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THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF JESS & DAN back on the road again...

This toe is on fire!

UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 28 December 2012 | Views [546] | Comments [7]

Dear All,


It’s 4:30pm on Thursday afternoon and my legs and toes are still recovering from our huge day yesterday….


I should probably go back a few days further before I talk about yesterday. We met our tour group on Christmas Eve. There are 9 of us; a American family of 4 (kids are adults though), another American, a Canadian and a guy from Nottingham, UK. Our Christmas Eve together was very quite because everything was closed in Ushuaia. On Christmas Day we flew from Ushuaia to El Calafate, still in Argentina. From El Calafate we were in a bus for 4 hours driving to El Chalten. The view along the road got better and better every kilometer we got closer to El Chalten. El Chalten is a small town within a National Park, at the base of the Fitzroy mountains. The mountains rise behind the town and are popular with hikers and climbers. The town is small and everyone walks in the middle of the road as there are hardly any cars. In El Chalten we joined with a few other people doing the hiking part of our trip; a couple from Wantirna! Canadian couple and 2 american girls. We had an amazing Christmas dinner together at a local restaurant, dan had lamb and I had very tasty lamb ravioli, all celebrated with some Argentinean wine.


Boxing day, 2012 will go down in the records book. Not only were we up early but we spent the day hiking 24km for an amazing view of the Fitzroy mountains. We started at 8:30 and went straight up and over the hill behind town, nothing too strenuous and the path was well marked and maintained. From there we had a 2.5 hour walk through the valley, the views were amazing and different every time we turned a corner. So far in South America, we’ve been buying water, however here we can fill our drink bottles straight from the rivers as the water runs straight from the glaciers, it tastes 1,000 times better than the bottles. Walking through the valley in the distance we could see the final part of our climb, a winding rocky track raising 500m straight up the side of a hill.


It took almost 2 hours of going straight up to reach the top, the path was rocky, slippery and windy, I’m surprised we were snapping ankles or falling on our faces. Somehow, we made it to the top look out. From there only the serious mountain/rock climbers attempt the sheer granite cliffs to make the summit. Our leader, Frederico told us each year 6-7 groups attempt to make the summit and every year people die! Last year a Canadian woman was hit in the head by a piece of ice whilst climbing. Her partner had to go back down to get a rescue team to save her, although the weather was bad so it took over 24 hours to get back to her, and then when they did the condors (a type of vulture) had eaten her! Luckily, we were just going to the lookout!


The lookout was spectacular, we were in front of two glaciers that were draining into two lagoons (a bright blue one and a bright green one). The Fitzroy mountain (name of the tallest peak) towered above us, it was amazing. It was also freezing, the wind blowing off the mountain was so cold! We were very lucky too, Frederico said the last 2 times he had been up the mountains have been covered in cloud! We had lunch empanadas (kinda like pasties) apple and a cake thing, that was kinda like three wagon wheels stuck together with caramel between each layer, lots of sugar to get us back down the mountain and back into town. It was a very long walk back into town…I love you dan, but dan needed a little assistance in getting back down..his legs were cramping up and then he needed bandaiding because his little toe was “on fire” (his words) also known by everyone else as “blisters”. He has been bandaided and given hydrolyte and will survive. It was a huge day we left the hotel by 8:45am and walked and walked to get back by 6:30pm…


After getting back to the hotel and laying still for a while, we went out and had the most amazing steak for dinner ever! BBQ’d meat is eaten and loved by everyone in Argentina, so they know what they are doing. I had a massive steak with wedges and a few veg for AUS$20, which is pretty good considering how much a steak like what I had would cost in Australia. It was soo good my mouth is watering now thinking about it!


After our massive day on Wednesday, we spent Thursday visiting the Viedma Glacier. It is the biggest glacier in Patagonia and begins life in the Patagonian Icefields some 25 km away from where we visited it. We caught a bus from El Chalten, got on a ferry and then hiked over the rocks, strapped cramp-ons onto our shoes and walked across the glacier. The lower part of the glacier we visited is melting and continually moving, up to 1 meter every day. The surface is breaking up, kinda like lots of iceblocks stuck together, but underneath you can see parts of the brilliant blue solid ice. Our guide was lovely and made sure we didn’t smack our faces on the ice while wearing the cramp-ons (metal spikes) and shared lots of interesting glacier facts. To finish our 2 hour walk on the ice, our guide chipped off some glacier and we had chunks of glacier with some baileys, lovely!


We are back at the hotel now waiting for a bus back to El Calafate. Tomorrow we are visiting the Perito Moreno glacier on a boat, it has a massive front that is continually moving so should be very exciting!


Love to all, Jess and Dan xoxo

Tags: el chalten, fitzroy mountains, glacier, viedma



Well you are certainly seeing some amazing country. I am sure you will be looking forward to a rest on the boat trip but all the trekking it certainly worth the effort by the look of the photos. Just wonderful. I must say I am also glad you did not try to do the summit as we would all like you back in one piece. Dan I hope your blisters heal well. Keep enjoying your trip. I love hearing all about it and trying to imagine myself in such wonderful places. Love Gai xxx

  Gai Basso Dec 28, 2012 10:06 AM


Hi Jess and Dan,
Oh wow, I'm speechless. It all sounds so spectacular. The photos are amazing but I'm sure they don't really do justice to what you have actually seen and experienced. Poor Dan, I hope his toe recovers quickly so he can keep hiking. Like Gai, I too am happy you didn't climb to the summit. I don't think being eaten by a Condor would be very pleasant!!!!!! Lol.
Keep enjoying yourselves, bet you're so happy you chose to do this extra part of the tour.
Lots of love Mum and Dad xxx

  Mum (H) Dec 28, 2012 10:26 AM


Hi Jess and Dan (and Ernie). It sounds as though you are having a fantastic time.Even with fire toes- what did you expect Dan, it is called Tierra del Fuego, The Land of Fire! Continue to have lots of fun and keep looking after yourselves and stay away from the Condors!
Love and Kisses
The Loopies

  Loopies Dec 28, 2012 11:16 AM


OMG it's sounds like the most amazing honeymoon I've ever heard off! The pictures look great, I bet Dan has his camera out constantly. Glacia water is sooooo amazing!! I love your blog I've been checking every second day for an update, such a smart idea to keep in touch. not sure about the ice head beating then being eaten by condors though, lil off putting lol. hope u guys continue loving every minute of ur amazing trip! Can't wait to hear about the boat trips!
Luv ya's xoxo
Nick & Nicole

  Nick & Nicole Dec 29, 2012 9:28 AM


What an adventerous honeymoon. The pics are awesome. your writings are equally inspiring. have a fabulous break and looking forward to reading more. Our love to you both. (I can guarantee Milly is having the time of her life as well).

  Mum and Dad White Dec 30, 2012 12:18 PM


Sounds amazing Jess and Dan love reading of your adventures. Have Fun xxxx

  Sue Batten Dec 30, 2012 8:56 PM


Have only just caught up with you hard to find anyone here with Internet. What amazing reading do hope dan has recovered.

  Val and mick chapman Dec 31, 2012 11:18 AM

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