Laguna Capri, El Chaltén, Argentina

On New Year’s Eve, Clau and I hiked to Laguna Capri, which is about halfway to Laguna de los Tres, near the base of Mt. Fitz Roy.  I had my sights set on hiking all the way there, but the eight-hour trek is supposedly very grueling, and after our six-hour hike the day before, seemed a little ambitious.  If I were to do it again, I would stay in El Chaltén for several more days.  Just another reason to go back!

On the bright side, we finished hiking early, relaxed in a biergarten, and met awesome people who we celebrated new year’s with!

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© Sarah Milstein 2016

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Laguna Torre, El Chaltén, Argentina

We left El Calafate pretty early in the morning so that we would have time to hike in El Chaltén the same day, although it doesn’t get dark until almost ten o’clock at night.  On the three and a half hour drive, I kept wanting to close my eyes and sleep, but I couldn’t stop looking at the bright blue water next to the road, the dry brush, and the occasional huemel looking back at us.  I find it fascinating that you can travel halfway across the planet, and see things that look so familiar.

Once in El Chaltén, there are a ton of amazing hikes that begin from various parts of town.  When we arrived, we dropped off our luggage, and set off for Laguna Torre.  It’s about 6-hours round trip–we started in a flower field, passed through a forest, wandered by a glacial river, and into a rock garden before we reached Laguna Torre.  It was pretty warm the entire hike, until we passed through the rocks and saw the water, and then it became freezing and windy.  We finally were grateful for all the layers that we had been carrying.  We sat and ate lunch by the water, surrounded by white-throated caracaras who seemed to be enjoying the wind.  On the way back, I thought for a second that I saw a huemel who was standing still enough for me to photograph, and then realized it was just a dog.

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© Sarah Milstein 2016

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

My favorite part of my trip to Argentina was hiking on Perito Moreno Glacier.  Seeing the glacier for the first time, hearing it crackle, watching pieces fall into the surrounding water, walking on it, and drinking the water from it was truly a full-sensory experience.  I felt like I was walking through a Georgia O’Keefe painting where piercing blue crevasses separated snow capped peaks.

We went through a tour company called Hielo y Aventura, which I would definitely recommend.  They picked us up from our hotel, drove us in a nice bus to various lookout points, supplied us with crampons (and put them on our shoes),* guided us on the glacier, and gave us scotch on the rocks at the top!

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* At first the crampons that tied onto our shoes felt a little weird, but by the end of the day, I didn’t want to give them back.

© Sarah Milstein 2016

El Calafate, Argentina

This blog post is long overdue.  Last weekend, I got back from a 17-day trip to Argentina to visit my friend, Clau.  From Buenos Aires, we flew down to El Calafate in the Santa Cruz Province on the Argentine side of Patagonia, which was our jumping off point to Perito Moreno Glacier and to El Chaltén.  I don’t think that I appreciated how far south Buenos Aires was from California, and Patagonia from Buenos Aires.  I could have stayed in Patagonia for months, it’s so incredibly beautiful!  When we arrived in El Calafate, there was a problem with our hotel (namely, that it was closed for business), but we were able to find a place that was a little further from the town center, but closer to the unbelievably blue Lago Argentino.  All of the cab drivers refused to drive on the road below, and instead insisted on driving around the entire town.  So that was special.

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© Sarah Milstein 2016