Today we picked up our little hire car and drove two and a half hours to El Chalten.
The journey was amazing, miles and miles of straight roads with desert, lakes and mountains all around us. We drove over half an hour without seeing any other cars. The occasional vehicle we did see was a bus or minibus taking tourists back and forth between El Chalten and El Calafate. We were out here on our own. It was similar to when we drove through the rural parts of New Zealand.
We finally arrived in El Chalten. It’s a town made up mostly of BnBs and hostels, with a few restaurants here and there. This town too, is mainly built around the treckking world. Thousands come here every year to enjoy to the walks into the national park. It’s great since most of the trails leave from the edge of the town so within minutes of leaving your bed, you can be hiking.
Most come to enjoy the impressive mountains. The two most famous are Cerro Torre and Mt Fitzroy.
Today we planned on a shorter 2 hour hike to Mirador (lookout point) Cerro Torre. It was a fairly straight forward walk compared to those mountains we did on the Three Peaks Challenge in the Summer. The scenery was beautiful. Unfortunately when we came over the mountain and saw the views into the next valley, Cerro Torre was covered by cloud.
At one point we heard a woodpecker and as we got nearer the sound of peck peck peck, there it was on the tree. It had a bright red head and was absolutely destroying this poor tree by knocking huge holes into it.
On our return, we ate another incredible steak! It’s great going on a good walk, building up an appetite then coming back to some good cheap grub.
The next day, we woke up and went on another hike this time to Lake Capri, a lake underneath Mount Fitzroy. This walk was far more spectacular with much nicer views as we hiked up.
The sky was also much clearer today so were were able to see the top of the huge granite towers that form Fitzroy.
These hikes we did served as good practice for our two main treks ahead: the inca trail in Peru and the W-trek in Torres Del Paine in a few days.
In the afternoon we drove on the lonely roads back to El Calafate where we would come out the other side of town and head towards the glacier Perito Moreno.