After Torres del Paine, we caught a bus back into Argentina for a little more mountain viewing. Parque National Los Glaciares is just on the other side of the border and offers more spectacular hiking and the granddaddy of all glaciers, Perito Moreno. Apart from the scenery, the towns we visited had nothing going for them but we endured high prices and mediocre food for the chance to view some of the nicest mountains we´ve ever seen. Oh, a just a few more glaciers in case we hadn´t gotten our fill of ice…
Our first stop was the big glacier- Perito Mereno. We skipped the tour (since we´re way over budget by this point) and simply took a bus out to the glacier for a few hours. We´re glad we didn´t spend longer, as the glacier filled up with tour buses shortly after we arrived. We can´t handle the crowds of people pushing around and retired to eat avacado sandwiches from a view point after only an hour. Still, even with all the people, the glacier was spectacular and we´re glad we made the trip for it. As you can see, it was a little cloudy and chilly at the glacier front, but back in town the sun was shining and we warmed up with a hike to see the local flamingos.
After only one day in Calafate, we were ready for a change and we headed north to El Chalten. We´d been warned that El Chalten was not the finest of towns, but that didn´t prepare us for the partially finished pile of buildings that our bus driver claimed was town. It was windy, dirty and ugly! The main drag (which was really all that there was in the town) was un-paved and contained, well, nothing. Maybe I´m being a little judgmental, but our first impressions of the town weren´t good. The bright light was our B&B and the apple pie at the nearby panaderia.
We´d given ourselves 3 days to hike and camp in the area, so we weren´t too disapointed when the peak clouded over as soon as we were within range of the view point. Later, when we did attempt to climb to the view point, the incredibly strong winds kept the viewing to a minimum. Thanks to the borrowed treking guide, we knew there were other sites to occupy our time and spent the rest of our afternoon looking at yet another glacier.
A not so early walk to the lake rewarded us with reflections of the peak and an absence of other trekers (rare). We look our time getting back to town, but all was well in Chalten when we arrived, with the wind still faint and the sun shining. The circuit that we completed was short (30km?) but probably one of the nicest hikes we´ve ever done. If you find yourself in El Chalten and the weather is nice, we highly recomend!