Archive for the ‘Perito Moreno’ Tag

Perito Moreno – El Calafate – Argentina (Feb 2)   4 comments

Early this morning Magan and I began our journey to the Perito Moreno glacier. Along the winding road we are flanked by the seemingly endless golden-brown landscape that is the Argentine steppe. To one side the vast undulating meadows of wind swept sagebrush flow to the serene shore of lake Argentina.  The deep, indescribably blue sun-stroked lake is punctuated by small windswept white caps and fragments of ice torn from the face of the glacier. To the other side clouds are contorted and crippled to preternatural shapes as they sail past the large snow capped Andean peaks jutting from the ground. A large golden brown condor soaring above suddenly swoops down for a possible meal. As we turn a corner the mountains seem to part and we are confronted with the large spinney beast that is to be our world for the next seven hours.

The first hour was spent in awe as we moved between the multiple viewing platforms near the glacier. The 60 meter tall 4 kilometer wide cliff of ice consists of deep blue and white towers of ice crushed together through thousands of years of snow. The view is punctuated by the thunderous crack and roar of ice separating from the cliff face and eventually falling into the water below.

Our trip to the glacier began on a short boat ride through the placid lake full of milky blue glacial water and icebergs, courtesy of Perito Moreno.  Once on shore we begin our arduous trek up the side of a mountain flush with small green shrubs and gnarled trees, crippled perhaps by the windy and fridged Patagonian winter.  After an hour shadowing the glacier we reach our point of embarkation, don crampons, and begin our ascent.

The surreal glacial surface seems as if a vehemently rough sea had suddenly been flash frozen with 30, 40 even 60 foot waves stuck in time waiting to crash down. Deep crevasses scar the surface running horizontally as well as vertical. It is quite possible, and with no amount of hyperbole, that when this glacier was created God decided to encompass every shade of blue perceivable to the human eye. The crystal clear white ice of the surface that hints at the lightest shade of blue quickly gives way to the aqua colored puddles of collected glacial melt. All colors, beautiful as they are, pale in comparison to the deep blue of the crevasse-tunnles cut by the fast flowing torrential rivers of melted glacier water. Up and down steep ice embankments we marched, one by one, for three and a half hours (including a quick break for lunch) until it was time to return.

On the walk back we stopped for water at a quite beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation and a lone cow. A scene that would fit into any picture book’s tableau of the Garden of Eden. Down we trod, back to the boat for a snack and glass of scotch. Onward to the bus for a quick nap and chance to lament the trip’s lack of sunscreen.

Large ice cave in the center of the glacier.