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.