That was more Welsh than expected.

I mentioned this before the trip, but now that I have experienced it, I have to say a 24+ hour journey by air is exactly as exhausting as it sounds.

It didn’t even have to be that long. When we booked the flights, Mélissa and I thought it would be fun to have an extended layover in NYC. We could drink martinis and visit the MoMA!

Great idea! Let’s do something fun while thinking about nothing else but how badly we want to get home!

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Hiking El Chalten.

In El Chalten, there are 6 hikes that start from various points of town: Laguna de los Tres, Chorrillo de Salto, Laguna Torre, Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, and Laguna Toro.

ElChaltenMap

All buses going into El Chalten are required to make a stop at the Visitor’s Centre for an orientation from the park ranger. Instead of listening to the park ranger’s lecture–because I cannot hear–I sized-up the other adventurers. Judging by the brand names on their technical gear, they were mostly European, but I was able to pick out a few Canadians from the crowd. (MEC, Canada Goose, La Cordee, are all brands that are a more reliable way of identifying a traveller as Canadian than the maple leaf patch!) I could see several ropes, carabiners, and climbing shoes sticking out of some people’s packs.

Mélissa gave me an overview of the park ranger’s address. The ranger had emphasized how the weather was often unpredictable and advised us to be well prepared for these sudden changes. The map that was distributed to us denoted the sections of the trails that were to be avoided in high winds.

This was serious business.

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From tees to toques.

El Calafate: the place everybody has in mind when they picture Patagonia. In reality, Patagonia encompasses the southern half of Argentina and Chile. The land area measures 1.043 million km² and is, to the guanacos’ delight, mostly flat.

I watched the terrain pass underneath me from 30,000 feet for the duration of the one hour and forty-five minute flight from Trelew to El Calafate. Other than blue ribbons of sharply bending rivers, I spied with my little eye a whole lot of earth-toned nothingness. It was the desert, the world’s 8th largest and the least-talked-about!

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A toasty welcome.

The title of my last post was “Suffering for adventure.” My trip may have started with hours of discomfort on a plane, but I had also escaped Montréal‘s first major snowfall of the winter.

It was -20°C (-4°F) the morning we left Montréal. When we touched down in Trelew, Argentina 24 hours later, it was 37°C (98°F). A temperature difference of 57 degrees… WHAT?!

I had checked the weather the day before and made myself fully prepared with shorts and a tank top stowed in my carry-on. While my Montréal pals were traipsing through thigh-deep snow, I was getting my sweat on!

My elbows and scarred up knees were exposed for the majority of our time on the Valdes Peninsula. I was showing off my articulation the day we visited the seemingly inarticulate Magellanic penguins at the Punta Tombo rookery, 250 or so kilometres south of the peninsula.

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A Scorpio below the Tropic of Capricorn.

Tomorrow I start my 24-hour 3-flight journey to Trelew, Argentina. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It’s a great relief that this time my travelling pal, Mélissa, will be on the same flights as me. I am counting on her to be entertaining enough to compensate for the absence of captioned movies on these flights. I’ve had to endure many entertainment-deprived flights including the 15 and a half-hour haul from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia. Don’t be surprised if, by the time we land in Trelew, Mélissa will have a head full of micro-braids because I’ll need something to do while she watches Super Troopers 2 back to back to back to back…. to back.

White girls on vacay!

Continue reading “A Scorpio below the Tropic of Capricorn.”