Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day

After the tranquility of Estancia Cristina, we returned to tourist reality the next day when we took a group tour to the Perito Moreno glacier. The early morning logistics in Calafate are very impressive. For 3 hours, starting at ~7am, the roads are filled with shuttle buses gathering pasajeros from the many hotels, hostels and B&B’s and taking them to their chosen daily activities.

At 9am we were among the last to get on the small tour bus heading for the Perito Moreno glacier headwall. On the way, we stopped by the roadside several times for views of Lago Argentina, and each time we realized what a sausage factory we were in. Every time, there were a half dozen or so other buses doing exactly the same thing.

Although it was a brisk but clear morning when we left Calafate, by the time we reached the first glacier viewpoint the clouds had moved in, the wind had picked up, and it had begun to rain.

By lunchtime, it was truly miserable. The cafeteria was SRO so we huddled with the masses under a shelter and ate the sandwiches our hotel had packed for us. Sitting just made us feel the chill all the more. We needed to get moving and decided to head out onto the walkways to the viewing galleries, no matter what. Then we began to realize just how bad it was. Cold, wet children were crying everywhere, except for one who sat in the middle of the path, pouting and refusing to move. People were wearing plastic shopping bags as makeshift hats in a desperate attempt to ward off the worst of the driving rain. But we pressed on, following the stairs down the mountain towards the glacier.

And, do you know what? It wasn’t bad at all. The lower walkways were sheltered from the wind, and the rain started to ease. Yet few others followed us and at times there was no one else in sight.

We spent about 90 surpisingly peaceful minutes viewing the front wall of the glacier, listening to the booming cracks deep within, and occasionally watching small chunks break off and fall into the lake. Heidi spied a chuncho in the trees just off the walkway.

After a while, the clouds lifted to reveal mountain peaks that had been hidden so far, now covered with a fresh white layer of snow.

Then back on the bus with the other turistos and back to Calafate.


Go to the next post: Friends in Chile

Comments

  1. Great stories. Thanks for letting me tag along on this amazing trip.

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