Where We Be
El Chalten, Argentina
The Fitz Roy Range as seen from Mirador Fitz Roy, just an hour's hike from the trailhead
Wow wow wow! Mount Fitz Roy towers skyward, making for some jaw-dropping scenery
An ominous sign within the first hour -- a discarded boot that's seen its last hike (did the guy hop the rest of the way home?)
El Chalten (pop. 600) was slapped together in 1985
to stake Argentina's claim to this part of the Andes
and beat out Chile. It still has a ramshackle feel to
it. Most streets are unpaved (and unsigned) and
every third building is under construction, but this
only adds to its frontier charm. El Chalten serves
as the gateway to the jaw-dropping Fitz Roy Range,
the de facto trekking and mountain climbing capital
of Argentina.

We seem to have used up our allotment of good
weather; we had lots of wind and rain in El Chalten,
but that didn't keep us from getting out into the
mountains. The highlight was our 16-mile trek to
Laguna de los Tres, one of the premier hikes in the
area. In an hour we came to our first unobstructed
view of the Fitz Roy Massif. Wow wow wow! We
lucked out and saw it under mostly clear skies. The
incredible peaks and spires were uniformly dusted
with snow. It's no wonder Patagonia, Inc. uses this
range as its logo.

After a hard slog we reached the lake, only to be
greeted by the full force of the infamous
Patagonian winds. It felt like a giant's hand was
trying to push us off the mountain. Snow and sand
pelted us in the face. All right, already! We
descended in a snowstorm.
Braided river valley near the start of the hike
Delighted to have an actual view of the mountains on a mostly cloudy day
Yep, this is the trail -- a muddy mess in places, and we were wearing just sneakers
So far, so good -- but where to from here?
Pretty view looking down the valley as we climbed the final steep section to Laguna de los Tres
We m-m-m-made it! At the high point of the hike, with the lake just below.
Patagonia lived up to its reputation -- these were some of the strongest winds we've ever experienced
Robin gets pelted by sleet and sand (see the streak marks in the photo?)
Laguna de los Tres -- minus the towering mountains behind
We hunkered down waiting for the weather to clear but it only got worse
Desolate panorama near the summit of the hike
We made our way back down the mountain in a snow squall
The water was crystal clear and safe to drink
Safely down and back to more autumnal weather
Back in our quaint room at Nothofagus B&B in El Chalten
Relaxing at a pub after the hike
View of El Chalten from a nearby hillside
This is Argentina's youngest town -- slapped together in 1985 and still very much a work in progress
Signs of construction were everywhere -- come back in ten years and El Chalten will probably look completely different
The dining area at Nothofagus B&B
The town might be ramshackle but Nothofagus B&B was clean and sturdy
Robin at the top of "Condor Point" a short hike from town
We'll leave you with a final view of the magnificent Fitz Roy range
Scenery along the way to another lookout point at Mirador Torre