Thursday, February 28, 2013

The hike from El Pilar to El Chalten

Top off the day with a fine meal at Ruca Mahuida, which may be the best restaurant in El Chalten. Here, I enjoyed a beef tenderloin with cassis and malbec sauce with ragout of quinoa and mushrooms and served with sweet potatoes. The presentation was a nod to the surrounding landscape--the tower of sweet potatoes mimics the form of Cerro Torre! Fabuloso!
Late afternoon light on the Fitzroy massif as seen across one of the many wetlands (humedales) near Campamento Poincenot.
Perhaps the single most stunning sight in Patagonia is the view of the Fitzroy massif from Laguna de los Tres. We were blessed with fine weather...a one in a million day!
Here is our group approaching the Campamento Poincenot. The Fitzroy massif dominates the view!
With most of the ascent up the Rio Blanco behind us, our group pauses for a photo in front of the spectacular Fitzroy massif.
The spire of Monte Fitzrroy rising above the Piedras Blancas Glacier as seen from the trail ascending the Rio Blanco.
We started today's hike from El Pilar, north of El Chalten. We will walk back to El Chalten from this point, some of us via the Laguna de los Tres. Here is a view at the start of the hike: from left to right, the peaks of Poincenot, Fitzroy and Electrico rise above the Rio Blanco ("White River").

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Hike to Laguna Torre

The group hiking along the base of the terminal moraine that hems in the Laguna Torre ("Tower Lake"). Above the moraine you can see the glacial ice that drapes the Cordon Adela.
A view of Laguna Torre from its moraine. The skies were overcast, but it's still a beautiful scene.  A few icebergs were floating in the lake calved off the Glaciar Grande (left background) that empties into the lake at its head.
Heading back to El Chalten through peaceful and beautiful lenga woodlands below Laguna Torre. Lenga is one of the species of southern beech (Nothofagus) found in Patagonia.
Came upon a flock of austral parakeets (Enicognathus ferrugineus) squawking in the lenga trees as we neared El Chalten. That was a treat! Here's a glimpse of one of those birds.
Just before reaching El Chalten, the sun finally broke through the cloud layer revealing glacier-topped Cerro Solo against a blue sky!
Peaks of the Fitzroy massif draped in swirling clouds. The peak of Fitzroy is in the center of the photo; Poincenot is the next highest spire to the left of Fitzroy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dinner in El Chalten at Fuegia Bistro

El Chalten is full of small restaurants that serve great meals. They are great places to refuel after a long day on the trail in Patagonia!

Perito Moreno Glacier

The striking Perito Moreno Glacier west of El Calafate. The skies were overcast, but that meant that the lighting was gentle and even, and that only enhanced the brilliant blue of glacial ice!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Poor man's steak

Bife a la pobre ("poor man's steak") at La Cocina restaurant, El Calafate, Argentina. Huge rump steak cover with grilled onions, peas and a fried egg with a serving of french fries, washed down with good malbec from Patagonia (not Mendoza)! Buen provecho!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Approach to El Calafate

Flying over Patagonia on the approach to El Calafate Airport, Argentina, Sunday (February 24, 2013 at about 18:00). The turquoise blue river is the Rio Santa Cruz. In April 1834, Captain Robert Fitzroy anchored the HMS Beagle at the river's mouth allowing a team of explorers including Charles Darwin to survey the lower reaches of this river.

Patagonia Bound

The new look of Aerolineas Argentinas, now a member of SkyTeam. Boarding my flight to El Calafate in Argentine Patagonia departing from Jorge Newbery Metropolitan Airport in Buenos Aires. Beautiful afternoon. Three hours flight time to El Calafate.