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3 Days in Patagonia

Photo credit Yuliya Krivosheeva

After seeing a photo of the Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia, Yuliya Krivosheeva had to see the landscape for herself. She packed her backpack and took off without thinking twice about traveling alone or in a country that spoke a different language. Nothing would hinder her from seeing Patagonia's wonderland. During her flight however, she started wondering if the photos she had seen were really authentic to the landscape. Had those photos been altered? Could a place truly be that magnificent? Would she have to hike for days to reach the truly breathtaking parts of Patagonia? Would she be thwarted by the weather?

Her questions evaporated as soon as she peered out the window and Patagonia slid into view. Rio Santa Cruz snaked its turquoise body across the red Patagonian desert. Yuliya’s heart started skipping beats; this was going to be a trip to remember!

Photo credit Yuliya Krivosheeva

Only having three days to explore Patagonia, Yuliya didn’t have time to waste. She planned on visiting the Perito Moreno glacier and the Fitz Roy mountains. She lucked out with the weather as the forecast was for sun, mild temperatures and rare blue skies.

Photo credit Yuliya Krivosheeva

For Yuliya, pictures couldn’t begin to capture the beauty of Perito Moreno. Its ice peaks stretched up to 74 meters (242 feet) above the water’s surface and below, they dove into what seemed a dark ancient abyss. Every now and then, thunder claps would resonate from the 30,000 year-old glacier. It wasn’t lightning causing the sound, but ice walls cracking lose and crashing into the water. From neon blues to ultramarine to velvety black and blue, the colors of the glacier seemed to draw in the eye and keep onlookers entranced.

Photo credit Yuliya Krivosheeva

Standing in front of Perito Moreno on a small boat, Yuliya forgot about all about her difficulties and inconveniences (long flights, sleepless and extremely cold nights). Everything faded away. She could feel the glacier as it breathed in its surroundings, destroying parts of itself while sculpting new parts every day. Feeling tiny in its presence, Yuliya couldn’t imagine feeling more in awe of a place.

Photo credit Yuliya Krivosheeva

That was until she found herself in the shadow of Fitz Roy and Cierro Torres. After driving for three hours across Patagonia’s desert, her eyes had grown used to seeing plain desert landscape - no houses, no people, only the occasional wild llama. Then, a mirage appeared in front of her, but instead of disappearing, it grew larger until it was clear that they had finally reached Viedma lake, at the base of Fitz Roy.

Photo credit Yuliya Krivosheeva

Yuliya’s new adventure started at a little village called El Chalten - a kind of ranger station with maps and advice on hiking the mountain. As she had only one day, she chose to hike to Laguna Capri, a beautiful calm lake with a view of Fitz Roy (about a two hour hike).

Fitz Roy, or El Chalten, as locals calls it, resembles the moon or Mars. Though it’s not very high (about 3,405m (11,171 feet)) it’s one of the hardest peaks to conquer due to unpredictable weather and slippery granite surfaces. The trail was interesting and full of surprises and though it appeared quite safe, Yuliya discovered that it wasn’t. Even though she anticipated a two hour hike, the beauty of the landscape inspired her to stop often to take in the view. She listened to the condors scream overhead. She breathed in the crisp mountainous landscape. She discovered a hidden trail leading off the main path and to an overlook revealing a view of Rio de los Vueltas or the “river of comebacks.”

Photo credit Yuliya Krivosheeva

For Yuliya, visiting Patagonia was like visiting another planet - a planet that everyone could afford to visit: retired couples, photographers, adventurers, and solo girls like her who were madly in love with South America.

April 20, 2016

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