Biggest is not necessarily the best!
So many people are asking me about the Caribbean cruise – so here are a few pictures and a few comments. Very briefly – it was better than I’d anticipated but not something I want to do again in a hurry. I think this cruise line “Royal Caribbean” should be known as “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The ship was a delight to behold from the inside (and there you have a stern view of what it looks like from the outside). Individual crew members worked very hard to please, but while the SAR reunion was outstanding – the cruise was lame, (trite).
The sun shone beautifully for my last Patagonian hike. A nice wrap to a stellar trip.
I’m now a couple of hours before heading to the airport.
Good bye Patagonia – a fabulously wild unspoiled part of the world.
So in case anyone is wondering – horses are good climbers. Yesterday I went for another ride – I really am pretty hooked on Patagonian trail riding. We started at the end of the valley you can see in the picture and climbed up a very steep hill side – to this look out. I’d be very untruthful if I didn’t admit to being more than slightly scared! But trusting the horse to be sure footed was pretty much all I could do. The view was worth while and the return ride not nearly so scary as we went a different route. At the end of the ride we came to a really level long flat stretch – almost like a grassed over old runway – anyway that was awesome because we just let the horses go for it – side by side galloping – it was so much fun! A great way to end my Patagonian riding adventures.
A fabulous ride cantering across pampas and trotting through “Robbin Hood” Beech forests. Sipping Matte with our guide in a wee cabin – a really awesome day!
Well here I am back in Internet land. El Calafate. So a quick review of fun times in El Chalten.
The first day I hiked about 21 Kms up to this lake at the base of Mount Fitz Roy. The lake itself was pretty understated after the more beautiful ones I’ve seen down here however the hike was really pretty and easier than some I’ve done. The weather doesn’t look great but as I’ve said so many times, if it’s not raining cats and dogs sideways here, or snowing – the weather is good. It was actually pleasantly warm and there was hardly any wind – another rare bonus.
Check this out! This is the northern part of the great southern ice field. The third biggest ice field remaining in the world. Antarctica and Greenland are the only bigger ones. This ice field, pared with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans (which are so close to each other down here) are the great Patagonian weather makers. Today once again the weather being made was lovely, sunny and warm. Lucky us – four days in a row of sunny skies! So that’s a wrap on the trek blogs.
An other major mountain feature in the park are these two “Horns” (Los Cuernos) which rise steeply out of two valleys to either side of them. We hiked up one – French valley – and watched some pretty impressive avalanches roar down from the glaciers above. Once again we had glorious weather in the afternoon after a cloudy morning! So at this point we were two for two great sights. Stand by for the next post to see what we saw next!
OK here again is the dorm room shot that was supposed to be part of the last post.
The Refugio’s were pretty comfortable. We were a six person group plus our intrepid guide – Miriam. We shared bunk rooms like this. One of the couples was on their honey moon! Bunk beds with four room mates – some honey moon! They are now staying in much fancier digs with no room mates! This was a great group to trek with. We shared much in common – for instance a growing horror of the sandwiches produced by the Refugio’s for our lunches. These were truly horrendous and became increasingly inedible. Miriam brought along copious quantities of mayo but even that didn’t help much. The bread reminded me of shoe insoles – in fact I think if one needed an insole the bread would have done just fine. As dreadful as the sandwiches were – the water made up for what they lacked. The water is so clean here we could fill our water bottles in the streams we crossed. Imagine doing that in a national park in Canada? It is a real privilege to travel in a place so clean and unspoiled that the natural water is still safe to drink!