El Calafate and Lago Argentina

February 2023- Argentina

We rolled in to the town of El Calafate and were immediately shocked by the level of tourism.  This place was crawling with an international crowd of folks from varied backgrounds.  We saw smelly backpackers rubbing elbows with the Tommy Hilfiger crowd at the local brew pubs.  On the sidewalks we spotted everything from sequins to wool ski socks.  The streets were crowded, the restaurants had lines forming, the grocery stores were packed full and the parking places were non-existent.  We are not fond of such crowds, so we headed for a hilltop campsite.

This vantage point gave us an opportunity to plan what to do and see in this area. An open camping area like this also gives the dogs a great opportunity to roam around, sniff stuff and enjoy the break.

The big attraction in this town is the Perito Moreno Glacier National Park.  However, dogs are strictly prohibited in this park, so we were unable to visit.  We did tour the Glacier Museum, which offered a great deal of information about the changes happening to glaciers around the world.  I had seen a similar display in Alaska, but it was much less clear and accusatory in the message.  This museum was direct and blunt. 

It brought us to a point of discussion.  We have seen so much change in these factors since we have traveled on the continents from essentially the North Pole to the South Pole.  We have spoken to locals, indigenous, scientists and farmers and many more who have seen these changes impact their lives already.  It is a startling and undeniable reality that our world is changing.  Over-population, poor management, selfish actions and destructive behaviors continue to cause the demise; I too am guilty.  Tough stuff!

But the beauty of this region continued to bring us back to pleasant thoughts and incredible views.  We left the city and continued down the dusty road around Lago Argentina.  This massive, blue lake also borders El Chalten, this town and the famous peak.  We opted to catch a glimpse of the iconic peak from a distance, as we selected a lakeside campsite.

Immediately upon  arrival the dogs jumped out of the truck and went in pursuit of something in the nearby grassy wash.  Pacha stopped quickly, and Nica continued into the tall grass.  Moments later she emerged coughing,  gagging and pawing at her face.  She had chased a skunk, and been sprayed right in the face!  Skunk clean up began rapidly with a thick dose of baby powder (it absorbs the oils before they soak into the fur and skin) and banishment to the outdoors while the water heated.  Then a few showers with vinegar, shampoos.  Finally she was tolerable, but still giving off that familiar scent.  Pacha wanted nothing to do with any of this chaos!

The next morning was gorgeous.  Mike and the dogs left camp for a hike up the nearby hill.  Here is a view of the hill they planned to tackle. 

The photos he took from that hike are an amazing collection. Showing the truck camper as it grows smaller and smaller, and the blue glacier lake becomes more encompassing.




This little circle is where they were standing while taking that photo.

I could barely spot them with the binoculars from the truck camper.  They startled a group of guanaco on the trail.  They could see for miles and miles of Patagonian landscape.  And nope, the colors in those photos are not edited!  This region of the world remains one of the harshest, iconic and most beautiful places that exist.

(beware of your volume here, the wind is very loud)

4 thoughts on “El Calafate and Lago Argentina

  1. That water is beautiful!
    I’ve been thinking a lot about the climate as I have been wandering the US. Smoke from Canadian wildfires has chased me away from a few places before I was ready to leave. An area I visited in Vermont a few weeks ago is underwater now.
    Friends from home or talking about and less 100+ degree weather. The low in Phoenix the other night was 95°!
    And as I continue to drive, I think about how much CO2 I’m contributing to the atmosphere. How complicit I am. How privileged I am, and how much damage I am doing.
    I’m now looking for a new place to live. As much as I love Southeastern Arizona and my funny old house in Naco, I don’t want to endure summers with temperatures that will continue to rise well over 100° in the future.
    I may end up having to move somewhere in the east. I just don’t know.

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