03/15/2010 - 03/15/2010 45 °F
Stopover in El Calafate
The flight to Ushuaia offered stunning views of the Patagonian landscape through a clear sky. I was quite mesmerized by it all.
I checked into my hostel, and then went to have lunch. I found a neat little eatery that advertised itself as part restaurant part museum for all the historical objects on display along one wall of the restaurant. It gave it a nice atmosphere, but I was more turned on by the selection of teas they had. I ordered the La Bohemia herbal tea, and finished the meal off with vanilla mousse on a raspberry tart. I try not to use the word divine too much, but a more appropriate word couldn't describe it.
Back at the hostel I met Alicia from Vancouver. I was going to hike up to the Glaciar Martial, not far from town and she was keen on joining me. The weather in the morning was gorgeous, however by the time we made it to the glacier park, which was walking distance from the town the sky had turned gray, and wind and light rain had overtaken the skies. We took a chair lift up to the trail. We headed up the trail over slushy snow, fighting against the wind. Halfway up Alicia questioned her ability and desire to finish the trail given the deteriorating conditions. I was determined to complete the hike. I told her I'd run up around the upcoming bend and see if the end was in sight or if it was still a long hike left.
I ran up around the bend, and a man was coming down. I asked him how much further and he said it was quite a ways. I went back and signaled Alicia, to turn back. I continued on alone, reaching a clearing. I think I was in view of the glacier, which looked more like more snow than ice. I was up there alone, and didn't see anyone else on their way up. What I did see were big scary looking clouds coming over the mountains behind the mountain I was in front up. I was afraid those same scary clouds were lurking just behind the peak in front of me. If there'd been other people around perhaps I would have been more confident, however being alone I freaked out a bit and decided to head quickly down the mountain. The ground was steep and slick with the slushy snow. I'm going to count it as my first time skiing, just without the skis. I crouched down and slid down the hill on my feet, which was quite fun, and a nice break from the terror of being caught in potential whiteout conditions.
I made it back down to the flat ground, only to pass a bunch of people on their way up to the glacier. Grrreat I freaked out for nothing. Back at the chairlift Alicia was there waiting for me. I couldn't believe she waited, but she'd been chatting with people the whole time.
Back at the hostel, I was checking email when there was a knock on the door. Alicia opened the door and someone whom I couldn't see as they were blocked by the bunk bed asked, "Is Ryan here?"
Who on earth knows I'm here in Ushuaia?! Turns out it was Debbie from my travel group back in DC. She'd messaged me through my blog letting me know she was in Ushuaia, and we'd been planning on getting together while we were both in town at the same time. It was a pleasant surprise and we all headed out for a nice dinner.