Time to move onto the next town – El Chaltén, a hiking town – about a 3 hour bus ride from El Calafate. We arrived about lunch time via the National Park office where they told us about all the different trails, what weather conditions to do what in, etc. – so helpful and it sure made me very excited to get walking! The one thing in particular that stood out to me about El Chaltén was how everybody was there for the same reason, to hike, and it was so nice that this shared passion was so strong.
After a quick check in to our hostel and change, we were straight out on the trails. As we didn’t wanted to be walking home in the dark we started out with the shorter of the two treks we planned to do during our stay there – Laguna Torre. It was the perfect way to stretch out after being cooped up on the bus, about a 5 hour round trip of walking over undulating hills, followed by flat paths through autumn colours and culminating in a glacier and the lake. And then back again. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
Over dinner the night before we were speaking with another girl staying in the hostel who told us about a shuttle that could take you to a different start point for the Laguna de los Tres hike we had planned to do today. So you end up doing the same distance but not doubling back on yourself – perfect! Sadly despite our early start the shuttle was still full, but we managed to share a taxi with some Belgium girls wanting to do the same thing instead (and it was cheaper – HA).
This was definitely my favourite hike. A steady climb, followed by similar style flat paths to the day before and then a steep hour long scramble up the rocks to the lake and (surprise surprise) glacier at the end. I only do walks with glaciers now. We saw another glacier en route, cows grazing by the path, the most beautiful autumn colours, lakes and streams where you could refill your water from. It was just incredible.
I think those big grins on our faces pretty much sums it up! We summited in 3 hours and when we got to the top it was pretty cloudy, CRAZY windy and started snowing. Safe to say we didn’t stay there for long… The walk back was hilarious, turns out we’re far better at walking up hills than going down them (and everyone else was in hiking boots and had walking poles…us? we had trainers…)! We stopped for the fastest lunch I have ever eaten – 2 sandwiches in about 15 minutes, for somebody who is known for not usually eating much bread in the UK I’d say that’s pretty impressive! What can I say? I was hungry and it was needed! – and also doubled back to see another lake and admire the view… The only thing was a bit of a shame was that we couldn’t see much of Fitz Roy mountain behind the lake due to the weather.
This perfect day was topped off with some local artesanal beer (and wine for Tess) with some people we met in the hostel. Happy days!