Patagonia Preparations

Patagonia Preparations

Looking apprehensive on the first leg of the journey,

Looking apprehensive on the first leg of the journey,

It took me two days to reach the Patagonian town of El Chalten, 14 hours transatlantic flight, a three-hour connecting flight, 4 hours on buses, trains and a taxi, plus a 22-hour layover sitting in Buenos Aires airport waiting for my connection. I could have spent that time in a hotel but with a flight at 7.00am, I didn’t want to risk sleeping late and missing my connection. Plus who wants to rely on a 5.00am taxi in a strange city.

Arriving in El Chalten with 49kg of luggage and no taxis to get from bus station to hotel required some careful baggage selection. My trusty Samsonite wheeled suitcase was invaluable as has been my somewhat unusual choice of backpack.

It's unusual but it works

It’s a little unusual but it works well for me

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 15.58.16

Highly adaptable with snowshoes, ice axes and tripod

The camera is secure in the barrel

The camera is secure in the barrel

As seems to be the case so often with me the first days of a trip tend to provide the best conditions, so much so that you tend to find yourself taking them for granted and assuming each and every day will be the same. So you perhaps squander that time until day three brings rain, winds and cloudy skies leaving you wishing you’d been wiser with your time. Unfortunately, I had little option but to spend my first days sorting out somewhere safe to leave my equipment.

On day two I managed to put down a deposit on a small house that I’ll rent from April 4th until November 1st. The plan is to spend as little time as possible in the house, but I need some sort of a base. Despite unfavorable weather conditions I’ve still managed to get out in the park. Each day I’ve re-hiked the old trails and also discovered some new areas that I’d previously overlooked during my 2011 and 2012 trips.

The town itself has undergone little change, there’s a new gas station, which I’m told, has yet to run out of fuel. There’s now a bank, which is a great relief particularly to the businesses in town. It’s also helpful to know that the ATM is less likely to run out of cash, as was the previously the case. Currently, the black market rate for the U.S dollar stands around 11-12 pesos to the dollar whereas the official rate is nearer to 8 pesos on the dollar. With a basic meal costing around 200 pesos, it’s a good thing to bring out U.S dollars as the savings soon mount up.

Wi-Fi here in El Chalten is particularly bad, to the point where it’s only possible to get a connection at a few times a day and even then it can, and often does drop out mid-email. Sending data other than email is all but impossible; with hope, it should improve in the winter when fewer people are around to use it.

For now, I’m unable to add any photographs despite having several ‘almost’ shots. I’ve seen more rainbows the last few days than in the last three years combined, sadly none with the mountain visible.

I’ll keep working on it.

Comments are closed.