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Nick and Bec's Big Trip Starting on the 29th of June 2008 Bec and I will be starting a year long adventure, spending 6 months in Africa and another 6 months in South America. It should be lots of fun.

Chile to the left, Argentina to the right, we are going north

CHILE | Saturday, 21 February 2009 | Views [482] | Comments [2]

We are in Bariloche, Argentina. Smack bang in the middle of the Patagonian Andes. We arrived here the day before yesterday after taking a two day bus up ´Ruta 40´. Next is more trekking, this time a high level traverse in Nahuel Huapi national park. Below is the second day of the Fitz Roy trek west of El Chalten and day one of the ´Ruta 40´ trip.

16th February - Fitz Roy towers and the return to El Chalten

We are back at the hostel in El Chalten, tired, but well fed. I had enormous piece of breaded beef with an equally enormous pile of chips. Bec had an omlette and huge pile of chips.

Today we left the tent roughly 9.45am and headed towards Rio Blanco and the start of the 450 metre climb up to the glacial lake and hopefully views of Fitz Roy and the surrounding spires. When I first got out of bed the crazy spires were peeking through the clouds, but by the time we left the cloud was in. It had clagged over. We decided to go anyway and with minimal gear, one pack with cameras, food and waterproofs, we set off into increasingly worsening weather.

We crossed the Rio Blanco by ricketty log bridge and had a brief stop in the shelter at the climbers campsite before continuing up the ridge track. The track follows the ever steepening ridge, becoming a series of switch backs, before eventually reaching a crest, diverting left around an old terminal moraine. This is where we stopped as the sleet was horizontal and the cold quite intense. We took shelter behind a boulder, gaining some protection from the weather, took a few snaps of the gloom, ate a museli bar and some chocolate before calling it quits and quickly making our escape. Unfortunatley the towers were hidden in the mist and the views were, well, crappy.

As we descended you could almost feel it warming up as we passed many trekkers going in the opposite direction. I think it was clagged in for the day, no real chance of seeing the spires. The horizontal sleet was replaced by horizontal rain and after not too long we reached the shelter at Campamento Blanco, relatively comfy. So after a few more snacks inside us, we decided to find the tent, strike it and get going. So with tent struck we hurriedly packed up as our hands became numb and slow.

The return trip was quite pleasant as the sun sort of poked through the clouds occaisonally and the rain become vertical and eventually eased off and stopped.

So that was about it really, our second trek completed. Not great weather, some stunning views, light packs and a tent with a floor that kind of leaks. It had its ups and downs, but overall I enjoyed it. Fingers crossed for better weather on the next one.

17th February - Ruta 40 to Perito Moreno

So yes today, well last night, was extremely crap. There was a big, fat, snoring monster in our room who kept me awake the whole night. Bec got some sleep, but I got none, zip.

We gave up trying to sleep at 6.30am and decided to get dressed and have some breakfast. I went to the toilet, only to get stuck in the bog. The door would not open from the inside. So after five minutes of hammering on the door, the cleaning lady let me in, well, out.

Breakfast was not bad, it was actually quite good. A small improvement to the day. The bus came, but all the windows were covered in dirt and the driver/conductor was too lazy to clean them. So the Patagonian scenary was completely missed as we could not see out unless you sort of stood up and looked down the bus and out the front window. The only other means of viewing the scenary were obtained at the toilet breaks. These were polluted with the evidence of humans in the forms of rusting tin shacks and rubbish.

So all in all not the day I expected. The plus side came later in the day. We expected to be sleeping in a dorm that night, at Hotel Belgrano, but we had our own room (our first since Buenos Aires), they even provided towels and shampoo and soap. We also had a good feed of chicken schnitzel and salad and chips, with a coke to cheer us up. Fingers crossed they clean the windows for tomorrow.

That will do, time to murder the person running up and down upstairs banging on the floor.



So is Ruta 40, like the South American version of Route 40 Nick?

  Maureen Feb 21, 2009 2:05 PM


Sounds a bit like too many trekkers spoiling the place. Keep calm. You know you should have packed you bus cleaning kit!

  Pat Feb 22, 2009 5:17 AM

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