Patagonia – Day 9: El Chalten, Argentina

Date: 11/18/2014 Tuesday
Starting Location: El Chalten, Argentina
Ending Location: El Chalten, Argentina (No Riding Today)
Mileage Today:  0 Miles
Mileage Total:  1197.8 miles

The day in El Chalten

As has so often been the case, we had a nice breakfast, but there was not an egg in sight.  So with all eggs banished to Chile, we had a breakfast of corn flakes, a few types of very hearty bread, and some fresh fruit.  Very civilized, and tasty but I could sure do with a dose of eggs.

And while I’m on the subject, and am ranting a little bit about Argentine food, I have two complaints.  First of all, I ordered Loma last night.  Thinking that I was getting Lamb, but I later discovered that the Lamb, that tasted like Beef, was in fact beef.  For crying out loud, come on people, let’s start using names for food that Americans can more easily figure out.  Ok, ‘Nuf Said.

Now, my second complaint…  They don’t really serve vegetables with meals here in Argentina.  I feel like I’m telling the joke about the two children, one who is an optimist and one who is a pessimist.  The punch line is “With all this horseshit, there must be a pony in here somewhere”.  In this case, the punch line needs to be slightly altered.  Here is the re-written line.  With all this beef and lamb, there must be a vegetable around here somewhere.  But alas, no veggies.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch!.  None.

Today’s activity – A hike to Laguna Torre

ElChaltenLagunaTorreTrailheadSo, we’re in a foreign land, and we’ve got a free day to do something fun.  I have spent a good amount of time on the bike, but it seems that today should be an activity that doesn’t involve wheels, at all.  So, after a brief chat to the woman at the front desk, we settled on a hike to “The beautiful blue Lake”.

I asked how to get there, and the answer was…  Take a right, take another right, look up the hill for the trail-head.  So, I followed orders, and within 5 minutes, we were at the trail-head.

ElChaltenLagunaTorreWaterfall1ElChaltenLagunaTorreWaterfall2The hike was 11Km from the hotel, to the lake at the end.  The hike was described on a sign as being easy, and I guess, if you’re an Argentine high-altitude mountain climber, then I guess this was an easy hike.  However, if you’ve spent the last 7 days on a motorcycle, I would beg to differ with the Argentine government and their classification of this hike.  There was a good amount of elevation changes, up and down, but probably no more than 800′ or so.

Ok, Ok, I’ll settle down…  Along the way, there were a number of photo opportunities, some of which were marked, and some of which you were expected to figure out on your own.  In these pictures, you can see the river, a waterfall, and the gorge.  I have to admit that on the hike out to the lake, I did not even see the Gorge.  On the return portion of the hike, when the group of about 20 German tourists had moved, I was able to see the gorge.

ElChaltenLagunaLakeGlacierElChaltenLagunaLakeIceBergsAfter 9 Km from the trail-head, the trail began to run on what was a completely gravel bed.  It looked quite a bit like the last 2 miles to the top of Mt. Whitney in CA, USA.  In this case, the incline was very slight, perhaps only 5%, but it went on for a little less than 1Km.  Finally, I arrived at the place where all of the other hikers had gathered, and there it was.

ElChaltenLagunaLakeCliffImmediately before me was Laguna Terro.  It was not the blue lake as it had been described, but it was still fantastic.  At the far end of the lake you can see the glacier that empties into the lake.  Up close, right near the shoreline, you can see large pieces of ice, that have calved from the glacier, and in front of the whole thing, you can see me, smiling, trying to deal with all the wind.

While I was interested in this little glacier, it was not that important at all because we’ll be on the Perito Merino Glacier within 2 days.  The whole group is enthusiastic about the glacier, and also to see the penguins down at the end of the World.

Peter the German joins us

First of all, let me apologize to peter for such a heinous heading.  I should have gotten Peter’s last name, and other information, but I didn’t.  So, if he ever reads this post, I hope he can forgive me.  Oh, that’s right, you don’t know who Peter is.

Peter is a Network Engineer from Germany, here in Argentina on vacation.  We met Peter on the route back from the lake, and had a nice conversation, and talked the whole way home.  I hope that Peter reads this and takes a moment to comment.  In any case, we wish him well in his endeavors, and with a certain little French woman that he was meeting at the bus station earlier today.

Dinner in El Chalten

Yessir, that’s right.  Another dinner adventure.  This time, we wanted something simple.  We figured hamburgers are the kind of thing that you can’t make a mistake with, so we spoke to the front desk and discovered a place named Borters, which is supposed to have great burgers.  Well, as it turns out, the place is called Porters, is not where we thought it was supposed to be located, and serves the biggest burgers that I’ve ever seen in my life.

That said, the burger was great, and given that Peter and I enjoyed a few beers earlier today, I opted for a diet Coke instead of a beer.  I do not regret my choice, not one little bit.

How is the sunset at El Chalten

Ok, here’s the thing…  We had a really long day today.  The hike was exhausting, and the beer did not deliver the results that the Dr. had promised.  That said, we were tired.

I could have easily overcome the exhaustion, stayed up and taken a picture of the sunset, but here’s the problem.  It’s now 9:00 PM, and the sun is still out, and it’s still daylight.  To the best of my knowledge, we’ve got at least another hour of daylight, but I’ve lost count.  In any case, I did not capture the sunset.  Sorry guys…

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.

Comments

  1. Cliff, thanks for taking time to share your photos and experiences! Looking forward to more posts! (We’ll plan a feast of eggs, veggies, and coffee for your return.)

    1. Hi Paul,
      Thanks for the offer. I can’t wait for the broccoli. We all knew that it is a barren land, but who knew that there would not be any broccoli or eggs for breakfast?

  2. Wow….I just love the picture of the glacier emptying into the lake. That is not something that you see every day. Although, I can almost feel the cold through the picture. Stay warm my friend. All that Bamb and Malbec should help!

    1. Yes indeed… Bamb and Malbec will solve most of my problems, but alas, some will require ingenuity, a winning smile, and a devil-may-care attitude. It’s unfortunate that I’m lacking all three, so I’ll need to cheat.

  3. Makes it easy to stay on the Adkins diet.

    So, if I understand you correctly, you will be driving ON the glacier? Sounds ‘slippery’.

  4. Hey Cliff,

    Great pics and I really enjoy reading all of your stories. It’s funny but I was thinking about some of the awesome travel that you’ve done so far in your life. Rafting the Nile, climbing to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, an African Safari (I know, you didn’t think I was listening when you told me all of this stuff), and now your on your way to the end of the earth. How much cooler can life get? And just to make you feel really happy that you are where you are right now, you should know that Buffalo NY has 6 feet of snow on the ground. Sure glad I don’t live in Buffalo. SHIT sure sounds a whole lot better than Buffalo right about now. Have fun! Miss you bro.

    Doug

    1. Hey Doug,
      Yes, I’ve been very fortunate to have done a number of fantastic things in my life, and this trip to Patagonia is by no means the end. In fact, I’m inclined to think that it’s a new beginning for all of the things yet to come.
      Thanks for the well wishes, and for thinking about me. I’ve been thinking about the family as well, so please pass on my best to everyone. Also, please be sure that someone takes these posts over to Mom, so that she has some idea what is going on with me.

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