On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter StringOnAStick.

My husband and I took an early spring (our fall) hiking trip this last October to the Patagonia region, hiking in both Argentina and Chile. We were blessed with remarkably good weather, something this area is definitely NOT known for; we just got lucky and had great views. Being early spring, it was less crowded than in the high season of December and January, so we had some snow and cool temperatures but it was great to see this area when it isn’t crowded.

Taken on 2018-10-01 00:00:00

outside El Chalten, Argentina

Our first day of hiking was from the remote location of El Chalten, walking into the National Park with our guide Pablo.

Taken on 2018-10-03 00:00:00

outside El Chalten, Argentina

The sharp spire in the center of the photo is Cerro Torre, with the glacier at it’s base flowing into the lake below us.

Taken on 2018-10-05 00:00:00

Perito Moreno glacier, Chile

Ever wondered what the base of a glacier looks like? It looks like this, blue to ultra blue. This is the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the few in the world that isn’t shrinking and is actually growing in size. At this point you could walk into an open area right above the lake it feeds into and look right at this surface. This glacier flows out into a lake that it occasionally cuts in half by advancing quickly enough to split the lake in two. I think I recall that the last time in did this was in 1991.

Taken on 2018-10-05 00:00:00

Patagonia, Chile

As we were being driven into the park to start our 5 day trek, we stopped at a lake to look at the rather typical weather, and this condor gifted us with a fly by. These are all iPhone photos and this is the best I got of a condor in the whole trip. One time I counted 8 condors in the air at once, but alas they didn’t photograph all that well so I keep the photo in my memory instead.

Taken on 2018-10-07 00:00:00

Lago Grey, Chile

At the end of our 5 day trek, we grabbed a ferry from the rocky shore and were given a tour of the two lobes of the icefield that drop down into Grey Lake. This side of the Andes certainly had more rough weather than the Argentinian side but we were spared (mostly) the terrific winds this area is famous for. As we rode away on the ferry, I got a bit teary-eyed; this area is so gorgeous and wild that I just didn’t want to leave.


Thank you so much StringOnAStick, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


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23 replies
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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Cerro Torre…

    If’ns anyone is interested, Eric Crouch’s Enduring Patagonia is a great read.

    Patagonia is a strange and terrifying place, a vast tract of land shared by Argentina and Chile where the violent weather spawned over the southern Pacific charges through the Andes with gale-force winds, roaring clouds, and stinging snow. Squarely athwart the latitudes known to sailors as the roaring forties and furious fifties, Patagonia is a land trapped between angry torrents of sea and sky, a place that has fascinated explorers and writers for centuries.
    Yet even today, the Patagonian Andes remain mysterious and remote, a place where horrible storms and ruthless landscapes discourage all but the most devoted pilgrims from paying tribute to the daunting and dangerous peaks.

    Gregory Crouch is one such pilgrim. In seven expeditions to this windswept edge of the Southern Hemisphere, he has braved weather, gravity, fear, and doubt to try himself in the alpine crucible of Patagonia. Crouch has had several notable successes, including the first winter ascent of the legendary Cerro Torre’s West Face, to go along with his many spectacular failures. In language both stirring and lyrical, he evokes the perils of every handhold, perils that illustrate the crucial balance between physical danger and mental agility that allows for the most important part of any climb, which is not reaching the summit, but getting down alive.

    Well done StringOnAStick. I’m not a climber but I always wanted to go to Patagonia.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:


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    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m glad that you included the link, because although I found the pictures beautiful, they left me feeling unsettled.

  6. 6
    eclare says:

    What a trip!

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    Baud says:

    Pretty adventurous.

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    HinTN says:

    The contrast in those first two shots made me think of Billin’s IR work, but I’m surmising that’s just the way it is there, which is to say beautiful. Thank you for sharing and congrats on the lucky draw of weather.

    PS: The blue glacier shot just captivated me.

  9. 9
    p.a. says:

    Second all the above. How busy is the busy season? Can’t be much infrastructure support, correct? Most visitors S. Americans?

  10. 10
    debbie says:


    Also Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia.

    Is that third photo taken at an angle?

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    satby says:

    It must have been a fantastic adventure, StringOnAStick! Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing them.

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    arrieve says:

    Wonderful pictures — thanks for sharing! It’s on my list…..

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    JeanneT says:

    Amazing landscapes! Thank you for posting them.

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    Gin & Tonic says:

    Wonderful. We were in El Chalten in January and the Torres del Paine were, unfortunately, partially cloud-covered. Spent five days in El Calafate and six in the Bariloche area, driving the Ruta de los Siete Lagos. Trekking was not in the cards because of my wife’s knees, but it was spectacular nonetheless. I’ll try to get some photos up next week.

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    Gin & Tonic says:

    @p.a.: There’s lots of nothing in Patagonia. El Chalten is a tiny little town, El Calafate (where Perito Moreno is) is a little larger, but it’s nearly a 3-hour drive between them, with lots of nothing in between. But the parks are well-maintained and ecologically sound, and the process for getting climbing permits, trekking in the backcountry, etc. is pretty rigorous. And yes, most of the tourists are South Americans on their summer vacation.

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    stinger says:

    I’m personally drawn to more domesticated landscapes, but it is great to visit Patagonia photographically! Thanks for these beautiful pictures!

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    J R in WV says:

    Just WOW !!! An amazing adventure, you guys inspire me to book something, quick!

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    susanna says:

    These are majestic. I’ve never been to a remote landscape such as this and likely never will, as age keeps reminding me of limits.

    The last picture captivated me. It’s beauty is haunting and gives a picture to the yearning for solitude, reflection and receiving what only nature can provide.

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    Miss Bianca says:

    Very cool. Hope your PT is going well, and you didn’t get blown away by the snow cyclone!

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    rikyrah says:

    Been to the southern part of Chile. Been to Patagonia. It’s so beautiful.

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    sherparick says:

    Thank you Alain for this daily feature to the contributors. If one can’t travel, at least one can live vicariously.

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    StringOnAStick says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That is a great book, we read it before we went there. A lot has changed about climbing in Patagonia, mainly that now satellite based weather forecasts really help with the “try this multi day scary new route today or not”. A lot more routes get climbed there now for that reason alone.

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    StringOnAStick says:

    @Miss Bianca: I’ve managed to avoid booking any PT during the bomb cyclone, plus it was much worse east and south of here. Now the big melt begins!

    That trip and the 140 miles of hiking probably took a year off my bad knee then a back country ski trip in January took the rest. The doctor said there was a lot of arthritis in there, but it is gone now and now I just need to recover from the replacement surgery. Day 3 today!

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