I have been in a small town called El Chalten for the past 3 nights. It´s a town of 1000 people set in some beautiful mountains. There is some amazing hiking around here and easily accessible (and surprisingly no entrance fee).
I first arrived on the 14th, found a hostel, and then took a hike to a nice lookout point. The 2nd day, I hiked to Laguna Torre, which is about 3 hours each way. It leads to a glacier lake tucked in between some mountains, with the glacier still hanging over the lake. Was a relatively easy hike with great views at the end. Unfortunately it was a bit foggy in the mountains, so I didn´t have great views past half a mile or so. Even so, it was worth the trip. Like in Antarctica, you could hear avalanches and ice breaking off once in a while.
The 3rd day, I took the longer hike, and more popular hike, to Laguna de los Tres. This was about 4 hours once way with ridiculously nice scenery along the way. When you think of Patagonia, this is it. Panoramic views of jagged peaked mountains, glaciers winding their way down, blue skies, and everything on the ground very green. The color combinations are incredible and make it easy to take a few good photos. The last hour of the hike was all uphill pretty steep, all the way to the Laugna de Los Tres (Lake of the 3). The wind got stronger and stronger as you got up. On the very top, you really had to be careful not to get blown off. SItting behind big rocks and staying low was key. Luckily, I have put back on a few pounds so I was on the ground the whole time.
Being so close to the Cerro Fitz Roy (the biggest mountain) was great. The jaggedness and size was an incredible sight. However, I didn´t stay long because of the wind and the amount of sand blowing around. Even from a little bit lower than the top, the wind was dramatically better so I stayed there some more time. Then I made my way back to the town for the night with tired and sore legs.
Today, I decided to take a break from the walking and rest a bit. Very nice weather again, somewhere around 70 degrees I think. Tonight, I´ll try to catch the sunset before catching the 3am bus to Bariloche.
I just booked my plane ticket home, so I´ll be heading from Bogota, Colombia to Chicago on the 17th of April. It´s funny to look at the map of South America to see where I´m at now and to see where I´m going. 24 hour bus rides might become the norm for a few weeks!