From Park National Patagonia, we crossed back into Argentina via Paso Roballos, a rather remote border but passing through beautiful, hilly, countryside.
Our primary stop after the border was La Cueva de las Manos. These are caves in a striking canyon, where nomadic hunters, some 9,000+ years ago, spent part of their year hunting guanaco. The ancient hand prints and hunting scenes, highlighted by dye, were created over multiple generations. The hand with six fingers was the achievement of in-breeding. The prints are amazing and look fresh despite being thousands of years old.
We traveled on towards El Chaltén, passing Lago Viedma and taking in the views of the Fitz Roy Mountain Range and the edges of the the Campo de Hielo Sur (mountains, ice, glaciers) in the Parque Nacional los Glaciares. We had lunch in El Chaltén, before moving 15km from town to camp on the river. A beautiful location/campsite, but a little too remote.
Rachel switched to Christmas mode and had an arts 'n crafts session, producing the 'Xmas tree' with the use of a wine bottle, a Frizzle fairy and Dorothy's shoes - thank-you Di!
The next morning we took a walk El Pilar to a viewpoint of Laguna Piedras Blancas glacier and the Fitz Roy range. A fantastic walk but, as we reached the mirador at the end, we were given our first blast of the Patagonian winds - out in the open it was hard to stand steady.
We headed to El Chaltén for supplies and a camp spot, finding Okan, Donna & Indigo and the perfect spot to enjoy Christmas.
Christmas Eve, the ladies went hiking to Laguna Capri, whilst I pre-cooked Christmas dinner (main course) and Okan entertained Indigo. Rachel returned to make the Christmas Crackers (non-crack) from kitchen-roll tubes and tissue paper, followed by a sherry'ish trifle and mince pies.
The almost constant wind decided to take a break and luckily that held for the next few days.
Christmas Day arrived and pressies were exchanged - home baked biscuits from Indigo. Fish-shaped for me - most appropriate and tree-shaped for Rachel. After breakfast we all headed up the mountain to the Mirador Cerro Torre and had fantastic views of the Fitz Roy peaks.
Dinner was out in the sunshine with views of cliffs and mountain peaks. We had a wonderful dinner with Donna, Okan and Indigo, Christine and Mark (from Canada) and a rather hardy Scottish cyclist, Stephen Boyd, who was talking a break before facing the strong winds and heading north.
Two days later we were back on the road south to El Calafate and after a brief delay (a bolt in the tyre), we drove out to camp in the National Park where we celebrated Rachel's birthday - van-cured salmon, tagliatelle and ragu and a lovely birthday cake, complete with candles - courtesy of Donna and Indigo .... and despite arriving with no fire-wood, a huge campfire, from odds and ends and one tree trunk, pillaged from previous campfires.
In the morning we drove into the Park to see the Perito Moreno. The drive through the valley was fantastic. We then took a walkway to the face of the glacier. Being up close to a calving glacier is a special sight. The glacier is about 3 miles across and, above the waterline, the glacier face is up to 70 metres high.