Perito Moreno, the monstrous glacier also considered the primary attraction in El Calafate, Patagonia. Equipped with crampons, I had spent hours hiking the Big Ice in conditions varying from hot-in-an-athletic-shirt to huddled-in-all-of-the-winter-clothes. While my legs thanked me for the strength training with crampons, my face, the color of bronze and darker than it’s ever been the next day (which is saying something for me), hated me for neglecting sun screen.
The next morning, after a night of drinking with a surprising number of Germans in my hostel, I took a 7:30 AM bus to El Chalten, Patagonia, the land of hikes. Sleep stole me away in the comfort of the bus equipped with reclining chairs and leg rests (why don’t we have these in the US?!). An hour after arrival in El Chalten, I began on the Laguna de los Tres path, a 20km, roundtrip hike towards the Fitz Roy mountains. Perhaps my all time favorite hike, it consisted of a 9 km one way trek through a gorgeous forest, lush river, and mountain scenery followed by a final 1 km of all uphill, steep incline – one of the hardest hikes of my life, which perhaps was what made it so worthwhile.
The next morning was shrouded by rain that soon led way to a windy but gorgeous hike towards a double rainbow, complete with a fully visible rainbow any leprechaun would envy and a faint but noticeable second rainbow surrounding the first. The Lord of the Rings-like landscape was incredible and my hike without a soul in sight made the experience all the more magical.