Patagonia (as in the place, not the outdoor apparel store)

Okay, I admit, prior to booking my trip (on a whim), I had no idea what Patagonia was all about...except that I really like their outdoor wear, everything outside of the clothing store was lost on me.  I decided to come here, because I heard it was close to Antarctica, and I had time to kill, since I wasn't working.  And I like to hike, so the Patagonia place seemed like it might be good for me.  Fair warning, my kind of hiking and the Patagonia kind of trekking, aren't exactly the same thing.  I like to amble over 4 miles of flat land with a bottle of water to drink so I don't faint, in the moderate Los Angeles dry heat.  Patagonia's (the location not the brand) idea of a trek involves 14+ kilometer's of hiking trails, wild rapids and glaciers, where you may die if you don't bring enough water....what?  My first Patagonian hike was in El Chalten, and all I brought with me was my camera, my unicorn, Opal, and a few gluten free cookies I had gotten from my hotel in El Calafate.  I had a half liter of water.  My hike was over 20 miles long...20 MILES!  (you read that correctly).  In the end, my feet hurt, my shoulder's ached, I was starving and thirsty, but I did not die and my mind was blown by the sheer beauty of the Patagonian countryside.  The colors, the viewpoints, the vast open spaces.  I was rendered speechless by the beauty and wanted to spend all of my time outside just staring at all the prettiness that was around.

The glacier at El Calafate is breathtaking.  I took a boat out to get a closeup view of the glacier, the calving ice makes the most incredible thundering sound.  And the blue ice and water hasn't been edited, that is what it looks like.  So beautiful.

The glacier at El Calafate is breathtaking.  I took a boat out to get a closeup view of the glacier, the calving ice makes the most incredible thundering sound.  And the blue ice and water hasn't been edited, that is what it looks like.  So beautiful.

A random viewpoint from my long hike in El Chalten.  The glacial water is so fresh and clean, there were many people filling their water bottles from this stream.  

A random viewpoint from my long hike in El Chalten.  The glacial water is so fresh and clean, there were many people filling their water bottles from this stream.  

Another viewpoint on a hike in El Chalten, at points there were fields of wildflowers, but the deeper/higher altitude you got on the hike (and closer to a glacier) the more snowy it became.

Another viewpoint on a hike in El Chalten, at points there were fields of wildflowers, but the deeper/higher altitude you got on the hike (and closer to a glacier) the more snowy it became.

I visited a gaucho ranch to do some horseback riding.  The ranch was about 10 miles up that riverbed.  Between where I was standing to take this photo and the ranch, there was only one small campground, otherwise it was open land for miles and miles.  Simply gorgeous.

I visited a gaucho ranch to do some horseback riding.  The ranch was about 10 miles up that riverbed.  Between where I was standing to take this photo and the ranch, there was only one small campground, otherwise it was open land for miles and miles.  Simply gorgeous.