El Chalten is a cute little village wedged into the mountains of southern Patagonia. The international rock climbing community has long been enamored by Mt Fitz Roy, one of the most technically challenging mountains on earth. For the rest of us, Fitz Roy symbolizes a massive peak in a really special part of the world.
Although we read that 80% of Patagonia is actually desert and grassland, I will admit it was surprising to actually see it in person — my mental images of Patagonia have always been only that of huge snowy mountains and bright blue, glacial-fed lakes; I truly never gave much thought to the rest of the surrounding land. The Andes mountain range with its ice fields, glaciers and lakes absorb the majority of rain and snow, leaving little water for the east side of the mountains. Visually the difference in the landscape is stunning, especially now after the hot and dry summer.
Harry, Kerry + Merry Go Hiking
We had the best weather on our fourth and final day in El Chalten. Taking advantage of the promising morning forecast, Harry, Merry and I set off first thing in the morning to hike the Fitz Roy trail to Laguna Capri. Our fingers were crossed that the clouds would finally lift so we would actually be able to see the ever elusive Mt Fitz Roy.
A few hours later, when we reached the major overlook, we could actually see Fitz Roy! Well, we really could only see the bottom third of it, but how exciting! Although the mountain top was covered with clouds, we could definitely sense the presence of its greatness.
Harry and I have always had an affinity for mountain lakes. We love the clear, icy water and the solitude that surrounds them. We always challenge each other to take a dip, but it rarely happens — and today was no exception. Are you kidding me? That water was freezing!
The truly best part of this whole day was the fact that, once again — for the third day in a row! — Harry’s foot and leg were behaving beautifully! Yep, that’s 20 miles over three days without a hitch. We are truly mystified and while we can’t yet understand it (although we have a few theories), we are certainly celebrating! We’ve named this phenomenon the “Patagonia Effect”.