There are only two things that I’m really attached to seeing on this trip. The Panama Canal (coming in March) is one and the Perito Merino Glacier was the other. It was pictures of this that made me want to come to Patagonia in the first place so I was mega excited about our trip there. The options for reaching are a basic coach trip where you’re dropped off, walk round the walkways that run alongside it then get picked up a couple of hours later, or you can tag on some ice walking on the Glacier called “mini trekking”. We opted for the latter.
The ice trekking gave lots of chances to actually look down into the ice! Being on to of it is like a microcosm of what I imagine the Antarctic to be like – All of a sudden the sky would be obscured by towers of ice that looked like small mountain ranges.
And the Glacier had streams and sink holes flowing through it.
While this was all very cool, to be honest I actually didn’t enjoy the trekking very much. You’re in a large group with people of all ages and abilities and move at the pace of the slowest. It from the bus pick up to actually getting onto the Glacier took from 8.30 to 12.30 and its only an hours drive from El Calafate. We didn’t know we’d be out over lunch so didn’t eat first. You get two hours on the ice so by the end I was tired, starving and could not wait to get off! I’m a terrible hungry person so if I’d eaten it might have been better but for me 2 hours was too long! At the end of the walking we got some whiskey on ice from the Glacier which was a nice touch, and Alfajores (biscuits with dulce de leche sandwiched between, basically the national dish here) which just about saved me from chewing on one of my gloves.
After that we had about 45 mins to take our crampons off, eat our packed lunch and get back to the catamaran that brought us to the trekking site. This took us back to our bus which dropped is at the viewing platforms in the other side of the Glacier. This was definitely my favourite part!!! The Glacier is incredible, it’s about 5km wide, 100m tall and is moving forward at 2m a day. Not only does this mean it looks like nothing I’ve ever seen or am likely to see again, but you also see giant pieces of ice dropping off into the rivers around it. The noise of even a small piece is incredible and the accompanying waves created are large. The walkways allow you to look down onto it and appreciate it’s full magnificence.
And so that you can get an idea of the size, here is a picture of my mum looking tiny while standing in front of it
It really is amazing and definitely the place to go to be awed by the amazingness of the natural world. I’m very happy to say that after a years of wanting to go, it more than lived up to expectations!
And with that the Argentinian part of my journey is over. Tomorrow we take the bus to Punta Arenas in Chile. Goodbye El Calafate dogs!!!
I’ll miss you vast range of Alfajores 😦