Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finally Some Pics!

We have finally managed to sit down, sift through and choose, and upload some pictures from the last few weeks onto the computer!
We´ve chosen one or two from each place/excursion we´ve been to. As of right now, you will only see 17 of the 1350 we you´re welcome. Under each picture, there will be a brief explanation of what the hell is going on.

Ushuaia - Sea kayaking in the Beagle Channel. We fought choppy waves, winds, cold water, and came out with salt-crusted faces. Great day.

Ushuaia, Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego - Jesse taking in the view along the coastal trail. We took a 9 hour hike through the National Park. We walked along the coast and up a mountain, looking at clear blue lagoons, mussel beds, a couple different types of forests, and mountains everywhere.

Ushuaia - Bandera (flag) tree. Imagine it turned the right way. No, the wind was not blowing that hard. However, constant winds along the coast cause these trees to grow in the direction of the wind, so they always look like they´re caught in a windstorm.

Ushuaia - Isla Martillo. On an extremely cold day (remember we were only a couple hundred kilometers from Antarctica), we took a boat out to a Magellanic penguin colony. They were so curious, they´d walk right up to you.

More penguins. These were nests, and so most of them were guarded by at least one of the parents.

El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier. One of our favorite days thus far. This was our introduction to the glacier, which was a pretty spectacular view. Perito Moreno is one of two advancing glaciers in the world. Our guide told us that Perito Moreno glacier is 274 sq. kilometers, and the entire Patagonian ice field is bigger than Switzerland, the 3 largest in the world.

The front of the glacier - where we were able to see a huge piece of ice (like the size of a bus) calve and fall into the lake. The sound was like huge rolling thunder or an explosion within the ice.

We took a 4 hour hike ON the glacier! It was such an amazing experience. The cramp-ons (the spikes attached to our shoes) took awhile to get used to, but were easy once you got the hang of it. We had to wear harnesses just in case we fell into a fissure. We were able to fill up our water bottles from one of the streams flowing through the glacier and see all kinds of awesome caves, sink holes, streams, fissures and fissures. And we´ll never forget the color - clear, bright blue - that pictures could NEVER do justice.

In the ice cave on the glacier. The caves are formed by small streams flowing through the glacier. If you look at our feet, you´ll see that we have to walk with our spikes on the side of the cave because the stream had cut out the ice underneath us. And yes, It was THAT blue inside the cave.

Entering El Chalten. The Fitz Roy mountain range greeted us upon our arrival to the town. A very scenic end to an otherwise mundane bus ride.

El Chalten, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares - This was taken on our first hike to the bottom of Cerro Torre (Tower Peak). The weather could not have been more perfect and the views were stunning. Cerro Torre is obviously called so because of it´s tower-like appearance. It took us roughly 4 hours (with a rather steep, high, and narrow acsent towards the end) to get to our lunch spot, overlooking a glacier, it´s accompanying lake, and the imposing gray mountain.

El Chalten, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares - Our 9 hour round trip hike to the base on Mount Fitz Roy. We thought our previous hike to Cerro Torre couldn´t be topped, but we were very wrong. Mount Fitz Roy also made you work to get to it. The sign at the bottom of the trail warned hikers not to attempt if they were not in good physical condition, or if there was wind, which later made sense to us because it was around an hour long ascent, almost straight up a rocky hillside. If you looked bak and down, it was easy to feel some vertigo. However, the top was absolutely breathtaking. A clear, bright blue lake topped with this imposing monolith of a mountain. All the other hikers around us did the same thing - which was just stare open-mouthed in awe. Another one of our best days.

Ruta 40 - the famous highway, much of it still unpaved, on our way to Perito Moreno (the city, not the glacier). Jesse took this picture while our bus was stopped at a rest stop somewhere out side of Bajo Caracloes (basically the middle of nowhere).

Perito Moreno, Cuevas de los Manos (cave of hands) - Ancient hand paintings that are over 8,000 years old. The arid, desert-like climate and the location of the paintings underneath the canyon rock (protected from sun and rain) has preserved these very well. An amazing look at history.

El Calafate berries. The legend is, once you eat one of these berries, you are destined to return to Patagonia one day.

Perito Moreno - This was the highlight of our stay in Perito Moreno. For all intents and purposes, the town is super lame. We were stuck there for a few days due to bus and tour schedulings. We salvaged our last evening here by having a picnic in front of an incredible sunset. 

So that´s it for now! Hopefully we will be able to do this once or twice more before we return exactly ONE MONTH!

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