisory" signs that are all over the place down here.

I'm still confused as to why they would put a picture of a palm tree on sign that's used in Patagonia.

The road north to El Chalten passed by some large glacial lakes. The glacial sediment gives the water a distinct grey green color that's hard to catch in pictures:

I reached the turn off for El Chalten around 4:00 PM and found this:

Dylan's smoking ass trying to light a cigarette out of the wind in the lee of this road sign. Even with the shelter from the sign, the wind was so strong that it took him a few minutes to light his cig. His mission to Punta Arenas had been a success and he had just left there this morning. After he had finished his cancer stick we hit the road.

Just outside of El Chalten, we met the most hardcore overlander that I've come across so far:

That's right, a unicycle. I think it's pretty hard to top that in terms of badassness. This girl was from France and had started in Ushuaia and was riding north all the way to Santiago. Sometimes I think we are pretty tough for doing this trip on motos; however, when I see someone like this, I have to admit that we aren't quite as tough as we would like to think.

We made it to El Chalten a few minutes later, found a campsite, and prepared to start hiking again the next day.

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