Back to our little "jaunt" to Patagonia. While we were only there for three and a half days, those days were so bright, full and vivid. I didn't fully grasp how remote this part of southern Argentina is until we arrived. The steppes leading into the Andes are empty desert much like southern Wyoming along I-80, if you've ever had the pleasure of driving that stretch. We saw only the occasional estancia, guanaco and one very weathered gaucho riding a fence line on the drive from El Calafate to El Chalten. To fly all the way to Buenos Aires, then fly another three and a half hours south and then drive 3 more hours to the town of El Chalten gives you a sense of the remoteness. The MM says we were as far south as Ketchikan, Alaska is north. Woah.
These famous peaks, Monte Fitzroy and Cerro Torre, are the stuff of mountaineering legend and we were really fortunate to see them clearly--usually Cerro Torre in particular is hidden by clouds. Beyond these spires lies the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, the third largest in the world after Antarctica and Greenland. From it, huge alpine glaciers like Viedma creep out of the mountains and into turquoise glacial lakes. Similar geology to the Tetons in Jackson Hole, only a lot more active and on a more massive scale. Armchair mountain/glacial geology nerds like the MM and I just ate it up.
Other than passing on the much longer and steeper hike option on the second day (meaning I only hiked 8 miles), I kept up with everyone, ate whatever I wanted without the faintest trace of guilt, and generally felt totally alive and energized, if not rather sunburned! Put this on your bucket list, folks!