ITINERARY : El Calafate (ARGENTINA) – O’HIGGINS (CHILE ) : 20 /11 to 02/12/2013
Many things happened since we last wrote. Hence today’s rich menu: the splendours of the Perito Moreno glaciar , Mount Fitz Roy, a trip to the heart of a Patagonian estancia and the story of our tough return to Chile …
Act 1 – The Perito Moreno (160km )
Wednesday 20/11 . After 1 day of rest in El Calafate, where we showed Argentinians that we also have the passion of football , we take the road to the renowned glacier 80km from there.
We enjoy one last ice cream to put us in the condition and instantly start riding in the end of the afternoon . The weather is idyllic in these first stirrings of Spring and the wind exceptionally went quiet. The temperature is a nice 23 degrees, the drive is beautiful and these beautiful days are 17h long. What more can we expect? Spirits are high! The large cars and tourist buses feed us their honking and take pictures of us : funny that two cycling roosters have become such an attraction . Briefly, after less than 3 hours of cycling, we are already at the edge of a small river that serves as a source to cook our rice . We camp at the park entrance , about fifty kilometers before the actual location of the glaciar.
The next morning , we go to the park. The entrance is paid in major national parks in Argentina and Chile. But it is also the cost of well maintained parks : here 130 Argentinian pesos ($) or 16 € for foreigners at the official rate ( vs $ 50 for Argentinians and $ 20 for locals of the Region ). A beautiful 30 km road leads to the glacier, declared World Heritage Site by Unesco . First observation: we are clearly not alone, though well dispersed since the ” balconies ” that run along the glacier are nearly 4km long . And for good reason: thousands of ice peaks – 60 meters high – spread over 5km large and 14km in width : amazing!
Here mini- trekking on the glaciar are arranged at a pricy budget. The tour can also be done by boat but we will simply view it from the balconies and we have no regrets . We face what might be called a blue ” ice galaxy ” and it feels really special. A galaxy that vibrates and resonates to the rhythm of falling ice . Global warming is for something int it and it works fast (the glaciar moves forward 2 to 3 meters per year while reducing as much height). It is a shame , even if we have to admit that the echo of the falls offers a great show (every 1/2h or so).
We have lunch there, and then continue the tour in the late afternoon back to where we camped the previous night. Indeed, the road ends at the glaciar and we have no choice but to go back to El Calafate to reach El Chalten , a small village which lies at the foot of the famous Mount Fitz Roy, whhich will be our last place to visit in the magic combo made of Torres del Paine – Perito Moreno – Fitz Roy...