The Great Outdoors!
El Chalten Travel Blog› entry 19 of 34 › view all entries
El Chalten is about a 4 hour drive from El Calafate and feels even more remote. We passed a lodge on teh way that the 3 gringo´s Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid (and his wife) stayed at for a month after robbing a bank early in the 20th century. It isn´t hard to imagine that they felt very isolated and safe from the law there!
El Chalten has only recently had the Internet arrive (at a very expensive 50p per 15 minutes!) and still doesn´t have a bank. The population is in the region of 600 and it is swelled by 50,000 annual visitors who come to enjoy the fantastic and absolutely pristine walking paths that can be explored. Some people are also crazy enough to climb Cerro Fitz Roy, which is one of the worlds most difficult technical climbs.
The next day we trekked about 3 1/2 hours to the bottom Cerro Laguna, another challenging climb for mountainers. We had just enough time to have a picnic on the edge of the lake and enjoy the moutain and glacial scenery before the weather turned and it started to rain - only lightly at first but the wind blew it straight at our backs and despite our weather-proof jackets, our trousers quickly started to hold the rain! We made it back relatively dry compared to some of the others who would have been soaked by the time they arrived at the end of the trail and turned-back to El Chalten. It was fantastic to be back in the warmth of our hostel and the hot shower!
The next day was simply too bad to walk at all without full waterproofs, but as we had our connection back to El Calafate at 1pm, we sat in the cafe-bar of the hostel and watched others who were setting-off on walks and read! We were very grateful that we had arrived in El Chalten when we did, because the weather would have been bad for walking a few days later - curiously, only a few hours drive away the weather was much better - another show of how quickly the weather can turn even in small localised areas.
We spent the last day back in El Calafate exploring the Bird Reserve, which had a wide variety of animals and many birds of prey that flew very close to us without being very concerned!
We took the flight to Buenos Aires sad to be leaving Patagonia as it had been a really great 2 1/2 weeks there.