A four hour bus ride later, I’m back in Argentina, in the relatively civilized town of El Calafate.
The big draw in Calafate is the Perito Moreno Glacier a few miles outside of town. One of the few glaciers in the world that is growing, not receding, it’s a must-see sight down here. My first day in Calafate is cloudy, and I feel like the sunny weather predicted for the next day will make for better photos. I spend the day shopping and getting laundry done after the W trek, and spend the afternoon and evening trying to get some timelapse work in, inspired by the Canadian guy I had met at Chilenos. I also manage to get some decent meals in, and find a pretty nice barleywine from Antares, which becomes a mainstay of my beer rotation when I can find it in Argentina.
The next day the weather is as good as I had hoped, and I hop onto a tour bus for the glacier. Normally I’m all about doing things on my own but outside of signing up for a hike on the glacier, which I’ve done before in Canada, there’s not many ways to experience the glacier other than via boat or from the adjacent viewing platforms. (Though I must admit the scenery on the Perito Moreno glacier would likely top what I saw on the Athabasca glacier in Banff – something for my return visit, I guess).
A crowd of tourists is packed onto the boats for a ride around the southern arm of Lago Argentino, separated from the main bulk of the lake by the glacier. For an hour we drift past icebergs and float ever cloaser to the vertical ice walls and their otherworldly jagged towers. It is not hard to imagine Superman’s Fortress of Solitude being hidden somewhere inside the frozen ridges.
After the boat tour is over, we’re dumped onto the multi-level overlooks that rest on the hillside opposite the mouth of the glacier. I’d heard it is better to go in the afternoon because the sun’s heat makes calving more likely, and I’m not disappointed. Several massive chunks fall off as I watch from the viewing platform. It’s hard to fathom the size of them without looking at the boats in the distance – even an iceberg that seems to be a tenth the height of the glacier is still twice as high as the tour boats.
The Perito Moreno glacier is in the far southern tip of Los Glaciares National Park. Having seen it, I’m ready to head to my next destination is the far northern end of the park, four hours away by bus.