February 12, 2009
Mountains, lotsa water, glaciers & real hot chocolate
Lago Electrico, Argentina
We spent several days trekking about the park, guided by Pedro.
The first trek, a day hike, we left our hostelleria "la Casa de Piedras" and hiked to the base of a mountain. We had lunch and then we walked up the side of the mountain and were rewarded with views in all directions. The most outstanding thing was the wind. It was blowing at about 80km/h and it made for very interesting walking and some really fantastic hairdos.
After spending another night at our cozy inn, we packed our personal gear for the porters and headed out for two nights of back country camping. It was raining and had been raining all day... but it was also windy. The wind would dry you as fast as the rain could soak you. Kinda wash and dry at the same time, minus the spin cycle. The weather didn't matter! The views were still rewarding... snow capped mountains, green lakes, ice fields and glaciers. Occasional views of wild life, just walking along the trail being serenaded by the wind in your hair and Pedro singing a tune.
We arrived at the camp site and our "chef" had a snack all set up. The table was setup with snacks, coffee, tea and even wine. We were then served a cream soup, followed by the main course and it was followed with a postre, i.e. a dessert. Hmmm sounds better than what I make at home.
The last day with Pedro was the most challenging one. We were trekking to the glacier. We had picked up some harnesses and some crampons and then made the trek to the glacier. It was raining... still... and by this time the rivers and streams had been rising. Our first challenge was to cross an extremely fast moving, glacier fed, i.e. freezing cold, river, using a zip line. As the zip line gets wet, it stretches and as the heavier people move along it... it stretches. Needless to say that a bunch of Canadians and Americans using the zip line... stretched it! We all made it accross... and may I add that this has got to be one of the best abs workouts I have done in a while!
The second challenge was to cross a mad rushing stream that was cascading down the side of the mountain. This stream had increased in size and depth due to the continuous rain we had been having. Now... remember we were drenched... or at least we thought we were... but oh no!.... Pedro scoured the stream side looking for the best passage... and he found it. Basically he said, put your foot here.... yup in a spot of white water ...... so I did... a spot of white rushing water that went half way to my knees, and yes.... I was then completely and totaly drenched! You know the kind... where you here the squich, squich as you walk and feel the water between your toes.
But it was worth it! The glacier was fantastic. The large volume of ice, the different shapes, the clear water running along it. The thought that a single small black rock laying upon it's surface, drawing the heat of the sun, can be the originator of some of the crevaces running along it's surface. Being a little wet was a small price to pay... besides the sun came out about an hour later, drying us off as if we had never been wet.
We arrived back in town, changed and quickly headed to the Chocolateria.. it was 17h30 and our bus was leaving at 18h00. The Chocolateria is simply a little wooden shack that sways with the wind. It serves fantastic hot chocolat and nice cold cervezas. By the time we had our drinks it was 17h55... being the ever time conscience person that I am... I mentionned that we should be going... Pedro just smiled and said.... hey... you are on Patagonian time!