Transferring to El Calafate and a Recovery Day
El Calafate Travel Blog› entry 12 of 20 › view all entries
Nov 25 - An early, early morning alarm (5:50 AM) as I had to finish packing my pack (some last minute laundry had been hanging in the tent to dry), grab some breakfast, and be ready to depart at 6:45 AM for Cerro Castillo. There was myself and 3 people from the other group that were heading for El Calafate so I wouldn't be transferring entirely alone. After dropping us off, the van continued on to Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas to take some additional people to their next/final destinations as well.
The bus left Puerto Natales at 7:00 AM and arrived at Cerro Castillo a little after 8:00 AM. Cerro Castillo is also border control for the Chilean side of the border so everyone exited the bus and went through the standard formalities.
The bus headed out again. We had about four more hours of driving after finally getting into Argentina. Once you get away from the mountains which we did on this drive, there is very little to see in Patagonia.
I napped for the most part after last nights drinking enjoying the respite from all the hiking of the past several days. Early afternoon, we caught sight of Lago Argentino and then 45 minutes later we arrived at the bus terminal in El Calafate.
Nov 26 - Breakfast and checkout from the hotel. I was doing a four day trip up at El Chalten and I learned that the two other people that were doing this trek with me were flying in from Buenos Aires in the afternoon. Originally they were supposed to be in at 1:00 PM, but the airline changed the schedule at the last minute and they would not be arriving until nearly 4:00 PM (not a weather or mechanical delay mind, you - just a last minute schedule change). Jim and Susan (as I would learn would be my compatriots for El Chalten) were flying down on Aerolineas Argentinas and this was not the first time I had heard grumblings from people about the airline. So I had most of the day to wander around El Calafate. Nothing really exciting as I sat around people watching while eating lunch, explored some of the shops on the main drag of town, and wandered down to the shore of the Lago Argentino.
Eventually it was time to meet up with the transportation to El Chalten, head to the airport to pick up my new travelling companions, and then make the 3 hour drive to El Chalten. While the weather was decent in El Calafate, the closer we got to El Chalten, the drearier it became and by the time we got into town there was a steady, cold rain falling. Checked into our lodgings for the evening, headed out to dinner at Pangea restaurant (some good pizza available here). Still raining when we left, so while I was interested in walking around the small town some, the weather simply wasn't conducive to the activity so we headed back to the hotel. I still had to repack for our three day "backcountry" excursion and tomorrow was another early start for the Ice Trekking on Glaciar Torre.