Recoleta Cemetery (Kenneth Nelson)
Kathy and I arise this morning to meet Bert, already at breakfast, and to prepare for the highlight of our trip. This is the day we get to hike on the Perito Moreno Glaciar and we have long been awaiting this excursion. We get picked up at 9 am by a surprisingly big tour bus that takes a load of about 30 or so people into the Glaciar National Park. We pay our 60 pesos (about $18) per person entrance fee, and make a stop at the servicios (bathrooms) before heading to the edge of the Rico Arm waterway where we board sturdy ships holding perhaps 30-50 persons. We travel across the waterway, with floating ice chunks all around us, to the edge of the forest in the mountains alongside the Glaciar. After disembarking, we are led along a wooded trail to a spot where we can walk right up to and on the Glaciar. But first, our guide Carlos has us all fitted with sturdy crampons for walking on the ice without slipping. He tells us how to walk correctly to avoid going down a crevasse or breaking an ankle, and we are off. It takes a little practice, but soon our group of about 12 people is walking single file on the Glaciar as Carlos explains the formation and action of this incredible beauty. It is one of the few Glaciars in the world which has been stable for over 100 years or so, and it is awe inspiring to be walking on ice so many thousands of years old. We contemplate that this is truly an experience to cherish and remember, as every so often we hear the roar and crash of the ice as a section "calves" itself off into the frozen water below. We are led around the Glaciar for about 1 1/2 hours as we see other similar groups off in the distance looking like little penguins. The day is sunny once again and the majesty of this glacier is worth the price of admission. When our time comes to an end, Carlos leads us to a little wooden table sitting in the open with a dozen small glasses and a bottle of Scotch whiskey for all who wish to give a toast to the end of this fantastic experience. Carlos chips off some authentic Perito Moreno ice with his pickaxe and it tastes "delicioso". What a day!
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