Next on our journey through southern Argentina was a trek to the great Perito Moreno Glacier. Located in Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina; it is one of the most magnificent attractions in the Argentinian Patagonia region.
This massive glacier is a 250 km (97 sq mi) ice formation. It is 30 km (19 mi) in length and one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. This ice field is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water.
The Perito Moreno Glacier was named after the explorer Francisco Moreno, a pioneer who studied the region in the 19th century.
Getting to the Glacier
To reach the glacier, we took a two hour bus ride from the nearby town of El Calafate. Many tour companies run daily visits from here. When we got closer to the glacier, there was a wooden walking circuit which allowed visitors to view the southern flank and the east edge of the glacier.
We met up with the tour guides at the base of the glacier and picked out spiked metal chains to attach to our boots so we would be able to dig into the ice.
Let the Trekking Begin
With the boots all tricked out, we set out on an epic five hour excursion. While trekking through the glacier, we had to be careful of the soft spots and of sliding into the ravines. The week before we got there, a man got stuck and couldn’t get out of one of the deep glacier crevices. Trekking this glacier was the most intense hiking I had ever done. It was such a vast ice sheet on the inside that without a guide, we would have easily gotten lost.
At about the 3 and half hour mark, we came to a flat clearing on the glacier where there was a wooden table in the middle of the ice. A nice bottle of whiskey and some glasses were waiting there to warm us up. It was a nice touch from the tour company.
As we kept going, one of the photographers stayed behind us for a bit and snapped this wicked shot!
On our way back to the glacier, I found some interesting ice caves and formations. By the time we made it to the end, I was ready to pass out, as it was a non-stop trek the entire time.
What an adventure! I can see why people love the Patagonia region so much. There is nothing like this in the rest of the world. Only in the Arctic are there such similar feats! Well, now I can check glacier trekking off my bucket list. This is a must for anyone visiting the southern tip of South America. Standing in the middle of the glacier makes you realize how small we all are as humans compared to nature.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck
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