Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Glaciers part 2

(Puts on big sunglasses)

Laughing like children
Living like llamas
Rolling like thunder
Under the covers.
(Although, after opening the window and vigorously fanning with my towel Maho came to and I was able to apologise profusely for my indiscretion.)

Today we _walked_ to a glacier. No horses involved except to be seen at long range.
I still threw rocks at them though.

Well, actually Maho was still feeling poorly from some random bug, so she didn´t quite make it to the glacier. This allowed me to explore it in an overtly manly fashion.

This was a different glacier to the horsey one. There was buttloads more vegetation for a start. We started off climbing fairly briskly up onto the ridge. When the ridge levelled off after an hour we were on a high level valley. Birds, birds, bees, wasps, butteflies, many flowers. Also an icecold bog that Maho found all by herself.
There were countless lizards.
"I´ve seen 37 lizards!" exclaimed Maho.
She´s allergic to bees, you know..
"38!"

We got to the lake which had a free campsite and two dead mice. The lake was a fair size and refreshingly cool when I dunked my head into it. I disturbed a bunch of waterboatmen and a shrimplike bug thingy.
Maho found a frog. A short while later we saw another two.
They simply have to be remnant fauna from before the mountains were fully raised. There is no way that waterboatmen, let along frogs, could have crossed the intervening dessert landscape, climbed the scree slopes and then jumped into the lake. The streams are also very swift and steep.

I soldiered on intrepidly, having divy-ed up the water so Maho wouldn´t die on the way back.
The path became less firm, and soil gave way to sharply broken rock. On my left I saw a bridgelike rock carve by wind or water. Then I arrived at the glacier.
It sat there like a fractured plug between two peaks. There was a sloping icefield below it and then a scree slop all the way down to where I was.
I had a second look and discovered the scree slope sat ontop of ice!
There were two tunnels into the ice, one with a small stream flowing from it, the other the main river. I didn´t have a torch but I gamely went into the one that wouldn´t sweep me to my death. I only had to stoop a little.
But then again, I am Batman.

On the way back I was buzzed by black and white humming birds. And then saw a few more species of birds I didn´t encounter on the way up.
I checked out that rock bridge. It was ice too.

I stopped in at the parks office at the start of the trail and had a pretty good conversation in Spanglish with the guide there. He was very enthusiastic and showed me from where the glacier had retreated twenty years before. That explained the isolated ice bridge. We discussed the fauna and compared it to the Australian stuff. It was quite useful knowing some of the Latin names.
All lizards are called íguana´in Chile even if they would be skinks or dragons in Australia.
One looked familiar.
"Varanid." he said.
"Ah! In Australia tengo (we have) muy grande (very big) ones called Goanna."
He knew about goannas. He showed me some other posters when I asked him about the rana we had seen.
"Bufo" he said and pointed at the toad whose name I can´t remember now.

Anyway, it was totally cool, I gave it 9 out of 10.

Back at the Naughty Boys we met a Spanish couple who were doing six months at the University of Santiago. She was hot.
We played cards, spoke Spanglish and drank beer.
I was able to tell Artur to take a torch with him when he went to the glacier the next morning.

Baños Morales is a sleepy town that runs on generators. Even then they only come on for short periods. On the first night Carlo gave us a lighted candle. I eventually got our misshappen door to shut, where upon Maho dropped the candle and extinguished it.

"Carlo! How do you say ´spazmo´in Spanish?"

1 comment:

Pippilicious said...

PHOTOS! Give us photos, you wretch!