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Published: April 1st 2007
Sunset from the bus
On the bus from El Calafate to El Chalten the sunset was so beautiful and intense that the bus driver pulled over twice to take a picture! All the tourists jumped out and joined in as well.
It is official. IÂ´m addicted to trekking. Even when I hate it, I love it. 3 days after Torres del Paine I found myself on a "relaxing" 4 day trek in the northern part of Parque Nacional de los Glaciares. Compared to the circuit in Torres del Paine, this definitely lived up to the relaxing description. I met up with Joel, the French Canadian guy who I had hiked with in Torres, in El Calafate and we decided to head up to El Chalten that afternoon in order to start the trek the next day.
The sunset from the bus in between the two cities was absolutely stunning. Let me say here that none of the pictures I have taken have done justice to the scenery in patagonia...I don't know if it is possible to capture it with a camera. I have walked around in absolute amazement for most of my time here and taken hundreds of pictures, but none of them seem to come out right. This night, as the sun was setting, the huge sky was absolutely set on fire. The range of colors was amazing, reds and pinks and bright yellows, green, purple, dark blue. The
You've never seen colors like this
The picture just doesn't come close to capturing the beauty of this sunset.
bus driver himself pulled the bus off the road and got out his camera to take a picture. It was so beautiful I can't describe it.
We got to El Chalten and booked a bed for the night in a huge bustling hostel, drank a bottle of wine, and then hit the hay. The next day we were starting the trek, but because the camp was only a few hours walk away we relaxed in the morning and left quite late. The walk in the first day was really easy and the weather was actually hot. We found ourselves in a lovely scenic valley and at the end there was Lago Torre and the glacier that gives it its name. We set up camp in a really nice spot next to a noisy mountain river and went for a little trek along the ridge of the moraine to a mirador that we never found. The view wasnÂ´t too shabbly from where we decided the end of the trek.
The next day we had yet another late start because the walk to Poincenot which is close to the main attracton, Fitz Roy, was only a few hours again. This
Day 1: Glaciar los Torres
Yet another glacier. We we camped right behind a large moraine from this glacier and just a few minutes walk from the lake. It was a lovely place to spend the afternoon and even though they were covered in clouds, we got a few glimpses of the massive torres at the back of the valley.
was another lovely walk through another lovely valley but unfortunately when we arrived at camp it was absolutely freezing and windy. We hid in the tent for a while, and then went for a little walk in the valley after dinner. The view of the surrounding mountains and hills, lit up by the colors of sunset, was just incredible and Fitz Roy came out of the clouds for a little while.
Day 3 started bright and early at 5am (well, not bright, but definitely early). We woke up in pitch black and used our headlamps to hike 1 hour straight up a huge hill to the mirador (lookout) for Fitz Roy hoping that the sunrise would light the mountain up. We did not get the red sunrise we hoped for, but we were blessed with clear skies and a clear view of the mountain for most of the day. One thing that stands out in my mind from this journey is the stars. It seems that most of the time in Patagonia the sky is cloudy but this morning we had a clear and intense view of the sky and with no light pollution it was intense to say
Day 1: Some rocks
One of the coolest things about doing this trek at this time of the year is the changing trees. Its the beginning of fall here and all the little sturdy trees that cover the mountains here are changing to lovely yellow and red colors
the least. When we reached the top I sat and just stared at the milky way and the uncountable number of stars in the sky.
The way down, adventurous Joel decided that he would take the road less travelled down to the valley beside the mirador. I followed, of course. We ended up having quite an adventure slipping and sliding our way down a huge, steep moraine of loose stones and then walked down a valley back to camp. We had a little nap and then set out to walk to the next camp. Suprisingly enough, we were woken from our nap by Uri and Dagan, two of the guys we had hiked with in Torres del Paine! It was an awesome suprise. They were headed to the same camp as we were, and so we headed off to the camp with Uri and Dagan a few minutes ahead. On the way we had yet another rocky adventure climbing over another moraine full of HUGE boulders in order to see Glacier Piedras Blancas and its iceberg-filled lake. A beautiful view, and worth the adventure of climbing over more treacherous rocks. After a few hours of walking beside the river
This is how you get water in Patagonia: no filters or pills or UV purifiers. You just find a stream and drink. Its great!
and then in the woods in a beautiful valley we arrived at our last camp where we had a nice dinner and great conversation with Uri, Dagan, and a dutch couple.
The last day, day 4, Joel woke up early to run (yes run) up the mountain to a mirador. I couldn't have run if I wanted to, so I slept in and then walked back partly with Uri and Dagan and then partly by myself. I ate lunch in a beautiful valley taking a long last look at Mount Fitz Roy and snapped a few pictures of rainbows and valleys and finally said goodbye to Parque Nacional de los Glaciares. This was a jaw-dropping trek and I recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in this part of the world.
I am back in El Calafate again, and tomorrow I think I will take the bus to El Bolson and afterwards to Bariloche. I feel quite sad to be leaving this area as I have had an amazing time. I am looking forward to more adventures up north.
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