Articles tagged with "ice"

Valle de las Arenas

Valle de las Arenas

I’d been up the Valle de las Arenas before and it had been awesome. I’d wanted to go back for ages, and this weekend some friends were in the mood for a hike, so we decided to head up there.

It was incredibly different to my last trip. In late autumn, the valley was barren and we could drive a long way up it, so that we only had a couple of hours to hike to get to the glacier. Today we had to start from a lot further back, firstly because after a very rainy winter, the valley was still full of snow. And secondly because there was now a huge building site at the foot of the valley. There had just been a few portacabins there 18 months ago but now the road was blocked, and a sign said that cars needed permission to pass. We didn’t, so we parked and hiked up the valley from there. It was a fantastic hike in the thick snow.

Strava log


Over Antarctica

Over Antarctica

A friend who had flown from Sydney to Santiago had made me crazy with jealousy when she’d shown me photos of Antarctica taken from the plane. I was desperate to see it for myself. When I got the chance to go to Australia for a conference, I got lucky – we flew far enough south to be over the ice, and there were clear skies too.


Hike to Lago Grey

Hike to Lago Grey

We got straight out onto the trails. The W is the most popular trail in the park but we only had a few days, just enough time for a V only. We hiked out to Lago Grey and the Grey Glacier.

It was windy. It was unbelievably windy. We were lucky that most of the trail was quite sheltered, but on the open bits we could easily stand at 45 degree angles and not fall over. But the views over the lake were worth getting out onto the open bits for. I was wondering why on earth I hadn’t been back here since 2005.


Edinburgh

Edinburgh

I spent most of my time in London but also went to Edinburgh for a day. It was icy cold in the Royal Botanical Gardens.


Time for a holiday

Time for a holiday

I arrived in Chile at the end of September 2011 and by April 2012 I still hadn’t left. The last time I spent more than six months in one country, it was 1999. So even though this six months has been spent in a foreign country, I’ve still been getting ever itchier feet. But a nightmarish situation with a herniated disc meant that for a few of those months I could barely even leave the house let alone the country.

With the back situation easing a bit, and having just completed my first solo night shift at the observatory, I decided the time was right to hit the road again. I’d long fancied a trip to the Falklands, had started actually planning it a few weeks ago, and finally a week before I wanted to go, I booked the flight.

And what a flight it was. I came down from Paranal on Thursday, had Friday to get used to daylight again and pack, and then at 4am on Saturday I headed out into the streets to grab a taxi to the airport. I had a fun ride with a friendly driver who thought it was really funny that I was going to the Falklands. “There’s nothing there, right?”, he asked. True enough, I said, but I was in the mood for getting away from it all and I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. More or less my whole life these islands have been in the news every now and then, but I had no idea what they actually looked like, didn’t know anyone who’d been there, never met anyone from there.

The flight took off just as the dawn sky was beginning to brighten, and we had spectacular views of the country as the sun rose. As we got down to Patagonia the weather was amazing and the landscapes below were mindblowing. I’d been to some of those places, six years earlier, and looked down nostalgically on the Moreno Glacier and Torres del Paine.