Hey guys,

First of all, check out my Picasa Web Albums for the most up-to-date and highest quality photographs from Chile.

Secondly, if you’d like to read one of my friend’s blogs that has a very different feel than mine and features a good amount of creative writing and music check out my friend Eddy’s blog, In The Time Of Clover.  Both of us have been supporting each other’s blogging efforts for about 3 months now.  Check him out.

So this is the second part of my Patagonia entry and features adventures that took place across the Argentinean border in the cites of Chaltén and Calafate.  Both of which are located in or near the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, check it out here.  The bus ride out of Chile marked the beginning of the second leg of our journey.  I must be honest, that this trip seemed to span a very long period of time although it was only 10 days in total. 

Travelling in between the different areas of Patagonia is inconvenient and sometimes frustrating as there is often only one bus departure per day, or even less, between cities.  Some of the departure schedules are like “We leave Tu, Th, or Sa at 8:00 AM, and if that doesn’t work out for you, then you’re spending another night here in (insert Patagonian city name here).”  Not to mention that because there are about 150,000 travelers in the Patagonia area each year, so a good portion of these buses are booked.

However, by hook or by crook, we managed to arrive in one piece and awake in the city of Chaltén which is known as the National Trekking Capitol of Argentina, but oddly enough can only boast a human population of 200 – not enough people to even fill up a small section in any sports stadium.  I still have mixed feelings about Chaltén; on one hand, the city is so small that it’s annoying because ‘walking around the town’ is an unsatisfying experience for the most part, but on the other hand, they did have a great, cheap bakery where I was able to buy about 20 little loafs of bread for less than $4, so it’s got that going.  There was also a very unique equipment rental shop which had some great gear, apparel and memorabilia; I wish I had about $250 and a spare bag put all of the goodies in, but alas, I settled for a sticker for my water bottle. 

Our first day we hiked for about 4 hours to get to camp and after dropping our stuff off, we climbed up a steep, rocky incline towards the base of the Fitz Roy Mountain peak.  The shear grade of the climb proved to be pretty painful for me, especially on the descent where my knees paid the price.  Nonetheless, it proved to be well worth the pain and effort because we got some of the best views of the entire trip at the top of the hill.  At the bottom of the Fitz, there are two green colored lakes that gain their hue from the glaciers that feed them with ice cold, fresh water.  The Fitz towers above all the other nearby peaks and made for some great photo opportunities…. too bad I didn’t bring my camera that day.  In my defense, our original plan was to go up the next morning at sun rise to photograph the “Alamanecer del Fuego”, or “Sunrise of Fire” that occurs on a clear morning when the peaks are lit up a glorious, fiery red by the sun’s earliest rays.  Thus, I decided to save my limited batter life until that happened, being naive enough to think that the peaks would remain clear for more than one day in a row.  Needless to say, the weather changed for the worse over the nighttime hours as rain clouds rolled in and obstructed the top 2000 feet or so of the peaks.

Either way, here is a photo of the peaks with myself and Nick in the foreground (this was an accidental take as Ben tried to figure out the timer on his Nikon D40)

Nick and I at Fitz Roy

 

Fitz Roy Pic 2 Fitz Roy Pic 1

 

You can check out all of Ben’s pictures from the trip at his Shutterfly Account here.  The Nikon D40 is able to really capture the detail and beauty of the scenery far better than any point and shoot can, so it’s worth taking a look.  There is also an album of Torres del Paine pictures up on his account as well.

Well, I’ve written quite a good deal about my Patagonia adventure thus far, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  I am going to be writing about more recent events in the next few entries.

Yours truly,

Ian James.

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