Thursday, February 18, 2010

Perito Moreno: More Than Just a Big Block of Ice

Before I get into the spectacle that is Perito Moreno, a special shout-out to the MVP of the trip so far: Augustín. He has provided us with a place to stay, and as we´ve shared with some, our bed is by far the best we´ve had in all of Argentina. Maybe it´s just because I´ve been sleeping in a crappy bed for more than a year and that my bed in Puerto Madryn left MUCH to be desired, but I don´t know if I´ve ever slept this my life. Big words, I know, but in the land of limitless plains, sky-scraping peaks, vast lakes, andmammouth glaciers, I´m in the mood for some hyperbole. Also, Agustín is buying Julia´s computer, and to top it all off, he had his friend try and get us a free lift and tour to the Park today. Even though after much scrambling on the friend´s part it didn´t work out, the effort is so appreciated. All in all, the fact that he´s here has made El Calafate a really cool place for us.
So instead of walking down the steep incline and a few hundred meters to towards town to catch a tour van out to the glaciers, we had to wake up at 630 and walk back into the center of town to buy a bus ticket. There we met an English couple with whom we shared a hostel dorm in Madryn, but they were about to board a bus to El Chalten, where we will be heading tomorrow. By 10:00 am we arrived at the park, and you could see the huge white sheet of ice from the windy road leading up to the main area. It´s very difficult to capture the majestic scale of Perito Moreno, which is one of the only glaciers in the world that is still growing, but here´s me best shot: First, think of Bart Simpson´s hair. Or one of those quartz stones you can buy in a tour shop. Both of these kind of look like Lex Luther´s lair, but the most brilliant blue you can imagine instead of green. Now, imagine this structure is more than 2 kilometers wide and runs until it meets the base of enormous, snow-capped mountains in the distance. The other side includes the end of the Lago Arentino (Lake Argentina), all of which is surrounded by equally picturesque mountains that craddle this natural wonder. Also, huge chunks of ice would intermittently break off the mothership, cascading down it´s face or simply tipping into the frigid water below, causing a raptorous ¨slap¨that sounded more like a gun shot. A few times we saw really big pieces fall in, submerging only to bouyantly resurface, leaving a shear blue underbelly in it´s place. Supposedly an immense break in 2004 could be heard all the way in El Calafate center, which is nearly 80 kilometers away. I can´t imagine how loud it must have been at the site. Hopefully the pictures and video (and those that will hopefully follow, it´s taking a long time for it to load and we´re getting hungry for Patagonian lamb) provide the justice my words have trouble accomplishing. Honestly, it was enjoyable just standing and staring at this monstrous beast, but the park provided kilometers of walkways through the wooded area facing the glacier, which allowed for varying viewpoints, exercise, and a way to warm up next to the oversized outdoor cooler in front of us.
Now we are off to El Chalten, where we´ll be taking advantage of all the gear we´ve been lugging around for a week. After that we´ll keep heading north, and hopefully somewhere along the way we´ll be able to update you all on our wherabouts and general activities. Until then, take a look at the pictures from the sea lion cove just outside of Madryn on my picasa page, here is the link: Hugs and kisses to all.
The star of today´s show from the entrance.


Shelley Rolf said...

wow ! your words were very descriptive and the photos are great. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Circumstances are the rulers of the weak, instrument of the wise..........................