Monday, June 24, 2013

 After Villa La Angostura, we traveled to Bariloche to hike up to Refugio Otto Meiling.  Nora had heard great things about this hike from her friend Theresa, who she'd met in Southern Patagonia. We decided we would make the trek with Nora's friends, Theresa and Mariela, starting from Pampa Linda at the base of Mount Tronador.  We began with ease, then ascended the mountain by switchbacks that took us higher and higher and made it much more difficult to hike with packs on our backs.  We  stopped occasionally, filling our bottles with stream water and removing or adding clothes as temperatures changed with the altitude. There were plenty of moments where we were able to stop and appreciate the scenery.  

Every now and then, we would hear a rumble from Tronador, aka "Thunderer",  due to the falling ice blocks from the glaciers that capped the top. As we hiked closer, our view of these glaciers became greater as the terrain changed from dirt to volcanic rock.  There were moments where my body became  paralyzed with fear. I could see how easy it would be to slip on a rock and tumble down below.  With the help of my hiking buddies, I pushed through it and we finally made it to the top.  

We unloaded our packs outside the refugio and went inside to claim our beds for the evening.  Single mattresses were lined side by side in the loft of the shelter. We unrolled our sleeping bags, changed our sweaty clothes, and hurried downstairs to get warm in the common room.  Some of us sipped on tea, and others on maté.  We were tired and our muscles were sore. It felt good to be finished for the day.

A perk of staying at the refugio was being able to eat dinner there. As we rested, a meal was being prepared, and as we waited, we made friends with some locals from Bariloche. We all played cards and joked around. I listened intently, trying to understand the Spanish being spoken. Finally, dinner was served and after an amazing meal, we celebrated Mariela's 40th birthday.  Nora and Theresa surprised her with cake and wine and we all joined in for singing "Feliz Cumpleaños".  It was a perfect evening, full of joy and laughter.

Before going to bed, I wanted to have a look at the stars.  The stars in Patagonia are like no other and I wanted to capture them with a photo. I took a step outside and zipped up my jacket.  The wind was fierce and cold and I knew I had to be quick. I tried my best to get a focus, but could barely keep my hands out long enough to focus perfectly.  I took three or four shots and ran back inside.  I was thankful to be warm again and needed sleep.  I crawled into my sleeping bag and fell asleep quickly.

The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, and explored the glacier before heading back down to Pampa Linda.  I had never been so close to a glacier, let alone touched one before, and took as many pictures as I could. 

The trek back down was much easier and we made it down quickly.  I felt like I could do anything and was ready for another amazing experience. 

Total miles: 36 RT

LOCATION: Mount Tronador, Argentina
DATE: March 2013


  1. WOW your pics are stunning and you are SO CUTE! i wanna go here not fair haha!

    1. Thanks Lisa! It was so much fun and one you should do!