Argentina: El Calafate

After the experience we had in Torres del Paine, we were pretty cashed on Patagonia, but there was something else I had to see–a glacier.  El Calafate is a quaint, one-street mountain town with one goal–get you to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier.  It is one of three glaciers in Patagonia that is not receding, but it’s actually moving about 2 meters a day.

Every 4 years, it dams Lago Argentina causing a huge pressure build-up and breaks through in spectacular fashion.  The last time this happened was just a few weeks ago in March 2012.  You can still see remnants of the glacier on the opposite side of the lake.

Perito Moreno is an average of 240 feet tall and extends another 558 feet into the water.  It is full of crevices and jagged ice cliffs that melt daily in the sun and drop into the water below causing cannon-like booms that send visitors running.

We spent all day observing the glacier (I was in no place to hike), and it was awe inspiring.  Towards the afternoon, when the action began to start, we watched a whole face tumble down in slow motion and hit the lake below sending water shooting in all directions.  Unfortunately, I thought Joshua had the camera with him when he went up to a higher viewpoint, so I watched the whole event yelling his name because I was so disappointed not to capture this amazing phenomenon on film…only to find out the camera was in my purse the whole time.  In fact, the reason he didn’t rush back was because he thought it would be impossible for me to miss it!  The glacier face collapsed slowly and everyone around had plenty of time for videos and pictures.  As the tourists around us examined the videos they caught, each one was highlighted by my scream!

 

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