Like 2016, trekking to summit Laguna de los Tres was challenging and rewarding. Seventeen miles, 36,253 steps, 3,400 ft. vertical climb, a red fox, rainbow and stunning views. Cheers to experience that’s good for the heart and soul, and a happy New Year.
We take a bus from from El Calafate to El Chaltén, with a quick stop at Estancia Rio Mitre to play with mountain sheep and have a spot of mate tea. Natural landscape and traditional gourd cups feel like a scene from The Hobbit.
El Chaltén is a frontier town founded in 1985 to establish land claims for Argentina, near the border with Chile. Less than 500 people life here year-round and tourism season is their livelihood. They are quite happy to see us!
Our cab driver doesn’t speak English, but seems to understand that we’d like to find the trailhead. He drops us in what seems like the middle of nowhere and points to a thin path cut through the brush. Off we go, using my new Suunto GPS watch as a guide.
We trek seventeen miles through stunning landscapes that drastically change, from thick forest to marsh-like wetlands, from sandy flats to a field of skyscraper-like boulders. Even from a far distance, loud booms are heard as the glacier ice shifts.
Finally, after a very strenuous 3,400 ft. vertical climb, we meet emerald Laguna de los Tres. Feels like victory! It’s windy, so we crouch between the boulders with well-earned wine and crackers, to wait for the clouds to reveal Mt. Fitzroy. A nimble little fox frolics by and seems to share our joy. Just like that, clouds clear and peaks are towering above us!
As we descend, feeling pleased, a rainbow shines above the far-off town. We spend this evening, New years Eve, in a restaurant full of strangers and a particularly friendly chef who fancies himself a sommelier. And then we enjoy the best sleep had in ages, dreaming of a glorious new year.