I’ve Been on an Adventure

Being at a time in my life in between raising young children and retirement age, I feel like I have the opportunity to do a few things that I have always wanted to do. Combining my love of landscape photography and my desire to travel certain places, I spent about a year planning a trip. There was a lot for me to do in preparation for this trip and you may have seen my writings on this blog about lenses, a teleconverter, a backpack, and other bits of gear over the last year. I wanted to have everything I needed and be good and ready to use it when it was time to go. I don’t like to broadcast to the world that I am going to be gone for a couple of weeks so I began writing this on my final evening and it will post as I am on my way home.

So, where did I go? For a long time I have had a desire to see Patagonia, a region in southern South America. I was shopping around for itineraries and found a photography-focused tour by a company called Natural Habitat Adventures. This trip includes lodging, guides, transportation, meals, etc. for the entire journey. All I had to do was make my way to the airport in El Calafate, Argentina by April 6 and someone would pick me up. And then they would drop me off at the airport in Punta Arenas, Chile on April 15. In between we would see a glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, beautiful scenery and wildlfe in Torres del Paine National Park (Chile), and parts of Tierra del Fuego and southern Chile. It sounded like exactly what I was looking for at a price I could stomach. I checked around in multiple places and saw nothing but glowing reviews of Nat Hab (and these reviews were accurate as far as I can tell). I thought on it for a while and put down my deposit. This was last March, if I remember correctly.

The most stressful part of the journey has been actually getting to El Calafate. The first part of the journey was flying from Austin to Buenos Aires via DFW. This was over-night and I got there at about 9:30AM. My flight to El Calafate was the next morning at a different airport, so I had to reserve a hotel downtown close to the other airport and catch a cab. I wasn’t really sure about tipping, so the cabby and luggage guy probably got some really good tips. Anyway, I wandered around near my hotel, had a sandwich and called it a day because I was tired and had to get up at 3:00AM to go to the airport. I will say that on the flight to El Calafate I saw a very cool sunrise from above the clouds, so that got my trip started off well.

I got there, a driver awaited me, and took me to the hotel. He didn’t speak much English and I tried kind of pathetically with my rudimentary Spanish. Anyway, it was early in the day and the group didn’t meet until dinner time so I strolled around town. El Calafate is a very touristy town as it is a gateway for Los Glaciares Parque Nacional, so there were lots of shops downtown selling either souvenirs or cold weather gear. I did manage to take the bird pictures that were in my previous blog and this photo near the town sign with Lago Argentino in the background. So, there is evidence that I was there.

My first day, having just arrived in El Calafate

We met that evening, had too much food and planned for the next day. We would head for the park by way of an estancia where we had lunch and then took a boat to the Perito Moreno glacier. I took the wagon wheel and rainbow photo in my previous post from a roadhouse along the road to the estancia. After lunch, we walked down the hill to the lake and boarded a boat to go see the glacier. It was a cloudy, cold, and rainy afternoon, the lake was choppy and I was freezing in my thin hiking pants. But when we got to the glacier I forgot all about this. It is quite a thing stare at a glacier for the first time. Below is a photo of the little boat our group of eleven road to the glacier.

I was sitting in the back of the boat so I could mainly see where we had been, but we began to pass pieces of ice floating in the lake, so I figured that we must be getting close. Once we got there, I tried to take some photos. The sky was very cloudy and I am not sure how well these photos work, but they are what I have. My goal with the photo below was to place the jagged line of the glacier against the jagged shape of the snow line on the mountains in the distance. The clouds were very thick though and conceal much of the landscape.

Periot Moreno Glacier

I also liked the way the wall of the glacier looked against the mountain it had come up against. So, I waited for the boat to drift around to take this photo.

One of the boat crew managed to get some glacier ice out of the lake and used it for ice in some scotch we had, so that was very nice. I was not cold again after this.

The next photo is a panarama stitch that I took from a viewing platform at the national park. It was so dark and gray that I struggle to bring out much color without making the image look too fake. The glacier gets to the this point and can go left or right, so this is a nice platform from which to take in the entire thing. If you look down at the bottom of the trees, you can make out a lower viewing platform for scale. I am sure that the distant mountains behind the clouds are beautiful too.

Panorama of Perito Moreno Glacier – Los Glaciaren National Park Argentina

I did get to watch a large piece of ice fall off the glacier and I tried to photograph it. After this, I set my camera to video hoping to capture another event, but no luck.

After this it was back to the hotel in El Calafate and preparing for the road to Chile the next day and Torres del Paine National Park. There isn’t really a direct route to Chile from here so we had to drive a long way across the Argentine steppe to get to a remote border crossing. I think that Argentina must try to discourage tourists from leaving here and going to Chile by making the trip so long. But, more on that next time.

29 thoughts on “I’ve Been on an Adventure

  1. So glad that you were able to go on this adventure. In this crazy life we all need adventures sometimes!
    The glacier against the mountain is beautiful and the close up one of it are my two favorite photos. I know my parent’s were really impressed with the glaciers when they went to Alaska. Another place to put on your bucket list. 🙂
    Was it a long, bumpy road to Chile? Hopefully no car sickness involved. Looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fantastic photos. The panorama is my favorite, because it shows the immense size of the glacier, as well as the rugged texture of its surface. Yes, you’ve been on an adventure alright. I’ve always wanted to travel south of the equator. But only because I want to know if the toilet water really swirls in the opposite direction. Does it?

    Liked by 2 people

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