On Saturday we spent our entire day travelling to Patagonia. We left Buenos Aries in pouring rain and were half drowned as we walked across the tarmac to the plane. You can always trust that there will be some dumb American who has all their rain gear on but still insists on pushing past everyone else without any rain protection at all, to be the first to get up the steps onto the plane.
The 3 hour flight wasn?t very memorable. We flew over the same type of scenery as I had seen on the flight from Australia. Once we had got past the cloud over BA we could see the extensive area of Pampas over central Argentina and then the treeless plains of Patagonia. This area of the world has no trees (other than those planted around homesteads). The vegetation is basically grass and low shrubs similar to Saltbush.
On arriving at El Calafate, we met Graham and Fay, also from Melbourne. They had just finished a trip to Antarctica -doing the same things that I am doing, but in reverse order. The name Calafete comes from one of the prickly shrubs which has small black berries. People pick them for making jam.
It took five hours to then drive to El Chalten which is just inside Los Glaciers National Park. The road is mostly unmade and rather rough.Chalten is a new town, built in 1985 to handle the growing number of tourists and trekkers this area. We had some spectacular views of the Andes across the large lakes that we travelled alongside for most of the way
On the way, we saw our first signs of wildlife- three Guanacos, similar to the Llama, and a Rhea which is a bit like a small Emu. No doubt we will see some more in our travels.
Dinner was at a local restaurant and we were back at our lodge by 10.30 pm. We begin our trekking on Sunday with three day walks of about 12 kms each way.