I continued my time in Patagonia with a few days over in El Chaltén in Argentina.
So unfortunately I have to start out with another stressful story.. One in which I was somewhat of an idiot and did not realize that the reciprocity fee for Canadians to enter into Argentina needs to be paid... Online... Ahead of time. In all fairness to myself, I knew I had to pay it, I just didn't realize the whole ahead of time garbage. So I rocked up to the bus station having learned this only 5 minutes before, when I'd fully read my bus ticket for the first time (I am well aware of the fact that I should have read the thing earlier, but I didn't OKK). So the bus company was basically a bunch of jerks that wouldn't help me at all. As iiif I'm the first person to make this mistake. The application wouldn't work on my phone, the information desk didn't have a printer that worked (cause you know, you don't just have to pay it yourself online ahead.. You have to print it), the bus company wouldn't print it, wouldn't let me take a different bus, really just wouldn't be helpful in the slightest. So that bus left without me. I walked two steps to the company next door where the nicest lady said "if you buy a bus ticket from me, I'll complete and print the reciprocity paper for you". What a beautiful human being. She even booked me in one of the comfier seats on the bottom of the bus. After that I had no trouble crossing the border, switching buses halfway, and making it to my hostel in El Chaltén. I met Bec and Kate from Australia that night and we set out on a hike together the next morning, despite the poor weather.
We made short work of the 9km to reach Laguna Torre. Unfortunately it was fairly foggy along the way, and started spitting rain, but we had views of a decent waterfall and a couple mountains..
It started to rain a lot more when we reached the lake.. Accurately described as 'underwhelming' by Kate!
The walk back had us positively drenched! It felt like the longest 9km return ever!! So the coffee and Baileys once we got to town was heavenly! We hung out at the hostel the rest of the afternoon, my new favourite hostel of the trip. The owner was a beaut, the place was homey and cozy, movies, cards, people and wine! All you need for a rainy afternoon.
Not to be deterred by the weather the next day either, Bec, Kate and I attempted another hike (this one shorter just in case!). We were joined by Chelsea from D.C. The Chorrillo del Salto waterfall was definitely a great choice!..
After pictures on the one side of the river, we began our 'girl adventure', exploring the whole area. Kate really wanted to get to the other side so we went downriver a little bit, climbed and jumped over some rocks and along the bank to reach our destination.
Then we found another path going up, did some more climbing to reach the mouth of the waterfall!
Don't worry Mom, totally safe, I sat on the edge (I don't love heights either!) and reached over with the GoPro stick!
We could climb along the water a bit further to reach a second waterfall! So much fun. It even started to snow while we were there. It was beautiful. I love snow.
We then made the climb back down and to the hostel for another chill afternoon and evening.
The third day in El Chaltén, I saved the best for last as it was predicted to be the best weather. And once again, I lucked out! Chelsea and I took a bus ride with Keir and Nathan from Australia to the far end of the trail that goes Laguna de los Tres and the areas most famous mountain, Fitz Roy. We passed a beautiful glacier along the first part..
Enjoyed the initial flat walk through a snowy forest that looked like something out of Narnia. Then for the big climb, 400m up in 1km. Which was pretty wet and slick, full of melting snow, and totally worth it for this..
Fitz Roy is seriously B E A uuuuuuutiful.
The opposite view isn't half bad either..
On the way down we got a couple last great looks at the fabulous mountain..
The end of this hike has another ridiculous Ellie adventure story. Before we left in the morning I could not find my damn GoPro anywhere at the hostel. After much deliberation I was certain the last place I had it was at the second waterfall the day before. So after the 20km we'd already completed, I set off for another ~8 more and the climb back to the second waterfall. As I rounded the corner and looked past the bush in front of the rock I'd been sitting on, I basically burst into tears at the sight of my GoPro, just sitting there waiting for me!! I'd left it sitting behind me while I ate lunch and didn't notice it when I stood up to walk away. Talk about horseshoes that I left it somewhere off the beaten path so I could actually go back and get it. Not letting it out of my sight from now on!
The rest of that day was spent with some celebratory beer, burgers and then, of course, wine!
I had a quiet morning the next day, packing my stuff, saying bye to people, then hanging out until my bus. Which was another adventure that I will leave for the El Calafate chapter-- this one has already had enough!