.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Nowhere is a Place. Visiting Patgonia, 5) Viedma Glacier, Argentina

Viedma Glacier, El Chaltan 066

Situated close to the small Argentinean town of El Chalten is Lake Viedma, a large glacial lake.  You can take a boat tour to visit the largest glacier in the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, the Viedma Glacier, from a dock on the northwestern shore of the lake, near El Chalten (which you can reach by bus from town).

The following overview photo, courtesy of NASA, will help orient you a little better.  Viedma Lake is obvious, as is the Patagonian Icefield.  The Viedma Glacier is at 12 o’clock in this photo (actually direction is west).  The boat launch is in the little thumb at the top right of the lake at about one o’clock.  El Chalten is in a non-snow …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Nowhere is a Place. Visiting Patgonia, 4) El Chalten, Argentina

22 El Chalten 2014 (186)

Our next stop in Patagonia is the small town of El Chaltén in Argentina.  This town rests in the rain shadow of the massive spires of the Patagonian Andes and is a dry, windy and cool place.

The region around El Chaltén is part of Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is very remote.  It is usually reached by taking the bus or driving from El Calafate some 220 km to the south, El Calafate itself a remote town which we’ve previously discussed here.

The town resides in a glaciated valley adjoining the Rio de las Vueltas. The most dramatic aspect of El Chaltén is the beautiful mountains that frame it to the west, including the amazingly steep and narrow spire …

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Nowhere is a Place: Visiting Patagonia, 3) Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

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Our adventure in Patagonia is just beginning!  We’re going to start visiting and exploring those places people travel thousands of miles to see.  El Calafate may be a pretty little town but no one comes to Patagonia just to see it.  They come here to experience the magnificent landscapes of the Andes, the extensive Patagonian ice-fields, and the vast barren steppe.  The main Patagonian attraction close to El Calafate is the Perito Merino Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Glaciares National Park entrance is about an hour’s drive west of El Calafate .   You’ll drive mostly near the shore of Lago Argentino, the majestic Andes coming ever nearer.  We saw …

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Nowhere is a Place: Visiting Patagonia, 1) El Calafate, Argentina

074 Sunset in El Calafante

While they look extraterrestrial, those aren’t flying saucers or wormholes in the sky; rather, they’re some of the most unusual cloud formations I’ve ever seen.  The above image (and more in the photos below) was captured at dusk my first night in Patagonia and it affirmed my desire to visit this corner of the world.  It had taken 20 years, but I finally made it!  The breath-taking and sometimes surreal and barren landscapes of Patagonia are unlike any other!

Many people don’t know where ‘Patagonia’ is, or consider it just the name of a famous outdoor clothing brand.  My first in depth exposure to Patagonia (the southern portion of South America) came from reading the book, “Nowhere is a Place“, written …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 8, 2013. Greenland from 30,000′

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One of the advantages of the polar route between Europe and western North America is that on the westbound flight you generally travel during daylight.  The route takes you over southern Greenland and on a good day the view out your window is spectacular!  You’ll see part of its massive icecap, with thousands of square kilometers of mountains, ice and snow, and dozens of sharply defined glaciers.  It’s really a unique view, almost like flying over another planet.  Sadly most people have their shades closed and miss this spectacular scenery, napping or watching their video screens instead.

In the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to sit by the window on this route without a wing or engine blocking my …

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“Pic of the Week”, Oct. 4, 2013. Stanley Glacier, Kootenay National Park

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Stanley Glacier is easily accessible, so it’s a popular day hike in the Canadian Rockies.  It’s situated by the border of the B.C. and Alberta, near Castle Junction in Kootenay National Park.  The trail provides a great half day hike with an elevation gain of 365 m (1200 ft), taking you to the foot of Stanley Glacier.  The hike encompasses much of what makes the Canadian Rockies special, with wonderful panoramas, cascading creeks, rugged mountains and the hanging Stanley Glacier in a hanging valley.
If you hike in the fall, about this time of year or a little earlier, you’ll be treated to some wonderful colors along the lower portion of the trail in the area of an old …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Banff National Park: A visit to beautiful Boom Lake

Boom Lake 8-2013-001 intro

In a region where every turn of the road brings an even more beautiful view, it’s hard to pick favorite spots in Banff National Park.  I’ve recently grown very fond of the area near Castle Junction, off Highway #93 on the road to Kootenay National Park and Radium Hot Springs.  The ascent of Hwy #93 from the Bow River Valley gives grand views of the mountains and forests, brings you near the treeline and hanging glaciers, and provides easy access to some great high altitude trails, such as that to Boom Lake.

Boom Lake’s trailhead is located behind the Boom Creek picnic area parking lot a few kilometers west of the TransCanada highway.  The trail crosses a bridge over Boom Creek and begins …

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“Pic of the Week”. December 28, 2012. Sunrise over the Western Icefields, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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I love being in the mountains!  One of my greatest travel experiences was a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Mt. Kilimanjaro is a massive free-standing extinct volcano (actually a fusion of 3 volcanoes) in Tanzania, just south of Kenya and near the equator.  It’s the highest peak in Africa (5,895 m or 19,341 ft) and, as such, one of the Seven Summits (highest mountain on each of the seven continents).  Its summit can be reached without technical climbing gear but it’s a long walk up.

Our camp before the night of our ascent to Uhuru Peak was at around 18,000′ (5500 m) above sea level, right beside the glaciers of the Western Icefields.   The light at …

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