Today was the day of our glacier hike. We (me and Alex) were the only people from our group that decided to go on it, since everybody else either already did it in the past or opted out for just a little boat cruise around the glacier.
We got picked up directly from our hostel on a really awesome bus. For some reason, the buses in South America are light years beyond the coaches in South America. Many of them are actually 2 floors, but they only have 3 seats per aisle, so you have a lot more space for yourself. Plus, the seat reclines back completely, so you can sleep on it quite comfortably. Moreover, on many of the bus rides, you even have a waitress serving food every 3 hours. Of course, our bus wasn´t as fancy as that, but still quite comfortable.
We picked up some more people and headed to the Moreno Glacier. The Perito Moreno Glacier is a glacier located in the Los Glaciares National Park in the south west of Santa Cruz province, Argentina.
It´s about 5 km wide, with an average height of 60 meters above the surface of the water, with a total ice depth of 170 meters. It advances at a speed of up to 2 m per day, although it loses mass at approximately the same rate, meaning that aside from small variations, its has not advanced or receded in the past 90 years.
We reached the park about 2 hours later and were given a bit of time to go on several observation points from which we could check out that massive ice cube.
One of the coolest parts was watching giant chunks of ice just falling down from the top, making a huge water splash and producing a hell lot of noise. In fact, a little bit later, we also saw a chunk of ice that actually broke off from underneath the water level and came up – kind of like a submarine.
Anyways, a little bit later, we got on a boat that took us closer to the actual glacier.
When we got off on the ground, we were divided up into groups. We got to go with an English group where we had 2 guides and about 15 people.
The guide told us a little bit about the glacier and gave us the crampons which went on top of our boots.
Since the actual surface of the glacier is solid ice, they were necessary for walking on top of it. We began our hike on the glacier, which was quite an interesting experience. Going on a flat surface was quite easy, but going up and down proved to be more of a challenge. Since the actual surface of the glacier wasn´t flat but rather was composed of crevaces and hills, most of the walking involved either uphill or downhill movement.
To go down, for example, you had to assume the monkey pose, where you would put out your feet in the front, lean backwards, and make small steps downwards.
We got to spend about 2 hours on the actual glacier. It literally felt like we were inside of a giant ice cream cone.
The pictures will show it in more detail later, but it was definitely a great experience. Atthe end of the hike, we went into this little secluded place where the guides kept a bar and treated us to whisky and chocolates. It´s actually quite great since after many of our previous activities (e.g. hydrospeeding), we were always treated to booze and snacks at the end.
We got back at around 7pm, so we just had a little bit of time before we met up with our group at an all-you-can eat meat buffet. You just can´t be a vegetarian in this country – it simply won´t work.
We stuffed our faces and are now getting ready to head back to the hostel since we´re leaving tomorrow at 5am to go to Punta Arenas – our last stop before Ushuaia.
We got 2 days of about 15 hours of driving each, so it should be pretty tough. I´ll try to post again before my flight back.