Perito Moreno Argentina
Me: “Holy “S%&!”
My friends: “Holy “S$&!”
Everyone who has ever seen Perito Moreno: “Holy “S$&!”
Simply put, there are few words people are capable of saying once they step off the bus and appreciate the magnitude and sublimity of the Perito Moreno Glacier.
An hour and a half outside of El Calafate, this glacier is one of the most impressive natural settings in the world. It demands your unconditional attention and will make you forget whatever you were thinking about right before you see it. Even if you have the most annoyingly catchy song by Taylor Swift, One Direction, or Last Christmas by Wham stuck in your head, this glacier will remedy that affliction.
When you first see it, you cannot understand what you are looking at. It is so astronomically large and expansive that your brain, even with its billions of neurons, gives up on trying to comprehend what your eyes are relaying. The glacier literally eats the mountains behind it. Jagged ice peaks the size of building stick up like spiky hair covering the top of the glacier. From the front wall, which is 240 feet above the surface of the water, the river of ice extends back 19 miles! Underneath the surface of the water, the glacier is another 558 feet deep. Basically, there is an area the size of a large canyon that is miraculously full of frozen water.
This area of Patagonia is home to many glaciers, but none are as impressive and well known as Perito Moreno. All of the rivers, lakes and ice in this region comprise the world’s third largest supply of fresh water (behind Antarctica and Greenland). On average the glacier is 97 square miles and contracts and expands yearly. Furthermore, it is one of the only glaciers in the world that is currently growing and glaciologist cannot figure out how this is happening.
The glacier is not just visually stimulating but it is also extremely audible. Every few minutes an ice chunk will collapse and its echoes will boom from within the maze of peaks. If you’re lucky, you may see a portion of the outer wall collapse and cascade into the water. When I was there we took a boat tour around the wall. During the trip there was an explosive sound as a piece of ice the size of an apartment building gave way and created a massive wave that shook our boat, it was unreal.
If you have the time to visit Patagonia and find yourself in El Calafate, Perito Moreno is a must see. It is an experience that I will never forget and I definitely plan on returning.
P.S. One last piece of mind-blowing information: Somehow, in an act that seems to defy every physical law, the glacier grows from the middle!