patagonia2005 travel

From guest blogger Jules:

hola todos,

over the past 5 days, we clambered across nearly 50 km of tierra salvaje y
silvestre, drank el agua fresca straight out of the streams, powered down
some steamin’ pots o hot dinner mush, and laid eyes on some of the more
stunning rock piles en todo el mundo. mi tobillo no es fuerte, pero es mas
mejor ahora. still a bit swollen and unsteady, but with a constant stream of
ibuprofena, an ace bandage, and dr. chiang’s mad crazy taping skills, she’s
good enough to trek on (barring any further mishaps). we had quite good
fortune with weather, and all in all our first trek was legendary…

at long last, we set off–a gimpy gringuita and an overladen
chino–remarkably without incident or accident, on a bus bound for el parque
nacional los glaciares. well, not so much a bus but a sauna-on-wheels. our
voyage of 4 hours over argentina’s finest gravel and cobble brought us to el
chalten, a teeny mountaineering outpost (i.e. crested butte cerca 1970)
nestled at the edge of a deeply gouged glacial valley below the lofty spires
of cerro fitz roy. we hopped off the bus and onto the trail, spending our
first night in a grove of lenga (beech trees) on the banks of a rushing
glacial river. the next morning, the veil of clouds was lifting off of cerro
torre, and we got a few good looks at the crazy spire of intricately
patterned granite–far f**kin out! we boogied (well, sort of half-boogie,
half-hobble) on down the trail, below monta�as and past dos lagos grandes,
to arrive at our next camp, below mighty fitz roy and its many satellite
peaks. the following day, we climbed around in the cirques below fitz roy,
gawking at blue blue glaciers, and enjoyed a lazy wander up a milky green
glacial rio. finally, we trekked to the far side of fitz roy, via another
spectacular glacial valley, and then back out to chalten, where we caught
the bus back to calafate. today we’re hanging out doing laundry and
re-supplying for our next adventure into torres del paine en chile.

some notes on the s. american trekking experience (granted my sample size es
solamente uno): hay muchas muchas backpackers, mostly from europe, and the
camping is communal-style. tents upon tents upon tents, within centimeters
of each other. anywhere from 50-100 personas, pero un latreno. mighty
pleasant. some of the trails are desperately in need of work, but it was
good to hear the park “rangers” preaching the leave no trace ethic… we
were surprised to hear the rangers advising us to drink unfiltered
streamwater, but then again we were at the headwaters themselves, and
handily, there’s no giardia in these parts (like new zealand). of course,
the scenario is a bit tenuous, what with the amount of human
traffic–requires the complete cooperation of visitors not to bathe, do
dishes, or shit in the waterways. most people seem to be respectful of the
commons, but all it takes is “that one guy” to get everybody downstream
sick… anyhow, here’s hoping people are still drinking out of the rivers
here many years from now.

even after spending several days in a tent together, alex and i are getting
along alright so far (he’s been a hell of a trooper dealing with my bunk
ankle). but we now refer to him as “daisy.” i guess i tend to forego luxury
items such as deoderant on longer backpacking trips, but at one point, the
subject of b.o. was raised, and he remarked, “yeah, borrow my deoderant, you
REEK! but not me, i smell fresh as a daisy!” what!? true, i’ve smelled
worse, but *everybody* has an odor after that much physical exertion, and an
entire fleet of fruity-scented products can’t take that away. sorry, daisy,
you can’t get away with comments about how yer shit don’t stink (though i
confess, i did enjoy exfoliating once or twice with his biore facial wipes).

well, there’s much more i could go on about, but its quite late and we have
an early bus tomorrow, and frankly i’ve gone on long enough. hope you all
are well, gracias para su communicacion, i love hearing from everyone how
its going. i promise i’ll get back to each of you before too long (next rest
day). i miss you, i love you, take care until next time…

abrazos y besos, jules