23 April 2015

Days off in El Chalten: Hiking, eating, and waiting

We arrived to El Chalten in glorious weather and found our way to the famous Casa de Ciclistas there. Amazingly, even though Flor was out of town, she made it possible for the casa to remain open and receive cyclists. We were so grateful for this space to relax and share with other cyclists, and did our best to keep its spirit alive in Flor's absence.

El Chalten is located at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy and is the base for lots of hiking in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Knowing that the good weather would not last forever, we lost no time and went on two day hikes right away. This turned out to be a wise decision as the weather soon closed in and we waited out several days of rain and very high winds, passing the time by devising ever more ambitious communal meals with our fellow cyclists. Ten days later, our cabin fever was almost at its limit when the weather finally broke and we could continue our route south.


Our walk up to Lago Los Tres featured fall colors and great views almost the whole way

A late departure guarantees you lots of company. The hike only got steep at the very end!

With every new view of Fitz Roy it seems more impressive

We can't believe our luck with the weather!

Next up a walk to Lago Torre and Cerro Torre - apparently even tougher to climb than Fitz Roy itself?

The lake has big and small ice chunks floating from the glacier all the way to the shore (and brave aussies swimming in it!)

Some pretty impressive clouds start to form as we leave Lago Torre... or is that a UFO?

If it's a UFO, now there are two of them...Or maybe even four?

Waiting out the bad weather is made easier by the two friendliest, happiest, calmest, cuddliest kittens we've ever met

And of course the communal dinners!

But with the sun shining again it's time to set off...

We leave with Rodrigo (Chile), Samuel (Chile), and Christophe (France-Basque Country) to share the work of riding in the winds that are sure to follow.
Notes:

- El Chaltén was entirely built for the tourism industry. We were lucky to be out of the tourist season, so things were a bit more relaxed. Florencia´s Casa de Ciclistas is a gem of a place, even though we did not have the chance to meet her. Someone who leaves her house opened to all passing cyclists, in her absence, is someone special. Then there´s the "almazen" next to her house, where there´s loads of interesting stuff for purchase - all imaginable seeds, avenas, flours, honey etc. Just one word of caution for passing tourists - they tried to trick us several times in some of the supermarkets in town, when doing the calculations (be specially careful with the supermakert "el gringuito"). Also, prices vary as much as 500% for the very same product, so do shop around. Padería "K Rica" was also very good.

- The trekking was great, accessible for day hikes and probably very good for multi-day hikes. Almost everything is free of charge (learn from that, Chilean National Parks!) and there´s plenty of info around. We were told the multi-day walk to Paso de Los Vientos was incredible, yet you do need a harness to cross a river.

2 comments:

  1. we loved this place. Dena, Niomi and I were there 7 years ago. So amazingly beautiful
    judah

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  2. Finally ice everywhere. Iced lakes, iced montains, flying UFOs over the ice...
    Enjoy hiking and pedaling
    Wreat pics as usually!!

    Hugs!! Nacho

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