Big Ice

For the trek out onto the glacier, our party consisted of 21 hikers and 3 guides, which were split into two groups; we were the oldest hikers by about 25 years, but we had no trouble keeping up.

Here we are heading off onto the ice. We were normally at either the end or the beginning of the line so that I could take pictures without feeling like I was holding everybody up (the guides liked to keep us in tight formation in order to avoid losing anyone down a crevasse, a crack in the ice).

We crossed many crevasses, some of which were filled with water or ice.

They seemed bottomless.

Our goal was to hike to the very center of the glacier to an area that the guides called “the lagoon.” The two groups took different paths and after about an hour, we came upon the other group as they rested.

But we continued on, passing beautiful snow and ice formations along the way.

I especially liked this ice bridge:

Glacier ice is formed by compressed snow. Over the decades and centuries, successive snowfalls bury each other and the weight bears down, compacting the snow until it becomes so dense that it turns into ice. The denser the ice, the deeper blue it appears.

Water forms on top and along side the glacier and the glacial melt turns into streams that flow along the surface and below. We had to ford more than one stream…

…and we had to straddle more than one crevasse.

Somehow, the other group managed to skirt around us (probably while we stopped for lunch). You can see them up ahead in this photo.

We soon caught up, but they had beaten us to the lagoon.

There was plenty of room to share the view. Here we are at our destination. a three hour trek to the center of the Perito Moreno glacier ice field.

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