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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Argentina - 11 January, 2002



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Municipal campsite, El Calafate S5020.166' W07215.513' 203 m
Tour of Glaciar Moreno . . . .
-  Boat pier . . . 72 km
-  Ranger Station . . . 6 km (by boat)
-  Walk on Glacier . . . 4 km (by foot)
-  Boat Pier . . . 6 km (by boat)
-  Viewing Platform . . . .
Finish Municipal campsite, El Calafate S5020.166' W07215.513' 203 m 92 km

Leg 2 Total:

3,265 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km


771 km

Grand Total:

12,946 km


Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny, warm and windy.  Cold at night.



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We are now in the southern part of Nacional Parque Los Glaciares and will spend the day visiting the Moreno Glaciar.  It is a very interesting glacier and not only because it is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world (well, technically not advancing as it makes no net advance).  It is a huge glacier and we will go for a walk on it.


After breakfast at the campsite, we head off shortly before 9 AM.  On our way to the glacier, we make a couple of stops to see the lakes that are fed by the glacier.  At 11 AM we arrive at the boat pier to catch a boat to cross the river to get to the glacier on the other side. The lake is full of floating "mini-icebergs" that the boat weaves around.  When we reach the other side, we are delayed as they have to use poles and sticks to push the ice out of the way so that we can dock.


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After a short briefing and snack, we headed off to the glacier.  We walk through a forest and then onto a beach just below the towering walls of the glacier.  Here we are explained how the glacier is formed and why it is one of the few glaciers that is not shrinking at the moment.  It moves forward at about 2 meters a day and in the winter it will often cross over the lake and cut it into two.


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Once at the glacier, we are seated on benches and the guides place crampons on our boots.  It is excellent service.  Once everyone is geared up, we head onto the glacier itself.  We have to find a new route as the one they had been using even that morning has now melted and is full of water.


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We have an excellent walk on the glacier (especially the ladies, who flirt with one of the guides - who is a medical student).  We see quite a few of the different features, such as the moulins, crevices and blue ice.  We have to walk up and over ridges and around holes.  We see the water pouring off the surface down into holes and gaps in the ice.  The view over the surface is fantastic.  We have a great walk and we even have the chance to take a group picture.


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We have a pleasant surprise when we think the walk is over.  We round a corner formed by a ridge of ice and are greeted with a table on the ice that has glasses of whiskey.  Ice is chipped off the nearest ice block.  We also have some chocolate to enjoy.  And we can have seconds and thirds and in some cases, even fourths and fifths.


Argentina02_Moreno17_Walk_Whiskey_4282_Web.jpg (86581 bytes)

Paolo, Jacqui and Lars hung around and talked with the guide who was packing up and we enjoyed a few extra helpings.  It was good that we did not have too far to go to get off the glacier, but we made it.


Argentina02_Moreno19_Walk_View_4284_Web.jpg (91317 bytes)

Once off the glacier, we took off our crampons and then walked back through the forest to the huts near the pier.  It was a great short walk as we got glimpses of the glacier through the trees.   Once back at the hut we had about an hour for lunch.


We sat on rocks over looking the glacier and while we ate and relaxed, we could hear and watch as chunks of ice broke away from the face of the glacier and fell, with a huge roar, into the lake.  It was an awesome sight.


Argentina02_Moreno21_Walk_Boatride_4286_Web.jpg (79705 bytes)

On our way back in the boat we got a ride along the face of the glacier.  When you get up close, you can really appreciate the height of the glacier face, which can also extend up to 100 meters below the surface of the lake.  But we could not get too close, in case a huge chunk of ice fell off and caused a tidal wave.


Argentina02_Moreno23_Platform_4288_Web.jpg (97479 bytes)

We are met back at the pier by the truck, which took us up to the viewing platform that over looks the glacier.  We spent about an hour here, wandering through the different levels and just sitting and watching the glacier.  It was amazing how much it moved, creaked, groaned and broke apart as we watched it.  We hoped for a really huge chunk to fall off, but we were disappointed.  At one time, you used to be able to walk down to the waters edge, but over a number of years, dozens of people have been killed by falling chunks of ice and tidal waves.


We drive back to the campsite after leaving the viewing platforms.  Back at the campsite we spend some time sorting out our stuff and then head into town while dinner is being prepared. Back at the camp we have dinner and then we decide to head back into town to get some ice cream for dessert.  That was good.


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