With short nights, daylight comes creeping through my window too early for me to welcome it. The comfort of a warm bed adds to my resistance and it is well pass 8am before I barely rise.
Plans for an early morning “free” entrance to the National Park are crushed.
I must check out of Hosteria Chalp and do so after a nice steaming shower that puts some “shine” into my morning. It is about 11am as I am packing up my rental car while rearranging in my head possible plans for the day.
There is a noticeable change in the wind and temperature from yesterday. A light snow with huge wet flakes soon begins to fall and a gray fog reduces the visibility considerably.
I briefly enjoy the moment and then take refuge inside my “Ka”. Uncertain of the effect of this weather on driving conditions, I patiently wait for the snow shower to end.
A clear view of towering mountains against a now bright blue sky opens up before me. Here is where the hundred dollar a night and up resorts in Ushuaia are located.
Rounding a curve I don't know if it is because I am hypnotized by the scenery but I come within inches of a taxi racing down the hill. Obviously, he has seen the scenery too many times to still be captivated by it.
Encountering a couple of hikers on the way down, “Hola's” are exchanged then I inquiry about the length of the hike to the glacier.
“Dos horas”, two hours.
Maybe not too bad except it begins with a rather steep rocky climb. From another hiker I learn the glacier is not that visible today.
Spectacular scenery with smooth faced towering mountains on both sides, brilliant white snow cap jagged ones in front along with the altitude and my breathe is literally taken away.
I make momentary stops under the warming sun to be awed and inspired as I allow my breathing to return to normal.
A relaxing sound.
Pass the ski chair, an “easy” climb is made through a wooden area where the path is muddy from recent rains. This path does have a low grade with natural and man made steps to help you along the way. Exiting the wooded area puts me in a wide open valley.
However, I must make a slight descent and cross a stream to continue on.
I watch for a moment while a westerly storm blankets the city with an afternoon rain shower. Here there are blue skies with the sun attempting to warm the chilled air.
Soon finding good footing becomes a matter of choosing careful steps. At some points, only a blunt rock may save you if you slip and fall. With the higher altitude comes more awe inspiring views that I use as an opportunity to catch my breathe.
Around each corner and over each hill I think I am getting closer to my destination but it seems to keep moving further away.
At the point that the terrain becomes uncomfortable for me, I reach my personal summit but never the glacier. Seeing the glacier would have been the “icing on the cake” but I am more than satisfied just having a few crumbs.
Fortunately, others are climbing up and I will have idea of where a good trail might be.
At certain points, I side step like a horse on the loose gravel beneath my feet. Eventually, I am sitting by a stream reflecting on how fortunate I am to have spent an afternoon hiking a beautiful mountain in Argentina.