Is Fitz Roy the true love of my life?
February 1-2 – I’m back on a plane to South America with Zealous Travel Co. One year after completing the W Trek in Chilean Patagonia I’m off to see what the Argentina side has to offer. As much as I love Patagonia the amount of travel time to get there never gets easier, but at least there’s ice cream. Welcome to Buenos Aires! This city is so cool. I’m never a huge fan of staying in big cities when I travel–give me the wild spaces all day–but BA has a really fun vibe and I walked more than 13 miles just taking in all there is to see.
February 3 – The rest of our group arrived and we took a walking tour of San Telmo and La Boca ate some delicious food, had traditional mate, and went to bed early for our early morning (4 a.m.) wake up to travel to El Calafate.
February 4 – After a short flight to El Calafate we stopped by Perito Moreno Glacier and hopped a boat tour to get a really good look at one of the only glaciers in the world that is actually growing instead of shrinking. It is huge and beautiful!
We grabbed some lunch and then took a bus 3 hours south to our final destination, El Chaltén.
February 5 – We had planned to do some white water rafting but the rains the night before made it super dangerous to attempt so we were able to rearrange our schedule and get in to the via ferrata! There are many via ferratas across the globe and I’m sure they are all awesome. Essentially it is a climbing path with metal rungs, ropes, and foot/hand holds and it is super fun (unless you don’t like heights). The route took use about an hour and a half and at the top we were met with absolutely stunning views of the Patagonia mountain range.
February 6 – It’s backpacking time! It’s no secret that any time spent with my backpack on my back is a good time so I was super excited to start this part of the trip. Our first trail started right out the doors of our hotel towards Laguna Torre for lunch (highly recommend bringing an empanada). We continued on to Campamento Poincenot to soak our feet in the very cold stream and make camp for the night. In total we walked about 13 miles for our first day.
February 7 – Waking up at 3:30 a.m. to straight up a mountain is not really my idea of a good time, but watching the sun come up and hit Fitz Roy was absolutely stunning. I could be convinced to say it’s the best view I’ve ever seen. After watching the sunrise and take our breath away we headed back down to camp for breakfast and to pack up for our next spot, Piedra del Fraile.
We arrived at the refugio fairly early and had plenty of time to relax, have a glass of wine, we even made a charcuterie board of trail snacks. The dust that covered our faces overnight was actually quite impressive. It somehow blew through a rain fly and tent groundsheet to leave a lovely layer on everything. Total miles, 11.25.
February 8 – A much more chill day overall, we pack up our daypacks and walked a very windy trail to Laguna Pollone. We got so lucky with the weather being sunny, mild, maybe even a little hot, and no wind so having a little rain and big wind gusts was kind of a treat since that is the expected weather in Patagonia.
After a snack at the lake we packed up and headed out of camp and on to our transport back El Chaltén. On our way we spotted a super endangered deer, the Patagonian huemul! There was an unexpected river crossing right before we got to the van but what’s life without taking off your shoes and hiking up your pants. Today’s total was an easy 9 miles, and we headed back to our hotel to clean the dirt and smell off us, and then get ice cream of course.
February 9 – The next morning we got up at a reasonable hour and headed out to do some horseback riding at a local estancia. My horse, Marco, was very chill which I appreciated. We had lunch in the woods and then though we were supposed to kayak back the winds made it too dangerous so we hopped back on our horses for another ride, and there was a puppy to cuddle at the end. ❤️
February 10 – The weather worked out in our favor this time and we were off to do some white water rafting on Rio de las Vueltas. I was pretty nervous after a bad experience as a teen and had avoided ever rafting again but it was super fun and not at all as scary as I had anticipated. We also had an absolutely fantastic raft guide who kept us safe despite a few class 4+ rapids. I don’t have any pictures from rafting because I was white knuckling my paddle the whole time.
Upon return we had my fourth or tenth ice cream cone for the week and walked around El Chaltén which is one of the most endearing little mountain towns I’ve been to.
February 11 – Another early morning for the ~3 hour bus ride to the airport back to Buenos Aires. We spent one more night in Buenos Aires, this time in the Palermo neighborhood, a 10/10 on the cuteness scale of neighborhoods in BA. We made it back home after more long days of travel but Fitz Roy has my heart forever (or maybe just until the next mountain comes along).