Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Mad, Epic, Dash

In the last few days the scenery has change dramatically.  We were planning on staying in Bariloche for about 3 days, and then heading down ever south to Argentine Patagonia.  But when we checked the bus schedule, on Sunday morning we found out that we could either leave that afternoon, or wait four more days till the next day departed.  I guess buses to the end of the world don't run that frequently.  So in a rather mad panic, we packed our things, regretfully said goodbye to Bariloche in less than an hour, and boarded a bus headed for El Calafate.  

I'm not sure if you've ever been on a bus for 29 hours.  But its quite an experience.  Luckily a good 12 hours of it was spent sleeping, but that still left some time over to really contemplate....everything.  After a few hours of travel the lake districts lush and craggy mountains gave way to the Patagonian steppe.  This is one of the least inhabited sections of earth only behind Siberia.  The ground is flat as far as the eye can see and the only plant life, are small arid looking bushes.  Although drearily monotonous, it also had a serene, overwhelming beauty to it.  You could not help to marvel at its grand scale.  Roughly 14 hours into the trip, I was awakened by a beautiful sunrise (see below), a true treat of Patagonia.  As the journey started to come to an end the last hours of were the hardest, but finally we made it to El Calafate. 

You may ask why were we going to the end of the world, so close to the tip of South America that one could almost spit on it?   Well today it was glaciers.  We took a bus, and boat tour of the Moreno Glacier, which like everything in Patagonia was huge and grand in scale.   Its always been a dream of mine to see a glacier up close, and it definately didn't let me down.   
We were able to see parts of the glacier slough off and crash violently into the water, and gaze at its immense nature and magnificence.  This particular glacier is rare, for its stable and is not receding like most of the ones on earth.  It made me appreciate and understand that glaciers have really carved all of the world around us, and the fact that they are vanishing, is a real shame.  Unfortunately for pictures today was a bad day, really wet an rainy.  But it didn't dampen our spirits, which are ever increasing.
The other reason we are down this far, its to hike Torres del Paine.   If you care to check it out click here:  

We will leave for a 5 day trek on Christmas day to this epic wilderness.  No doubt adventure will ensue.  This will be a holiday of a life time.  And speaking of this, I wish everyone a very Happy Holiday, I wish I could be with you all during this time, and I want you to know that I'm with you in spirit.  
Much love, and Feliz Navidad.


Katie Gora said...

Merry Christmas, Kip!

Sounds like you are doing well--what an amazing experience. Can't wait to read more.


Kathytab said...

Merry Christmas Kip ! We all miss you and think about you and all your wonderful adventures. Keep safe and enjoy your very special trip.
love AK

Mike Gerenda said...

Merry Christmas Kip!

Great post and great adventure.

Uncke Mike