South America Plus travel blog

Switching Buses After Final Straw Breakdown on Road to El Chalten

In El Chalten, Now THAT'S a Welcome Sign!

First View of Huemul Glacier, Rock Scouring From Retracement

Hike to Huemul Glacier, Looking Down at Lago del Desierto

Glacier Lake at Base of Huemul Glacier...Color Incredible

Huemul Glacier

"The Group" & Huemul Glacier

Tim, Bon, & Glacier

Tim's Socks Were "In the Wash", It Was Cold Up There in...

Climax Forest of Beech

Beautiful Glades on Hike to Glacier

Dwarf Deciduous Beech

Beech Forest From Above, Cloudiness in Background is Snowflurries

Dog Orchid

Dog Orchid, Blooming Everywhere Along Path to Glacier

Ruff Geese

Lago del Desierto, Boat Returning


We had reserved bus (to El Chalten) and ON and brkfst thru owner of Hospedaje Parrillo before lvg on our little 2 day side trip so all was set this am. Good brkfst of banana, juice, cereal, yogurt, tea/coffee, bread/butter/jam-apricot! Our roommate (4 of us in room) was an Israeli gal, 35, who quit her job and searching for new direction in her life. New to travel ie. had way too much stuff and knew it but still hard for her to eliminate much of the huge bulk she was dragging along incl expensive sleep bag, clothes,etc. Not a trekker and being alone, not hitching so.... Good conversation and discussion re: life in Israel today vs kibbutz life in her parents day. Then kibbutz were truely communal, kids sep from parents, much more struggle and down to basics. Thru the yrs problems devel...inappropriate sex, drugs, many what she called 'lazy people' began using the system (sounds familiar). Today many 'kibbutz' are set up as almost gated communities for wealthy people.

On bus just a short distance from Los Antiguos and bus began developing problems. Stop in Perito Moreno at a hotel w/ many Israelis waiting to board. Bus drove off for repairs while we waited at hotel until 1:15, so running about 3 hours late...Israelis quite unhappy. Landscape along Lake Argentina flat but lots of poplar windbreaks - old by size of trees - to allow pasture/other crops to grow here in these ferocious winds. Have seen this in much of Patagonia. Further from the lake - interior from hwy - low growing scrub bushes in rocky/sandy soil. Once out of P.M. completely about half hour we climb to more barren landscape, hardly anything but some bunch grasses, however, along side the hwy pink, blue, white phlox plus other flowers/mounding bushes...more water from runoff. We stop again, same problem?! This happens several times, we drive slowly.

Even tho the road is relatively flat, lots of rocky ridges and messa-like formations seem to be following at a distance...we are going down a wide 'river' bottom of a valley. See some sheep, guanaco, and twice, TWICE we see a whole family of rhea...adult and perhaps 10 to 20 good sized chicks (turkey size) racing along the hwy and then across the road in front of us (we've been on gravel and going slow for over 3 hours before we return to pavement...doing major road widening/improvement). Now (6:30) it's mostly sunny tho we did pass thru an unusual - for this area I think - rain 'storm'.

Now 7:15 but problem continues, another bus arr and we change completely to new bus losing our singular seats, 2 bus loads on one. Later, we even pick up passengers from another bus as well so it is quite full. We arr 1 am...cold and windy here. A fellow in this new terminal (one year old) offers his cabin, Los Minenareos, for 250p but we decide to head out to look for cheaper digs. Outside it's really cold, perhaps he takes pity on us or just needs the $$ and offers the cabin for 200p if we stay 2 nites...our decision is an easy one now!

12/17

Glad we've got the cabin, save making our meals and I can do laundry (everything I own is dirty except what I'm wearing). Lost my 5th hat two days ago but found new one w/ brim again...I like them better anyway.

Day trip to Lago del Desierto and Huemul(name of Patagonian deer) Glacier (+Vespigniani). After a 2 hour drive on forest service-type road we reached a trailhead...some of group (Japanese) went on boat trip, we opted for 45 min hike to glacier. Fantastic view even a light snowfall. Great turquoise color lake at base of Huemul glacier, you can see how much retracement has occurred in past 30+ years very clearly. Snowing!! Wow! But not enuf to obscure our view of glacier only mtns behind/above are invisible. The weather in the forest of climax nires trees is calm vs wind on top. These trees can get 60' + tall but on windy slopes they appear like bonsai trees.

We meet a Japanese girl in van who is travelling by herself. Real nice 25 yr old who just exudes happiness, ha! Bon talked w/ Brazilian (Florianopolis) the whole way. Lots of tourists in this area (El Chalten), we get back just in time to get groceries for dinner before store closes at 10 pm. All in all a great day - nice/sunny to begin with ending stormy and windy...typical Patagonia in spring we suspect.

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