Heading into Argentina the landscape shifted dramatically, the mountains faded away and a vast arid plain was our landscape for the long drive to El Chalten. We had mostly paved road for the drive except for 74 kilometers which seemed to go on forever. Upon entering Argentina we traded the Carratera Austral for the Ruta Cuarente (40) a road famous for running the length of Argentina parallel to the Andes mountains.
Once we turned off Ruta Cuarente toward El Chalten we headed west toward the mountains, the view could not have been more dramatic rising over the Argentine plains growing bigger and bigger with each mile.
Unfortunately the spires of Cerro Fitz Roy were not visible on our approach but the remaining mountains and glaciers made for an amazing introduction.
We stayed at the Vertical Lodge along the river and a massive vertical wall on the other side of the river. We didn’t have a kitchen so we ate out most nights which was rather expensive; Argentina is more expensive than Chile and Bolivia. On our first night in Argentina I did treat myself to a rather large Argentinean steak as they are known for their beef. The next morning it was still cloudy and rainy but we got out of the house and headed to Chorillo del Salto a waterfall just outside of town.
The hike was small but the kids seemed like they were aching to run around because they bounded up the hill ahead of us. After the waterfall we drove further up the road and got more views of the cloudy Cerro Fitz Roy and several rainbows. Maddy had a call so we went back to the hotel and finished our school, we concentrated on writing and all the girls wrote journal entries and reports. Caroline was very interested in the Ozone layer after we mentioned it as the reason we needed to wear sunscreen this far south. So she completed a report about the hole in the Ozone around the south pole and what caused it.
After completing our writing we went for a short hike and crossed the river over a quite rickety bridge and walked along the vertical wall, it was get starting to get sunny out for the first time since arriving in El Chalten so the views just kept improving. We chased down lots of moths, picked flowers and had a great time in the sun.
We went back to our hotel to pick up Maddy and we went on another hike up to the Mirador del Condors and we finally got some spectacular views of the Cerro Fitz Roy pinnacles. The hike was only two kilometers but it was uphill and I was so proud of all the girls for making it to the top. The views were amazing.
Once we were finished we played on the playground in the middle of town, we met some Australian parents who had kids the same age so we had dinner with them and swapped stories of traveling with kids.
……..Unfortunately the wi-fi is not great in Patagonia, so uploading pictures has been painful. Come back later for updated pictures.