Glacier Glee

[Recreation of the deleted blog – fingers crossed]

We drove out of El Calafate along the natural shoreline of the blue, blue Lago Argentino (Lake Argentina) toward the Glacier National Park and the Perito Moreno Glacier.

On the way we stopped along the part of the lake that has been dammed off because of a huge calving at the front of the glacier that isolated this part of the lake. The color is gray/brown from the sediment that settles from its sources with nowhere to go. Trees are pretty much gone from around the lake and the flora has changed dramatically because of invasive species.

One example are thistles, probably brought by sheep farmers from Scotland who Inadvertently brought seeds in their clothing.

After driving a bit further we came across the first overlook that had the P. Moreno welcoming us. We moved on closer and closer with more teasing views and growing excitement.

We finally reached the information center where our guide pointed out the specially constructed walkways for views all along the face of the glacier. The walkways are restored and newly constructed metal structures (made in Poland) that go on for what seems to be miles. Of course we vowed to take every trail.

The flora on the way was spectacular in itself. What some call “fairy lichen” on this tree.

And then the fun began. Our first overlook at the over 200 foot high wall of ice. That’s over 20 stories for perspective. This glacier is the only one of many in the area that is currently in stasis, and ever moving forward slightly. All the other are receding as are most glaciers in the world…due in large part to global warming.

The bright blue sections are light coming from the top and behind the wall. The spectrum for those is blue. The white of the wall itself is the combination of all colors.

Let the images speak for themselves.

Alien art? Was Banksy here? Nope. Just collapsed ice creating nature’s own art.

A view of a small portion of the walkways with our guide in the foreground and all the lucky observers at this surreal place on an unusually beautiful day. Marsha and one fellow traveler counted over 1,000 stairs climbed, and I measured over 13,000 steps taken. Well taken.

Now it was time to head back to El Calafate.

Every drive is another special panorama. Patagonia is huge, and diverse and surprising as it is big. This area is all private property as defined by the fencing. As I mentioned before, individual parcels can range up to hundreds of thousands of acres.

When in Patagonia, eat like a Patagonian. We found a highly touted local restaurant and were wowed, and stuffed by a fantastic meal of lamb sweetbreads, local salad with soft-boiled egg dressing, ribeye “pizza” style with mozzarella, tomatoes and greens, potatoes and chimichurri sauce, and perfectly done skirt steak, with a luscious Malbec reserve. Had to do a bit of walking before bed. Tomorrow back to the park for a five hour boat ride with more glaciers, icebergs and more.

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