So we arrived into El Calafate, on Monday (Patagonia). All I can say is WOW. This place is seriously spectacular. We were nicely surprised because there was a parade in the downtown that day.
Yesterday, we started before the sunrise and drove 3 hours to the small settlement of El Chaltan from El Calafate, to take a look at a peak called Fitz Roy. The landscape here is awe inspiring. It reminds me of places like Colorado and Utah only much much bigger (at least so it seems. Well that’s the story i’m tellin’ myself anyway.). The weather was perfect. I saw crazy stuff like blue blue lakes and crystal clear rivers (when I say crystal clear I mean totally clear!!). I have never seen anything like it.
With a 3 hour drive ahead of us, we stopped for gas at the only gas station in El Chaltan, only to discover that it was out of gas! Along the way we noted that there were no towns, no cities; basically nothing but the airport stood between us and the El Calafate, and that was more than 2 hours away. With only a quarter tank left, the happy day of cruising around seeing the scenery went south in a hurry. There was no businesses around to ask to siphen gas from either. The tourism season had not quite started here so many businesses are still closed. The people at the gas station suggested that we go to Tres Lagos, 75 miles away (and 30 miles of which were in the wrong direction), on a quarter tank of gas in a Chevy Corsa (not Corsica)… they all felt that this would not be a problem; it did not inspire confidence. Aren’t American cars gas guzzlers? Needless to say we made it. The gas station was a bit off the road, with no signs indicating that it was a gas station. For a momment I noted that it looked like a ranch. Had we not taken a second look to notice the two 1970’s pumps we would have missed it. For a while we wondered what we would do if they didn’t have any gas. It’s amazing how fear made me take note of the tall yellow poles along the road with solar panels labeled SOS. Had we not been in our predicament I would have sworn these never exsisted.
Aside from the gas shortage, the day was perfect. The temperature was perfect. Blue skies and perfect little clouds; except for the perfect little cloud that covered the PRIMARY mountain peak we had came to view, which never actually cleared all day. (see photo). Other than that a perfect day. So today it was off to see Perito Moreno Glacier and an actual trek on the glacier itself. I had visions of another perfect weather day so that I might get some wonderful shots of the glaciers. Wouldn’t you know it? It started raining just before we arrived. And I arrived at the most open part of the viewing aread for the glacier, it was raining sideways. As for the trek? Yes it rained then too. During the whole thing. I had 5 layers on and was still cold (waterproof parka, fleece, sweatshirt, long sleeve T-shirt, and undershirt). After the trek they gave us time to eat lunch (which we had to pack ourselves) and wouldn’t you know it? they don’t have enough indoor seating for everyone, so I ate my lunch outside on the porch, continuing to freeze.
So it was beautiful and amazing and it sucked all at the same time.
I wrote that post last night at the airport and am uploading it now. After arriving at the Hilton last night after midnight we were informed that they did not have a room for us and had put us in another hotel down the street! All this at 1 a.m.!!! Now I have to find a place to get a yellow fever vaccination before heading to Bolivia today. Wish me luck.