….is everywhere in Patagonia.
You find it falling as rain and snow, sitting on the ground as snow and ice, moving slowly as glaciers, calving off from glaciers, lapping as lakes and lagoons, floating as icebergs, and flowing as streams, creeks, rivers and waterfalls. Oh, and splattering on your boots and pant legs as mud!
And in most places, you can simply dip your water bottle in and drink it straight without fear of contamination. It is simply cold and delicious! You wouldn’t dare do this in any national park in the U.S., that’s for sure. It says something about how remote this area is, not so much as measured by miles, but as measured by the relatively small presence of people, as well as animals. The land is just not that hospitable. There is something truly “elemental” about being in a place where water is that pure!
Some people are ocean people. Some are lake people. Myself, I’m a creek/waterfall person. I can sit for hours by fast-moving water, tuned into the sounds and vibrations. And I stand up and dance with it, flow with it, ride over and through it, and dissolve into it. One of the highlights of my trip was the day I spent mostly by myself at the base of this gushing waterfall, and then clambering up the mountainside, stopping at several viewpoints (very precarious!) before reaching the fast-moving creek that is its source.
Paul and I also were given the opportunity to kayak around icebergs and up to the face of a glacier. We were outfitted in wetsuits and going through the safety briefing when the outfitter cancelled the trip due to the high winds.
We were bummed! But our guide then gave us the detailed story of how the founder of the company North Face and Esprit Clothing, Doug Tompkins, died in 2015 when his kayak overturned in suddenly high winds at a different lake but not far from where we were. This put our cancellation in perspective, and I was glad to be playing it safe. The consolation prize was to go out in an open motorboat and see the ice up close. That in itself was a treat!
At a different location, busloads of people come to walk along a long series of metal boardwalks to view the slowly receding edge of the Moreno Glacier. Actually, they don’t just come to view it—they come to hear it. Every few minutes or so, there is a loud crack and sound of thunder, followed by a great splash. Mostly small, but occasionally some pretty large pieces of the glacier fall into the lake. Lots of oooo’s and ohhhh’s from the crowds (in Spanish, of course!).