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In the El Calafate Balcony

   
 Estimated reading time: 2 min. Texts Photos Marcelo Sola Texts Photos Marcelo Sola
4x4 Vehicle Excursion to Balcón de El Calafate

We climbed on a 4 x 4 vehicle up to a panoramic vantage point. On the top, we found a new sight of El Calafate and its outskirts.

It is nap time and everything is calmness in the city of glaciers. A 4 x 4 vehicle leads us uphill along a winding road. We are heading for el Balcón de El Calafate, where we are promised an unforgettable view.
We leave civilization behind and drive across a land hardly ever crossed by motor vehicles. Without hesitation, the guide activates the double drive of the sports car to get to the top of Mount Huyliche.
Slowly but steadily, we went on towards the West, going up along what used to be a glacier and sea bed.
4x4 Vehicle Excursion to Balcón de El Calafate
We feel somewhat uneasy in the presence of rocks spread all through the area. “They are erratic blocks and sedimentary formations of more than 80 million years of age” explains the driver.
As we climb, the panoramic view is enlarged and smartly catches our attention. We get to understand the size of Lake Argentino, including the Northern and Southern arms.
The off-road vehicle rides on cross-country. The Patagonian wind plays its tricks and seems to comb the steppe towards only one side. I ask the driver to stop. I cannot resist the temptation of walking across that fidgety sea of thorny pastures.
4x4 Vehicle Excursion to Balcón de El Calafate
We soon reach the balcony itself. We turn off the engine and get down to the inhospitable scenery. From there, the source of the Perito Moreno Glacier and the peaks of Mounts Chaltén -3,375 m high- and Torre – 3,128 m- can be seen. On the right, we find the Santa Cruz River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean, after crossing more than 300 kilometers. Downhill, the city of El Calafate looks like a model. The movement of its cars and the people resemble a movie played in slow motion.
4x4 Vehicle Excursion to Balcón de El Calafate
A dark spot in the vastness of the clear sky gets bigger and bigger. It turns around us with its wings spread open. We step on the silhouette of its shade stamped on the ground of the desolate landscape. It hovers boldly in the empty firmament. It knows we are watching and that is why it flies away never to return.
The wind again, unquestionable sovereign of these latitudes, forces us to get in the truck.
4x4 Vehicle Excursion to Balcón de El Calafate
We go back. The descent is as amusing as the ascent. We reach a 30º slope and vertigo is breathed in the atmosphere.
As usual, the yearn to taste some mate is stronger than the frightening movements to which the truck was subject on the way back.
4x4 Vehicle Excursion to Balcón de El Calafate
Having found this new sight of the city of glaciers, I say good-bye to my trip companions. I watch them go away slowly, fleeing among the streets, getting lost like shadows in this little great city.
Useful Data
How to get here
The 4 x 4 truck picks up excursionists at the hotel where they are staying.
 
Timetables
Outings everyday at 10.00 am, 3.00 pm and at 6.00 pm. A minimum of 2 people is required to make an outing.
 
Recommendations
Wear a windbreaker, as the wind is strong in these latitudes.
 
Contact
Calafate Extremo
Av. del Libertador 1185 (9405) El Calafate - Santa Cruz - Argentina
Tel: +54 2902 49-1095  Cel: 15-569542  
e-mail
 
 
Inter Patagonia

Characteristics
Level of Difficulty
Medium.
Duration
3 hours.
Useful Data Useful Data



Location



The Detail

When descending the all-terrain vehicle, if you pay attention, you may find fossil remains of sea origin.
This is due to the fact that millions of years ago, before the Andes Mountain Range would rise, the tectonic plaques were under the sea. When the mountain range emerged, these plaques rised to the surface carrying the animal and vegetal life on the sea bed. Among the fossils, it is common to find shells, sea urchins, crustaceans and, if you are lucky, even a sand dollar.


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