After finally finding our way up the unmarked open hillside an hour later, to the top of Loma del Pliegue Tombado, this is what lay before our very eyes. Pure, unadulterated, raw beauty. When my eyes first gazed upon this, it was so moving, my eyes teared up. It took my breath away, for moments later, after that long hike, reality kicked in and I inhaled deeply for more air. Stunning Fitzroy and Torre with wisps of clouds touching their peaks; Glacier Grande and Torre with their radiant aqua blue color; Laguna Torre with its half water, half frozen ice surface. Of the numerous beautiful vistas I have seen on my travels around the world, I can probably only count on one, maybe two hands, views like this that took over my mind, body and soul so completely, as if time stood still. With the combination of a long adventurous hike, up steep, snowy and icy hills, unmarked trails and wind that would make a hurricane jealous, the reward of this at the end of the trail was such a delicious icing on the cake. A moment frozen in time, seared deeply into my memory forever.
Los Glaciares National Park, El Chalten, Santa Cruz Province
Google Maps Location photo was taken from: https://goo.gl/16kWBf
Just before we made the final trek to the base of Perito Moreno, to get fitted in crampons, our tour guide stopped us at this forrest clearing. We had been shrouded in the woods on trails leading up to this point and when we made it into the clearing, it took my breath away. The sheer scope and magnitude of this beautiful glacier, up close, makes you feel like an ant. You wonder with amazement how something could be this stunning. My buddy and I were in the English speaking tour guide group, which only had ten people, compared to the Spanish tour with about fifty or so. This was to our advantage, for the tour guides were giving the groups a bit of a history on Perito, and with only ten people, we finished quicker than the others. We were first to get fitted for crampons and set foot on the glacier, but not before being warmly introduced to an amazing glacier, a towering snowcapped mountain, a vibrantly blue sky, pristine aqua blue gray waters and a craggy, rocky tundra. Perito's introduction to us was like one of those warm, enveloping hugs you never want to break from. I wish there was some magic spell I could have conjured up to capture the feeling you get when seeing this in person, for pictures really do not do it justice.
Los Glaciares National Park, 9405 El Calafate, Santa Cruz Province
Google Maps Location photo was taken from: https://goo.gl/64pwpY
Our last day in Torres del Paine and it was again, just like the day before, a calm spring morning with little to no wind. This here is Lago Grey, with Glacier Grey far off in the background. While you will find wind in most place, this part of Torres del Paine, on the west side of the park, is notorious for some really crazy, knock you on your butt winds. But not this day. Our last day in the park, we decided to take it easy after a few days of strenuous hikes. We drove to the south end of Lago Grey and made our way across this spit of land, a mix of sand and large pebbles, that is usually covered in water during the summer months. Three quarters of the way across the lake, an island rises up, with the start of a trail that leads to a lookout point. I ventured on up this stone pebble embankment, to get close to the shore, when I saw these chunks of the glacier. I threw on my telephoto lens and snapped away. The surface was so calm, almost eery to be that still, and the glacier chunks coupled with the glacier off in the back, made for such a great shot.
Lago Grey, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile
Google Maps Location photo was taken from: https://goo.gl/aesyFc