Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Ice Ice Baby

These boots are made for walking.

I'm sorry it's been a little while since my last post, the internet in Argentina is proving to be a tad aloof... Which has just made me want it more (you know what I am like - I always want what I can't have). 
Anyway since I spoke to you all last we have been busy bees, moving twice, and finally making it to some wifi! 

From El Calafate we headed on to El Chalten 'the trekking capital of Argentina' accompanied by our new pal Victoria who was heading in the same direction. We all ended up at the same hostel (in the same room infact) which was great. Unfortunately, the hostel (Pioneros del Valle) was definitely not up to the high standard of our previous places. Although clean and spacious enough, it had a very clinical feel, the bathrooms had no locks and the kitchen was not really equipped for cooking in. If you ever end up in this part of the world I would recommend staying elsewhere. Luckily we weren't going to be spending too much time around the hostel as the photographer had lots planned.... 

El Chalten is a cute little town in a national park with lots of hikes starting right from town. The whole place is basically a hikers paradise and is very very pretty! On our first day we went for a (1 hour) walk to a little view point and back which had amazing views of The Fitz Roy mountain range and over the town. I somewhat stupidly suggested this would be a great spot to see the sunrise... We spent the rest of the day chilling out and met up with Victoria for dinner, which involved the biggest burger of my life (I am sick of meat already). 

Fitz Roy and Laguna De los Tres

On our second day, I was treated to a valentines day walk to Laguna De los Tres. A cheeky 25 kilometre round trip, including an incredibly steep hour trek to get a nice close view of The Fitz Roy. I have to say I was not impressed (chololate and flowers would have been fine) and my weary legs almost quit on me on the way up. Once we were there though it was beautiful and we spent a couple of hours hanging out by the lake in the sun. The walk back seemed endless, but after making it back to town I treated myself to some dulche de leche waffles and life was good again!! That evening we went for drinks with Victoria and friends from earlier parts of her trip (seriously the girl seemed to know everyone in town), before me and the photographer went for a late night steak dinner.

Steak from Ritual del Fuego - another of Johns suggestions
My gift to you all - A heart shaped in a bit of rock I found on Valentines day, awwwww!

On day three my big mouth came back to haunt me as we were up at 4:45 to see the sunrise.. My second in 3 weeks! As tired and cold as I was, it was still beautiful as the mountains lit up bright pink in the morning sun. But the day was not over yet... Even after the sunrise we managed a little 22 kilometre trek to Lago Torres and back. I enjoyed this walk a little more, it was pretty flat and the lake at the end was filled with icebergs. Being a 'grown up' I decided to fish an iceberg out of the lake and play with it. I am pretty sure the photographer was rooting for me to fall in... But once I succeeded and had my icy prize everyone wanted to join in. A small child stole a big chuck of my iceberg and the rest was the hijacked by and American couple! The day ended with more waffles and a much needed vegetarian meal!

Pink mountains at sunrise

Our final day in El Chalten was the one I was most excited about as we had booked a glacier trek! As it was not much more expensive we upgraded the 'pro' package which basically involved ice climbing... I was not prepared for this, but it turned out to be super fun and I wasn't actually too bad at it (apart from the part where the I almost got stuck dangling above an icy blue crevice). Being on the glacier was awesome and felt like a different world, this is definitely an experience to try at least once if you get the chance!

My attempts to reach the Iceberg
Finally out of the water
Enjoying my icy prize

Ice climbing
Me on the Glacier

With all our adventures in El Chalten over the next morning we boarded a bus to Bariloche. This took us down the apparently famous Ruta 40, basically the one inland road from the south. Only half the road is paved, and the journey literally takes you through the middle of nowhere. 

24 hours later and we have finally arrived to enjoy a well deserved rest day, the sights and treks of Bariloche will have to wait!! 

Ruta 40 at sunset


Location: El Chalten

Highlights: Waffles, icebergs and ice climbing. 

Bootcamp rating: 8/10 (probably offset by the steaks and waffles)...

Tantrums: One major one heading up to view Fitz Roy.. It was hot and I was tired, so I feel it was justified. 
Profile pictures: Definitely 1 - see the photo of me licking the iceberg, I look amazing!

Naps: A few on the bus, but as discussed these don't count. 

Epiphany's: 0

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