Argentina | Exploring the otherworldly of the world: Perito Moreno!

We’re finally here: deep Patagonia. After two looooong days on a bus, we emerged into the crisp, chilly air of El Calafate with some intensive zeal.

I’m not entirely sure why we are this crazy, but we have decided to camp in this freakishly cold and windy place. Luckily, our site offers warm showers and a scrumptious parrilla, so I can’t complain too much, other than briefly venting about the pack of hideous, decrepit dogs that have taken to following us around the entire campground and town, no matter where we go. One even waits for me while I shower. In fact, he managed to follow me all around town yesterday and perched himself outside a coffee shop for hours while I indulged in the warm temperatures of the interior. With an overbite and two bulging, mis-matched eyeballs, he is not exactly the most pleasant guest, but he has successfully grown on me over the last few days (a little). Plus, (and this is the best thing I have ever heard) his name is Davide Bowie. Why? How? Why?!

Even though it is somewhat unpleasant to be continuously cold and stalked by dogs, I would do it over and over again for even the brief sight of Perito Moreno, maybe Argentina’s most famous glacier. Because it’s rather difficult to get around without a vehicle down here, we booked a reasonably priced tour of the enormous glacier and were conveniently picked up from our campsite at half past one in the afternoon. We drove quite a some way into the Los Glociares National Park before swooping down on the ice field with gleaming eyes and frozen fingers.

The first site of the glacier was startling – it’s ENORMOUS and really looks it, especially from a higher elevation. You literally cannot see the other end! It began to snow and sleet, but we dashed into the thick of it and onto a little boat for a close-up view of the glorious hunk of ice.

And glorious it was – an enormously vast, glowing glacier, highlighted by glimmering whites and lowlighted by ethereal blues.


We took a boat right up to the smaller south face of the glacier and spent the majority of the trip on the open decks, sheets of rock rising before use like giant crystals from another world. Every few dozen minutes, I would pause for its characteristic rumble, deeper and harder than thunder, strong enough to rattle your bones and make you quiver with the realization of your utter insignificance. The beast was alive in its elegant curves and folds, its rolling waves of sturdy white. In the distance, we could just make out some eager trekkers returning from a surface hike, something that only one company is licensed to do.

By the time we got to the north face, our bodies were numb and faces wind-battered. Our guide came out to explain the new series of walkways, which were not in any pictures I had seen and impressed us greatly. Much like the nature walkways of Singapore, the metal paths are made to be both terrifically modern and subtle; they have that bizarre characteristic of making you feel even more surrounded by nature because of their stark reminder of humanity. Because of the new system, the glacier is even more accessible than ever. The elevated walkways stretch several kilometers and provide countless viewpoints, bringing you as close as 150 meters from the glacier.

The best part of coming on an afternoon visit is that the glacier is more active, having been warmed by the day’s sunrays. When the rumbling becomes particularly intense, calving is possible. We watched on several occasions as large chunks of ice cracked violently free of the glacier, causing powerful waves and the excited screaming of nearby children. The shrapnel flies in angry outburst, assailing the lake with vigor. As the glacier naps, one can find calm on some of the more deserted walkways, of which there are many, at least until the next fracturing commences…

The memory of those titanic ice turrets is certainly one of my favorites…

 

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2 Responses to “Argentina | Exploring the otherworldly of the world: Perito Moreno!”
  1. Carole says:

    Hey Urte u r definitly one of a kind

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