Sunday, March 17, 2013

Glacier View



It´s another beautiful day, blue skies, a slight chill in the morning air turning warm by mid morning.  We wake a bit stiff but surprisingly not sore.  On the agenda today is a boat ride to Glacier Viedma.  The girl at the Poincenot Hotel is again quite helpful in providing information.  Reservations are necessary for the tours, run through Patagonia Adventures.  They have only one space left but after checking, are able to accommodate us both.  It appears that several tour operators use one boat operator.  Bus transfer to the dock is 80 pesos per person round trip for the 20 min. ride to Bahia Tunel.  Bus leaves at 11:15, boat leaves at 11:45.  There is an afternoon trip at 2:30.  We will do Viedma Light, which is a boat trip only, no glacier trekking.  The boat holds 30 people, bringing a group to the glacier, and picking up an earlier trekking for their return trip.

I choose to sit on the upper deck, the fresh breeze blowing in my face  as the boat rapidly approaches small then large icebergs.  So beautiful they are,. floating in the aquamarine lake.  Close up, they are translucent blue and emerald, like crystalline formations.  Viedma is 378 square miles, the biggest glacier in south america.  The face is 131 ft. tall and 2.5 miles wide, stretching19 miles in depth. We spend 30 riding out, 1 hr. cruising the icebergs and the face of the glacier itself.  The tall face is whiter than I had imagined and unlike Perito Moreno, we don´t hear much calving. They tell us that this glacier has been quite stable and has not retreated in several hundred years.  Glacier Upsala which can be visited on a 6 hr. boat ride is retreating at more than 600 ft a year!

Most of the guests are young and almost all leave to go on the trekking adventure.  I take more pictures than I will have time to do anything with but can´t resist the beautiful lines in the rock formations and ice structures. I imagine floating through bright blue icebergs in a boat and how magical it must be.

After returning back to El Chalten, we lunch on waffles at Wafleteria and then Ray goes in search of rivers.

We see the trail head to Laguna Torre, another 7 hr. round trip hike that takes you up to Cerro Torre. The trailhead is off the main road and down across the steel bridge.  Finally at 5, it is time to head back to El Calafate. The jagged peaks are blue along the highway, what they call the loniest highway, and at sunset, the rolling hills turn golden yellow. We arrive at Hosteria Roble Sur where they have upgraded us to a suite, then have a fabulous meal at La Tablita, a parilla serving grilled meats.  According to Fodors, it is the best in town. It is way too much beef but quite tasty - tenderloin, buttery soft and Argentinian chorizo, which is not as spicy as Mexican chorizo in sf.  Matter of fact, the food here is not highly seasoned or spiced, and there is a distinct lack of fresh vegetables everywhere.

There are many couples there, young and old and I realize that we have seen so many young couple, in love, gazing into each others eyes, reaching across the table for each others hand.  Reminds me of being 20 something, how quickly we become 50 somethings, but fortunately still with a glow in our hearts!

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