Perito Moreno Glacier and A Jacket Review – Weekly Travel Photo

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

If you maintain a bucket list it’s time that you get out your pen and add hiking a glacier to it.  The experience is incredible. Of all the blues I’ve seen during my travels I think that glacial blue is, hands down, my favorite.  It’s also quite possibly my favorite color.  There’s just something so deep, so rich, so pure about it – it leaves you thirsty, yearning to swim in it, and to touch it all at once. It’s also a color you can only find in the wild, flowing along the surface, or out from a fissure in a glassier’s jagged surface.

This week’s photo is of adventurers hiking the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Patagonia region of Argentina.  Ringed by sheer cliff faces and cascading waterfalls the Perito Moreno Glacier is a hulking behemoth that slowly slides its way down towards a glacial lake with blue-gray waters that seem otherworldly and which change depending on the intensity of the light.  Opportunities to hike the glacier come in the form of short, and long excursions where intrepid visitors are strapped into harnesses before lashing their shoes to crampons and striding out onto the ice.

The only thing that was missing was the opportunity to explore one of the many ice caves that thread beneath the glacier.  But, I suppose that’s the perfect reason to return.

Peter Storm Jacket

Peter Storm Waterpoof Jacket – Product Review

The folks at Millets recently reached out to me and asked if I was interested in reviewing one of the jackets they have for sale.  After some discussion I gave them an outline of what I wanted.  A jacket that was waterproof, that was good in a mixture of different environments, that had some wind protection, and which also had excellent pockets.  I HATE how many of the jackets in this class lack usable pockets.  They are either too small, too far up on the body, or too shallow.  Another requirement was that it come in an intelligent color that was city-friendly.  Which ruled out watermelon pink, neon yellow and vomit green.

After getting the chance to try the jacket out for a month or so, I’m generally quite happy with it.  The pocket layout is excellent and exactly what I want in a jacket. The jacket itself is warm enough, does a good job repelling water, and can handle itself in the wind.  It’s a good jacket for good weather as well as mild bad weather. Exactly what I need as a backpacker. General build quality is good, and I feel like most of the jacket is built to last.  It has a well designed hood that stows away neatly and in a way that doesn’t disrupt the look and appeal of the jacket.  The jacket has underarm zippers, draw ties on the hood and other relevant places to reduce wind drag, and waterproofed zipper seams.

There are, however, two things about the jacket that people should be aware of.  The first is that they apparently run large.  The version I was provided with is a “large” which is what I normally wear. Keep in mind I’m 6’4″ and roughly 90kg with a 34 waist.  I almost went with an XL, and I’m really glad I didn’t. The cut of the jacket isn’t as fitted as I like and I feel that while I probably had to go with the large for arm length, body wise I’d have been happier with a medium.  This added size does make sense though if you anticipate wearing the jacket with bulky sweaters or run a bit thicker in the waist.     The second, which is my only real complaint about the jacket, is the quality of the main zipper.  While the pocket zippers are all high quality and seem durable, the primary zipper has taken a long time to break in, and doesn’t feel very robust. It’s always hard to judge the quality of a zipper, but in this case the teeth and zipper fit overall feels like the one weak spot in the jacket.

All in all, I’m very happy with the jacket and feel it is a solid piece of waterproof clothing.  It has already replaced my old REI jacket which had started to lose its waterproofing and failed to stand up to the wear and tear of my backpack straps.

You can find out more about the product on the Millets website.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

**The jacket reviewed in this post was provided as a complimentary sample by Millets Online for consideration.  My review of the jacket and its performance is independent and in no way influenced by Millets or Peter Storm. 

Glacial Summers – Weekly Travel Photo

Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

To this day I experience a strong longing to return to Argentina. It is, perhaps, one of the most over-looked destinations on earth when one considers the natural majesty, rich foods, and incredible experiences it provides. While many talk about and dream of a trip to New Zealand (I know I did) the central and southern parts of Argentina rest at the same latitude (if not further south) and are home to the equally impressive Southern Andes.

One of my favorite places in south-central Argentina is the Patagonia region and more specifically the Perito Moreno glacier. Situated in the midst of some of the most exotic barren desert you’ll find anywhere in the world, a 15 minute drive delivers you to incredible waterfalls, stunning glaciers, and mossy green forest.  The easiest point of access is by way of El Calafate: a rugged windswept town perched on the side of  a large glacially fed lake.  Added quirk? The town has seasonal flamingos that add even more rich color to the landscape.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon G11, I now shoot on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Perito Moreno Waterfalls – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

I love hiking near water.  I’m not sure if that love stems from early childhood when I was imprinted with wonderful memories while hiking along snow-melt fed streams in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, or results from having spent the majority of my life in the dry, dust-filled deserts of South-Central Arizona.  Regardless, the opportunity to hike next to/through/along/over rivers and waterfalls is always high on my priority list.  Thus, the chance to hike along and then out onto the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina was extremely appealing.  I signed up, geared up, and was off on a full-day hike.  What I didn’t expect, however, was to have the chance to hike along the base of a series of steep cliff faces decorated by rich, blooming vegetation and roaring waterfalls.  After all, when I think of Glaciers I think of snow and ice…not green vegetation and blooming flowers.  In the photo featured in today’s weekly travel photograph the glacier is immediately behind me.  The waterfall pictured flowed down across the path, before cascading over a swath of black rocks and then diving into a channel carved beneath the base of the glacier.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

Awe Inspiring Argentina – A Video Blog

Penguin Island in the Beagle Channel - Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

When I set out to explore Argentina over the course of a 21 day trip in December 2010 I was drawn by the stories I had heard of Buenos Aires. Stories of passion, romance, great food and tango dancing so sensual it would leave you with goose bumps. I expected Buenos Aires to be the highlight of my trip, and the place I’d fall in love with during my visit. The embarrassing truth is that the time I set aside for exploring the rest of the country was done almost as an after thought – an added bonus if you will.

Wow was I wrong. While Buenos Aires is an incredible city, the Argentina I fell in love with is the Argentina I experienced in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, and Misiones. These regions feature some of the most incredible scenery I’ve seen anywhere on the globe, but don’t take my word for it – here’s footage I shot featuring four of my favorite destinations:

1. Iguazu Falls (Misiones)

This somewhat difficult to reach series of falls is often ranked as the 2nd most impressive waterfall in the world just behind Victoria Falls in Africa. The falls are one of the few “must visit in your lifetime” destinations I suggest to everyone. As an added bonus, if you get lucky it’s sometimes possible to swim on a small beach along San Martin island. Cool right?

2. El Chalten & Mt. Fitz Roy (Patagonia)

The area around El Chalten is stunning. The colors of the rocks in the mountains give off rich colors while seeming to glow. The rock formations are mind boggling and the combination of exotically colored river water, glaciers, and rugged peaks will leave you awed.

3. Perito Moreno Glacier (Patagonia)

This massive glacier is located just a few miles outside of El Calafate. The clean whites and deep rich blues of this glacier are captivating. The towering mountains on either side humbling. The flowers in bloom and waterfalls flowing down and into the glacier amazing. When you visit, make sure to do a hike out onto the glacier. You won’t be disappointed!

4. The Beagle Channel (Tierra del Fuego)

Accessed through Ushuaia, the world’s most southern city and gateway to Antarctica, this video features a day trip out to a small island that serves as home to more than 4,000 penguins from two species. It also highlights spring in one of the world’s most southern locales.

7 Super Shots Photo Game

I recently had the pleasure of contributing a photo to the launch of Hostel Booker’s fun travel photo game which showcased 7 exciting travel photos across 7 categories from 7 different travel bloggers. Now, it’s time for me to dive into my archives and to pull out 7 photos before nominating 5 of my fellow bloggers!  Please enjoy, and let me know which is your personal favorite?

A photo that…takes my breath away

 

Plitvice Lakes Croatia

Located about halfway between Croatia’s Capital, Zagreb and the coastal town of Split is Plitvice Lakes National Park. I had the opportunity to visit the day before first snowfall and quickly fell in love. A UNESCO world heritage site, the area is easily one of Europe’s most beautiful national parks. While the main waterfall featured above was impressive, the 6-8 hour hike along the river as a whole was filled with incredible beauty.

A photo that…makes me laugh or smile

 

Penguin Island in the Beagle Channel - Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

I find penguins hilarious.  They’re odd, inquisitive, horribly awkward on land and generally fairly adorable.  Which is why  I can’t help but grin and chuckle every time I see this photo from a small island in the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.  Located just a few hundred miles north of Antarctica and in the world’s most southern continental region, Tierra del Fuego is a fascinating land full of amazing wonders and highly entertaining inhabitants.

A photo that…makes me dream

 

A Dog Resting Atop Sharkstooth

Taken in the summer of 2011 this shot is from the back side of Shark’s Tooth Pass in southwestern Colorado deep within the San Juan Mountain Range. Every time I see this photo i’m reminded to dream of new adventures, of new accomplishments, and to close my eyes and remember the wonderful adventures already experienced.

A photo that…makes me think

 

Cherry Blossoms & the Tidal Basin - Washington D.C.

The FDR monument in Washington, DC is one of my favorite monuments in the world. It is powerful, compelling and offers amazing quotes based in great wisdom. I snapped this shot of a random woman in front of one of the quotes during a visit in April 2011.  It always causes me to pause and ask myself – what have I done to help those who need it today?

A photo that…makes my mouth water

Outdoor Market in Dublin - Food

Outdoor markets are one of the things I love most about traveling outside of the US. During a recent visit to Dublin I swung by a wonderful little market square located just outside the heart of Temple Bar. Once I stumbled upon this booth I couldn’t help by sample several of the wildly different offerings – each of which had a strong, delightful taste the memory of which makes my mouth water to this day.

A photo that…tells a story

Warehouse Row in the Old Harbor - Bergen, Norway

One of the things I love about travel is the opportunity to stumble upon delightful moments that capture the imagination and tie into our inner self. It can be a reminder of our childhood curiosity, simple delight in every-day things, or a sense of wonder at things we would otherwise be blind to. During a trip to Bergen, Norway I was lucky enough to have my camera out during one of these moments as a young boy wandered away from his parents to boldly march up to a doorway that had piqued his curiosity. For me, this shot embodies my perpetual re-connection with my inner child while on the road.

A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

There’s something about this photo that just moves me. It is of a random photographer in-front of the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Patagonia region of Argentina after an all-day glacier trek. Despite being snowed and rained upon for most of the trek the clouds lifted and the rains paused long enough for me to capture this special moment. In particular I like how it conveys that sense of wonder that strikes from time to time – causing even the most committed photographer to lower their camera, pause, and take in the wonderful beauty that surrounds them.

Join the Game

1. Choose 7 of your own photos, one for each of the following categories:

  • A photo that…takes my breath away
  • A photo that…makes me laugh or smile
  • A photo that…makes me dream
  • A photo that…makes me think
  • A photo that…makes my mouth water
  • A photo that…tells a story
  • A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)

2. Write a short description for each image.
3. Write somewhere in your blog post: ‘I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots‘.
4. Tell us you have participated and tweet the hashtag #7SuperShots
5. Nominate 5 other bloggers by including a link to their blog in your post.
We will be retweeting and sharing the best posts from participating bloggers.

Nominations

I would love to see the fantastic photos the following bloggers come up with, so to each of the following I nominate YOU to post your own 7 Super Shots.

Head on over and see the 7 Super Shots guidelines post which features a number of fantastic photos.

Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo – Perito Moreno Glacier

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

Located in the heart of southern Patagonia in Argentina the Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few glaciers in the world which is currently growing. Perito Moreno is part of Los Glaciares National Park in the Santa Cruz Province. Unlike many of its siblings which are covered in a thick layer of black dirt Perito Moreno tends to be a fairly clean glacier. This means easy access to beautiful white glacial ridges and the chance to see the deep blues of glacial ice that is at times thousands of years old. The glacier is approximately 19 miles long, can be up to 550 feet deep, and has an average depth of around 240 feet. This Andes-fed glacier system is part of  the third largest fresh water reserve in the world.

I took this photo of the side of the glacier near its calving edge during an ice trek which wound up along the side of the glacier, past several waterfalls and finally out towards the center of the Perito Moreno. After pausing for lunch in a light snow storm we worked our way back down towards the glacier’s leading edge.  The entire experience was stunning.

To view previous posts in the Friday Week Travel Photo Series click here.

Diving In Feet First – 36 Traveling Boot Photos From Around the World

It’s Thanksgiving back home, probably my favorite holiday of the year.  It’s a holiday about people, about coming together, and about taking a moment to focus on all that is positive in our lives. The people, the opportunities, the friends, the family, and yes, even the challenges.  As I reflect on what I’m thankful for travel comes to mind as a major aspect of my life and a true blessing.  In honor of that, I’ve put together this photo post showcasing some of my favorite signature boot shots from around the world.  If you enjoy these shots, feel free to check out the complete album over on flickr.

Mount Fitz Roy Boots

Mt. Fitz Roy near El Chalten, Argentina

Smoo_Cliffs_Scotland

Smoo Cliffs, Northern Scotland
Grand Canyon at Sunset - Boots
The Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States

Boots in Washington D.C.

The National Monument and Jefferson Monument in Washington D.C., United States

Caving in Budapest

Caving in Budapest, Hungary

Tierra del Fuego Boots

Penguins in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Copenhagen, The New Harbor, Denmark

Nyhavn Harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark

Shark's Tooth Colorado Boots

Sharkstooth in the San Juan Mountains Colorado, United States

Tulum - Flip Flop Shot

Tulum Beach, Mexico

Loch_Ness_Scotland

Loch Ness, Scotland

Arizona Desert - Boots

Painted Desert in Arizona, United States

Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley - Fin Shot

Swimming with Sharks, Belize

Mount Fitz Roy Boots

Patagonia, Argentina

Preikestolen, Norway

Preikestolen, Norway

Tikal - Boot Shot

Tikal Ruins, Guatemala

Bergen - The Old Warehouse District

Warehouse District in Bergen, Norway
Giants_Causeway_N_Ireland
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Stave Church, Oslo, Norway

Wooden Stave Church in Oslo, Norway
Iguazu Boots
Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Belize Barrier Reef - Foot Shot

Great Barrier Reef, Belize

Cadiz_Spain_Exploding_Waves

The Old Fortress in Cadiz, Spain

Guejar_Sierra_Navadas_Granda_Spain

Guejar in the Sierra Navadas Near Granada, Spain

Scotland_Highland_Lake

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Over the Edge - Preikestolen, Norway

Preikestolen, the Preacher’s Pulpit, Norway

Perito Moreno Boots

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Playa del Carmen - Sunrise Boot Shot

Sunrise at Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Tikal - Boot Shot

Mayan Pyramids in Tikal, Guatemala

Chichen Itza - Boots Shot

Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins, Mexico

Shark's Tooth Colorado Boots

San Juan Mountains in Colorado, United States

Actun Tunichil Muknal - Boot Shot

Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize

Cliffs_Edge_Orkney_Isles

Orkney Islands, Scotland

Perito Moreno Boots

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Norway - The Fjord

Waterfalls in the Fjords, Norway

Belize Barrier Reef - Foot Shot

En-route to Tobacco Caye, Belize

Bergen from Above, Norway

Bergen From Above, Norway

Tierra del Fuego Boots

Sunset in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

The world is a wonderful place and travel a spectacular gift.  If you’re already a veteran traveler, then I hope you’ll pause for a moment and reflect on all the gifts you’ve received from travel.  If you’re just gearing up for your first trip, then I encourage you to dive in and have to admit, I’m slightly jealous of the journal of self discovery, awe, adventure, and new experiences you’re about to undertake.   The majority of the photos in this post were taken on my Canon G11, though some shots were taken on my older Canon G6.

**This post was made possible in part by our travel partner Good 2 Go offering international travel insurance.

Christmas Eve and Buenos Aires Bound

Valley Near El Chalten - Patagonia, Argentina

After a refreshing nap we washed up and slowly de-frosted our bodies. Then it was time to undertake our next herculean undertaking. Dinner. As I mentioned in a previous post it was Christmas Eve which tends to be the day Argentinians focus most of their Christmas celebrations on.  As a result, we were somewhat concerned that most things would be closed. Unfortunately, not only were we right, but we had failed to prepare properly for it earlier in the day. We were completely without food, booze, or a clue as to who would be open and/or serving food.

El Chalten

The city of El Chalten (pictured in near entirety above) is pretty tiny. Luckily, it’s main business is tourism which meant that several of the local hotel restaurants were remaining open and serving Christmas dinner. Unfortunately for our backpacker budgets that also meant that they were running special Christmas dinner meals which started at about $30 and topped out at about $90 USD. Hoping to find something a bit more budget friendly we made our way up and down the town’s two main streets, fighting fierce winds and periodic rain before bumping into a Swiss woman.  She was traveling solo and in the midst of a similar search. We said hello, cracked a joke or two, complained about the weather and then invited her to join us. An invitation which she accepted eagerly.

Christmas Eve

Eventually we found our way to one of the town’s largest hostels which also harbored an attached restaurant.  While still fairly pricey, their dinner special looked good and was one of the cheapest in town. We quickly found a table in a corner and settled in for a flavorful meal washed down with wine, beer, and great company.  We’d conquered the mountain, survived the weather, had several memorable stories etched into our memories and found food and good companions on the road.

As we finished up our dinner and made our way back out into the wind-raked streets, we headed back towards our hostel.  En-route we found a small bar which was just starting to get going. Despite being exhausted from the day’s adventures and with bellies full of food pushing us towards a nap, we ordered another round and settled in to a booth where we continued to exchange stories and get to know the Swiss traveler better.

People often ask how I can travel on Christmas and typically assume that it must be a lonely thing to do. I chuckle as I’ve often found it to be the exact opposite. I’m not Christian so the holiday doesn’t have religious significance to me and a fairly similar sentiment seems to be shared by most of the other travelers on the road over the Christmas holiday.  So, for us it’s always about coming together, sharing food, stories, drink and companionship. I spent Christmas 2008 in Spain drinking champagne on the beach before partaking in a fantastic, vibrant, and lively hostel potluck which lasted late into the night.  I spent Christmas Eve 2009 having just arrived into a small Belizean port town after a 3 day 2 night sailing trip down their barrier reef. The evening was full of food, drink, live music and delightful conversation.  2010 was no different, as we sat in a vibrant room with three separate cultures represented. In many ways it’s like a driftwood masterpiece. We all come from different lives and backgrounds. Our route to that place and that time takes a wealth of forms, but when all of the pieces come together, the combination is perfect.

Eventually, exhausted, the other American and I decided to leave the Norwegian and Swiss girl to their flirting and strike back towards the hostel. With the wind to our back and each gust extending our steps by a good foot, we made it about half way before coming upon an incredible sight. The wind had blown loose a powerline which was laying in the street. Undaunted by the wind and obvious danger two of the locals had pulled up a cherry picker with a bucket and were in the midst of repairing the power line.  This despite gusting winds that threatened to dump the guy in the bucket on his head, or yank loose one of the other power lines. Electrocution and decapitation risk aside, it made for quite the sight.  One that I was eager to get as far away from as quickly as possible.  Preferably before someone got crushed to death, cut in half, or electrocuted.

El Calafate Airport - Patagonia, Argentina

The following morning I crawled out of bed, said my goodbyes and headed to the bus station for an early bus back to the El Calafate Airport. My stay in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia had been incredible. The people were delightful, the food delicious and the natural scenery some of the best I’ve ever experienced.

Eventually after running into a few issues with a LAN airways strike, and mis-communication, I paid my $4 airport special use tax, boarded a plane and was Buenos Aires bound.  Once there I’d spend two nights in the hostel I’d used during my previous visit before researching an overnight bus to the country’s far north to see the falls of Iguazu.