The visits made on a long haul trip or even on a holiday are often treasured for being unique experiences. But what about if you visit them again? Is it really necessary, or could it even be boring? We crossed back into Argentina and headed back to Glacier National Park (GNP) for an ice-trek, so we now have a take on those questions.
Hielo y Aventura (Ice and Adventure) mini-trek bought us back here and it was to be Maxine’s first time using crampons! Crampons have spikes on the bottom, which you push into the ground as you step so your foot can grip. Some parts of the glacier move quickly and are unstable, but other areas are safer – for trekking.
When we got there, it was a bit like entering a scene of the Ice Age animation, except there weren’t any funny animals. We were surrounded by ice in every direction and it was incredibly surreal. We even sampled ancient glacier water from a melting ice pond, which tasted cool and fresh.
Towards the end, the guides offered up some whisky on the glacier rocks! There was even dancing on the ice in crampons after that. It was the first time we’d partied in years!
Back to El Chaltén
Despite it being a bit of a drive, we couldn’t help but drive up again to El Chaltén whilst still in Argentina. It was a clear day and felt as if we’d been swallowed up by the shades of blue mountains when we arrived there.
We were carrying a group of four Chilean hitchhikers in the back, who’d left their seasonal jobs in Torres del Paine, Chile. They were heading to El Chaltén, for the first time ever. One of them was holding up an old book, leafed open on the page of the Fitz Roy mountain range. Pointing to each of the summits gleaming before us, he couldn’t stop smiling at this spectacular vista and nor could we.
To answer the original questions, it was worth going back to GNP for the second time, it wasn’t boring – we danced on ice! We actually got more out of it than was expected.
We managed to get tickets to the Hielo y Aventura mini-trek the day before we went. We went to their shop in El Calafate around 5pm and were lucky that there had been some cancellations for the following morning.
Entrance to the National Park is a separate fee and must be paid on entry. For, those with their own vehicle, leave with good time from El Calafate (journey time 1hr), there is parking right near where the catamaran leaves inside the National Park.
We did the mini-trek in April and it was worth taking gloves and a short sleeved top for weather changes. Despite using crampons, there are no ‘big’ hikes involved and everything is easy.