Arriving at El Calafate was a worrisome experience as the pilots navigated the extreme turbulence of 60 km crosswinds with gusts up to 100 km. It was an undertaking just getting to the shuttle van as the powerful winds laced with desert sand blinded our vision and knocked us around. I thought to myself, “what on earth would bring people to this godforsaken place?”
The answer came the next day. After a short bus ride from El Calafate, we entered the Los Glaciares National Park, paid the rather hefty entrance fee and were dropped off at the parking area. I was grumbling to myself, “this is better be worth the price of admission,” as we started our walk.
Almost immediately I sensed this was going to be a special day. The first view was across Lago Argentino with snow-capped mountains in the distance and perfectly clear water shimmering in the midday light. A small iceberg floated nearby in the turquoise waters, so we quickly headed to see it. As we followed the shoreline, an immense sheet of ice towering over the water appeared around the bend. We excitedly hurried our pace towards the distant glacier.Soon we had reached several excellent viewing platforms and I had the good fortune of having my camera ready as a giant mass of ice crashed away from the glacier. The sound was deafening and with a resounding roar hundreds of tonnes of ice let loose, followed by a huge splash in the glacial lake.
We continued walking the elevated footpath as it provided different vantage points of the glacier. The walkways are quite extensive, covering several km at varied elevations. Venturing to the north side the sun came out for a few moments and illuminated the massive ice field and the high peaks behind.Yours truly on the Peninsula Magallanes, with the impressive Perito Moreno glacier behind me. Every few minutes the glacier would speak to us, the mass of centuries old ice inching forward at a slow but constant pace, cracking, groaning, splitting and crashing into the waters below. Rather than being a static postcard type of experience it was a sensational treat and rarely was there a dull moment.
Four hours later, walking back to the parking lot I thought, “Wow, what a day, that was worth every Argentine peso.” Glacier Perito Moreno, not just another chip off the old block of ice. This is the mother of all glaciers!