Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Glacier Trek on the Perito Moreno

The best way to experience the spellbinding beauty of the Perito Moreno glacier is to sign up for a glacier trek.

There is just one company in El Calafate that offers this experience: Helio y Aventura. After visiting the view point for a panoramic view of the glacier, and admiring it from all angles walking along the wooden walkway that I described in my previous post, we settled back with excitement for the drive to the shores of Lake Argentino. For there we would be met by the boat that would take us to the glacier itself!

The sun was high in the bright blue sky, and the colors of the mountains and lake so beautifully blended together in hues of green and blue that I wished I could just sit for a few days in a warm bubble there and paint what I saw before me!

As the boat swiftly approached the glacier, our entire group huddled on the open deck above, taking in the view though the wind was bitterly cold.

Once we landed close to the glacier, we quickly ate the sandwiches and fruits that we had packed for lunch, and were ready for the trek. As we waited for the guides, we sat by the windows of the refuge and took in the scenery. The landscape was so stunningly beautiful!

The silvery blue waters of Lake Argentino were kissed by the sun, and the glacier was glowing as it towered over the lake.

Soon we set off. The guides fitted us with crampons and led us on to the glacier in single file. The wind was quite fierce, and it blew dusty snow on to my face. I wondered what we looked like from above - tiny dots crawling in a corner of this gigantic, living mass of ice!

The angles and planes of the ice formations, and the shades of gray that the dust from the land made on the fringes of the glacier made the landscape look very pretty, like a watercolor painting!

With the sun shining brightly down on them, ice crystals were glistening and shimmering on the surface of the glacier. There were fantastic ice formations all around us, glowing as if lit from within. I tried to take photographs - but mine don't do justice to the beauty I saw around me.

We slowly made our way around small glacial streams and shallow pools reflecting the brilliant blue of the sky.

There were ice caves, and small crevasses - we were on very stable ice on solid rock, so the crevasses were not too deep. Still, we could hear the movement of the glacier, and the tricking water below us as the sun melted it and fed it to Lake Argentino.

The hour and a half passed too quickly, and before we knew it, we were done. The guides led us to a small clearing on the ice, where we got to toast this experience with delicious Argentine chocolate and whiskey on fresh ice from the Perito Moreno!

Before we left, we walked up to the very front of the glacier and took one last look. And then we left it reluctantly behind and walked back to land.

At the start of the trail back to the refuge, someone had carved these faces on a dead tree trunk.

All along the trail we had views of the glacier to our left.

And then it was time to head back. The boat was very quiet on the way back, with everyone watching the quickly receding glacier, lost in their thoughts.


Compassion Unlimitted said...

All I can say is Thank you for taking us there ! I think it must have been a visual treat..
//in a corner of this gigantic, living mass of ice!// that was a nice way to describe
Pictures were amazing ,no doubt to see it through the eyes must have been astounding

Karine said...

WOW!!!! What a fantastic visit to the glacier. I have always loved the color of glacial lakes. You really took me along with you, and it was great! thanks, Bindu.

Kalyan said...

Wonderful Pictures Bindu. Came to your blog via Mridula's, and it was worth the trip. Have bookmarked you.

Sepiru Chris said...

Stunning photos and your narrative, is sparse and compelling. I am brought along with you. This is, again, a great post.

Sekhar said...

Never heard of the place. Thanks for sharing those beautiful pics. Can feel those freezing temperatures there :)

~ ॐ ~ said...

Thank you for sharing this Bindu... I am not sure if I would be able to see it myself one day or not, but your post did make me reeeeeeeealy want to go there..

and the pictures are lovely !!!

Blu said...

Wow like another world. I have only been on glaciers skiing nothing at all like what you have shown us here..BRAVO...great words and pictures.

Robyn said...

Out... Of... This... World! The shallow pools are so beautiful I had to stare at them for longer than the others. I also love the carving. What a wonderful surprise to find them. Thanks must have wonderful memories of your holiday.

megha punater said...

one word 'beautiful'.another word 'amazing'.

3rdEyeMuse said...

what an incredible post! thank you soooo much for the pictures that you took - they look pretty darn inspiring to me, so I'll have to take your word for them not doing the ice formations justice.

I am grateful that I am able to visit these amazing places through your photo's and written experiences. fantastic. really fantastic. :)

bindu said...

CU - thank you! It was indeed quite an experience.

Karine - you're right, the milky blue of glacial lakes is quite unique!

Kalyan - thanks for stopping by!

Chris, Sekhar - glad you liked it!

Om, Blu - thank you!

Robyn - I knew you'd like that wood carving! :)

Megha - thanks. :)

3rdEyeMuse - So glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for your encouragement!

nikheel said...

Lucky you and so do we:)
Thanks for these wonderful pics,

Vamsee said...

Oh Bindu!! - What beautiful snaps!! I love the pictures of ice formations. It must have been a wonderful experience. Thanks for taking us through this incredibly beautiful place.

Nancy and the fatties said...

What an amazing journey, thanks for taking us along! My feet are cold just looking at these pictures, was it hard to stay warm?

meb said...

bindu, these just keep getting better and better. To actually have been there to see these wonders is incredible.

Thanks so much.

T and S said...

Bindu : seems to have had a great time on this Glacier.

Your images and narration takes us pretty close to where you were. I enjoyed it.

Thank you for bringing this "Paradise on earth" to us through your post...Thomas

Maya said...

Dear Bin,

Your blogs on your trip to Argentina are all amazing. Even though I saw the photos before, seeing them with your comments and the details of your trip makes me feel like as if I visited the place too. Fabulous! Great blog, wonderful writing, fantastic pictures. All in all a great treat.


pink dogwood said...

Wow - I cannot imagine how beautiful this must have been. You said you wanted to sit there and paint the hues. I hope they stay fresh in your thoughts long enough for you to transfer them on canvas now.

you asked when I walked 18 miles - I was training to walk the full marathon several years ago. I trained upto 18 miles and then injured my foot - had to rest for 4 weeks and downgrade to half marathon.

Nancy and the fatties said...

Hi Bindu! *waving paws* are you guys getting this cold weather down in Austin too?
thanks for the visit to my blog this morning. I am home with the puggies today because this ice storm has virtually shut down Dallas! awful tempted to go to Starbucks, tho. A peppermint mocha is calling my name...; )
I hope you are staying warm...

Shalini said...

Wow, that's seems like an amazing place. Really enjoyed looking through the photos.

zingtrial said...

"WOW"!Wonderful pictures.Nice took my breath away :) ,beautiful,amazing .Liked it
Thanks for sharing.

bindu said...

Nikheel, Vamsee - thanks!

Nancy - it was cold, but we had proper protection, so we could still enjoy it.

Meb, Thomas - thanks! Glad you liked it.

Maya - thanks! What a nice surprise to see a comment from you! Hope there are more. ;)

Bhavana - thanks. I have so many ideas for paintings, but not enough time. Hopefully some day ...

SHalini, Zingtrial - glad you liked it!

Barbara Martin said...

What a wonderful trip you took onto the ice. Thanks for sharing your photos.

~vagabond~ said...

All the photos are breathtakingly beautiful...I cant even pick a favorite..they're all just so nice! :)

Rahi said...

wow lovely photos they r. r u a professional photographer?

ArtSparker said...

Awe-inspiring (evidently breath-taking, from the silence on the return trip) views of this alien landscape.

Carol Schiff Studio said...

What a wonderful experience, something that most of us will never do, so we thank you so very much for taking us along on your fantastic journey.