A GROUP JOURNAL
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2001:Miami to Buenos Aires
It looked like it was going to be a reality.After the past several weeks of agonizing over the economic collapse of Argentina and our safety in such a volatile situation, we were at the Miami airport and ready to fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina.All of my reading about Darwin and the history and culture of Argentina, as well as studying my Spanish was going to pay off, at least the reading.My Spanish was still a little shaky.
Most of our group members met each other at our gate while waiting for our departure.Some of us had met on our previous trip in July of 2000, but there were many new introductions to be made since our group was quite large this time.Our leader, Jim Reynolds, handed out our much-needed nametags, but they were in Spanish.How were we ever going to remember that a long Spanish name, not even close to resembling the English version, meant Sally in English? So many names and faces to remember!
Our flight was delayed about one-half hour, but we soon made our eight-hour journey to Buenos Aires.We were served both dinner and breakfast and slept restlessly in between.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2001:Log starts at midnight-Miami to Buenos Aires
It was after midnight when we finished supper on our American Airlines jumbo jet.I had the chicken and others around me had steak.The bite of fillet I tried tasted like chicken. Since this was my first time across the equator, I stayed awake until the flight monitor indicated that we had crossed.Now after a few hours of shut eye …and swollen feet, we woke to bright sunshine in the southeast.My first view out the window to the east began with thick clouds and occasional breaks allowing a view of the verdant green rainforest below.Soon we were following the valley of an enormous meandering river – the Rio Paraná, I think.Lots of lakes.
Breakfast on the plane was a foretaste of future South American breakfasts, this one consisting of a wet sandwich with ham.It was hard to work up an appetite.
Buenos Aires finally came into view.It is situated on an enormous estuary.It's on the southern side in Argentina, and north across the muddy water, we could see the coast of Uruguay.One of our tour guides said it is several hours to the nice beaches.Jim Reynolds told us that an interesting trip is a ferry ride over to Montevideo.The land is fertile here based on the amount of land under cultivation.It is called the Pampas.To the south is Patagonia, our destination, a much drier and windier part of Argentina.Many of the farms appear prosperous and a subdivision we flew over seems to have as many swimming pools as parts of Dallas, Texas.But the day was one of stark contrast, as we began to see the troubles in Argentina caused by the monetary crisis and pockets of poverty.
Customs was a breeze.I wondered if Don Triplehorn, from Fairbanks, had declared his intergalactic cellular telephone.At least they didn’t take it away from him.Well, we were tourists and they needed our U.S. dollars.The humidity greeted us warmly when we walked out to the bus.I was secretly amused looking at my dad with his two coats and a vest. He assured me that The Philippines was much hotter.The trip downtown took 30 minutes on freeway and tollway.The trip took us by many barrios and government “project” style housing complexes.Jim told me it is much worse in other places, although I saw none.
Many Argentine motorists were enjoying the warm afternoon, parking in the middle of the medians and beside the freeway on the greenbelts.
The downtown area is a mix of old and new.The Hotel Bristol where we checked in is on Ave. 9 de Julio, which runs north to south.I was disoriented because your shadow falls on your south side.The extremely wide boulevard has an obelisk like our Washington monument and is the gathering place for all demonstrations peaceful and violent.In the unrest only a few days earlier, a number of people had died in protests against the government.Graffiti and broken glass reflected anger at the IMF and the government.
We had time to unload in our nice, but stuffy, rooms before heading off to a five-course meal at La Estancia Restaurant.This was a wonderful time of getting acquainted.I could tell the group was melding well.The two Ericas joined up with the rest of us here, I think.Everyone started learning phrases like, vino tinto o blanco, agua con gas o sin gas, and café solo o con leche.
After lunch, Dad and I had fun looking for the Correo Argentina, or post office.($1.25 postage to the U.S).I began polishing rusty Spanish.Lots of fun.Lots ofpeople.The population is strongly Italian with many of Spanish descent, and most look very European.Many had blue or green eyes.The girls are pretty and dress to be noticed. The movie theaters were showing Harry Potter. The tropical humidity began to melt us and, later on, an afternoon shower washed us off during more shopping.Finally, we returned to the hotel to clean up for the Tango club – Carlos Gardel.
While waiting on the group to assemble, we sat around and looked at the geologic map of Argentina. (I’d like a copy of the Patagonia portion of that map, if possible).Out the window in the streets, a large noisy crowd began to assemble around 8 P.M.As it turned out, the crowd was celebrating a soccer victory and was happy.In fact, they were still celebrating well past one o’clock the next morning.Only a few days later, the third of eventually five total leaders of Argentina resigned amidst protests in front of our hotel again.We were lucky to miss all that.
Back to the Tango club.Excellent food.Excellent music and dance.The music consisted of a pianist, two accordions, two violinists (the lead was a young provocatively dressed woman), a cellist and a percussionist.Three different soloists sang and five dance couples.Tango is a national treasure and not only reflects the sensual side of life, but the tragic.The dances each seemed to tell a story.A wonderful evening was had by all.
…but of course there's always another point of view.
SCRIBE:Mark Nicolich--AA Flight 0909--Miami to Buenos Aires
We wake up about 1.5 hours outside of Buenos Aires, in the airplane.What excitement!Many of the group have gathered along the passageway to wait for the facilities – it’s been a long flight.We smile and nod and think about the upcoming adventure.Maybe it’s the rhythmic nodding, but almost in unison the group breaks out into the heart-inspiring song “Oh Patagonia, Land of Adventure” that Mel has written especially for our trip.It is very heart warming.After the first verse and chorus, many of the other passengers pick-up on the lyrics and join in.Joan A., as only Joan A. can do, speaks to the flight attendant, who speaks to the flight Capitan, who agrees to turn on the intercom so the whole plane can hear not only the group singing our hearts out, but also the flight crew (including the flight deck participants), and many of the other passengers.There were very few dry eyes for that time.A sign of the fellowship that was to follow.
After we calmed down and the attendants composed themselves, breakfast is served – an omelet with fresh asparagus, Roquefort cheese, and a dollop of caviar, an individual brioche, and a latte.It did make the discomfort of the trip a bit more bearable.I passed on having the complementary champagne so as not to dull my senses for the excitement ahead.
An uneventful landing, passport check and customs.There was a bit of humming of Mel’s song of welcome among the folks in queue.It was infectious and I enjoyed seeing the normally stern customs agents pick up the beat, almost without knowing it (shades of The Full Monty, the film not our Monte).We gathered our belongings and ourselves in the terminal and waited for the group to assemble then ventured outside.My, outside it is quite warm.The latitude is similar to Charleston, SC and the season would be the end of June.It is humid too.Don, with his sharp eyes and decisive manner, sees the bus that is to transport us on our adventures.Many of us marvel at his heightened perceptions and his calming demeanor – qualities that we would later need in out adventures.
We all pile into a bus.On the bus we meet up with Angel – our local guide and an old time friend of many.He has brought along his son, Raúl – a hardy fellow who was to prove a great boon to our adventures – but more of that to come.We have a rousing welcome and immediately and spontaneously burst into several lusty choruses of “It’s So Exciting to See You Again on the Bus, Old Friend!”Despite the high humidity there were many a damp eye as the echo of the voices died away.
The bus takes a quick 45-minute jaunt to the center of town.Ross has cleverly thought to bring a supply of cooling refreshments for us.So, on the journey our thirst is slaked with delightful blend of cantaloupe, papaya, and a melange of citrus fruits – all besprinkled with a dusting of cardamom and nutmeg.Quite refreshing.We arrive at the famed Hotel Bristol, 100 m from the Obelisk on the Avenue of July 9th.The street is one of the widest in the world - wider than Champes Elysees."It takes two traffic light cycles to cross the street.”It is really a wide street with several [check how many] grassy dividers.The Hotel is 4 (count them) stars!The towels aren't monogrammed; they have the name and logo of the hotel cut into the plush of the towel (Is there a name for this process or technique? - I'm sure there is.).As we arrive the hotel staff is at the bus to meet us and offer a relatively quick rendition of the four choruses of “Famed Bristol Hotel Song of Welcome.”We get our room assignments and have about 1 hour before lunch assembly at noon.We planned to unpack and rest.
Well, we got to the room and were nearly bowled over!The size of the room!Like a bowling alley (no just 1 lane, but the whole thing).Incredible!We’re not sure where to unpack our things.I decided to draw a map, like a treasure map, to know where my things and Ruth’s things were. To be sure it was done correctly, I borrowed the Triplehorn’s GPS and made an accurate map, to the nearest 1.0 meter, of what was packed where [The map is available on request.].It was a good thing too, because later when I went to look for my clean shirt and tie, I needed the map to determine their location.Unfortunately, by the time we unpacked and drew the map, it was time for lunch.We traipsed downstairs and met the crowd.
At 12:00 we meet in the lobby and walk a few blocks toward a restaurant that Angel has chosen.A block from the famed Bristol Hotel we come across what appears to be a geological dig directly on the Avenue of July 9th.The hole is large and deep.Gary and Bob Y. directly launch into a heated discussion and lecture pointing out some of the features of the dig.Bob points out how the left lateral fault has resulted in a protectoral fault formation whose mineralization zone has been exacerbated by the compression delineation.But wait, Gary points out how the subduction zone seen under the carboniferous zone has been poorly delineated in the direction of shear bolstering his contention that Wilson’s Conjecture on Chelated Minerals would totally account for the slight (1.2 deci-Gauss) change in the magnetic field strength.Bob retorts that Wilson noted in his 1998 lecture at Ohio State that his conjecture only applied to tectonic plates whose preferred orientation was not in contradistinction to the fault delineations of the contrariety plate.Just as Gary was about to retort, Beverly pointed out that the putative geological dig was in fact an Argentine size pot hole.Oh well, on to the restaurant.
We get to the restaurant; a large local place with may tables and several locals.Bob Osinski is called away by some officials.It seems the Minister of Finance is having some problems, and has been checking immigration files and has discovered Bob has entered the country.Bob is whisked away in a small flurry and spends the remainder of the day in an advisory capacity helping to straighten out some of Argentina’s difficulties (financial, transportation, romantic, and gaudien).As is clear from subsequent events, his advice on all these matters had fallen on deaf ears.The mood at the restaurant is somber for a few minutes, but our spirits are indomitable, and we carry on with the festivities.
The waiters bring us an opening empanada with some heated cheese.The empanada is stuffed with a mixture of Moroccan crab, Latvian abalone, and Italian truffle, which has some nice flavors, but the pastry is a little less flaky than we would like.Next a delightful cheese course and some sorbet to cleanse the palate.Next a local favorite, rolled beef, with an apricot puree drizzled over it and a lovely salad of wilted baby greens and arugula.The wine was served with each course, both red and white.The reds were mainly from Chateau Romorol, with the years in line with the course – the lighter 72’s with the cheese and the more hardy ’78 with the meat.The whites were a little pretentious, mostly Chateau Pissedechat from the Loire valley.The final course was your choice of either a piece of chicken or a full size steak.Too much food!
Based on a command decision from the Committee of Four (Jack & Jessie & Barney & Lee & Carol, who have been voted as the Oversight Committee that makes all the important group decisions – this was based on a complex mathematical algorithm developed by John to allow the greatest summand of intelligence in the fewest number of people) there is agreement that at each meal each of us would leave 1$ as a tip.As a corollary they have decided that wine would be settled on a meal-by-meal basis.However, we still have to deal with desert, either a fruit compote or a glace de chocolate.Quite droll.
As we are working our way among the tables to exit the restaurant, but before we can leave, a large black car has driven up and 3 large toughs in tight fitting black suits walk directly up to Monte and inform him he is needed at the Ministry of Information.He first asks why he was chosen from among all of us.The chilling look from the thugs leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind what they are thinking.Another question from Monte concerning his non-involvement policy results in a minor scuffle.As he is being brought to the car, Monte enigmatically calls out to us “It’s all propaganda, anyway you slice it.”We worry for some moments about Monte’s safety until Mary Emma points out the Bob O (remember him) will not be too far away.We have one more round of wine for its calming effects and find ourselves with a free afternoon in Buenos Aires.
Danielle and George decide to organize a union for the street beggars based on the Fagan Model.They begin just outside the restaurant and within 30 minutes have set-up a full organization with a president, vice-president, CEO, etc.Danielle is the CFO and calculates that, based on a mere 5% rake on the take (ROT), she and George will be able to easily finance the Patagonian trip – including the wine surcharges.With great flourish they spend the afternoon recruiting new members to their organization – The Union of Concerned Buenos Airean Mendicants, (which in Spanish forms the acronym - BANDITS).
We decide to do some work on Ruth’s book, so while the others are spending their time in various pursuits Ruth and Mark rent a moped.A nice, yellow, moped with saddlebags and a horn.Ruth’s book, to be published by a major publisher in the spring, is a photographic compendium of monuments – the tile is “Statues Whose Names Begin with T in the Capitol Cities of South America.”The title is simple and descriptive.With a great deal of persistence, she gets photographs of all 114 statues/monuments that fit the description.After the last one on our list (Theresa and Abelard), we sit under a tree in a park and decide to work our way back to the hotel.It is hot - about 32 C (90 F) and humid.We stop for am agua grande, then back to the hotel for a nap.We have no trouble finding the hotel, but do have some problems navigating around the room because we misplaced the map.We finally find the bed and get a few hours shut-eye.
We get up and shower and meet in the lobby at 8 P.M. for a trip to a Tango Club for dinner.The streets are awash with people in some sort of peaceful demonstration.The head manager informs us that we should not be alarmed, it is merely “the young people, celebrating the victory of one of the soccer clubs in the all-Argentine soccer tournament” – he opines that it is like the baseball world series or the US football Superbowl championship.Lots of flag waving and fireworks and singing and shouting.It is an orderly mob.They have gathered at the Obelisk, which is the center of town (like Times Square).All good fun.However, there was some apprehension among the people in the lobby because of the rioting that had happened the previous week and the rhythmic chanting.Monte, who has returned from The Ministry, unharmed but wiser, has a different interpretation.He confers with Grace, Mary, and Dale who have been surreptitiously blending with the crowd to discover their true mood – and their worst suspicions are confirmed.In addition to the Authorities knowing about Bob and Monte, the local power brokers have realized that Jim has again come into the country – now just in their time of need.The brokers have stirred up the local populace into a near frenzy to replace the current El Presidente with the Norte Americano, el Señor Doctor Jim!We listened more carefully and realized the chanting was “Queremos el Señor Doctor Jim - Queremos el Señor Doctor Jim - Queremos el Señor Doctor Jim.”Well, we knew we’d never get to the Tango Club with the crowed out there – as Robin would say “Holy Tippi Hedren, Batman!”Again, the quick thinking of out Oversight Committee and multifaceted talents of the group were put to good use.Using the tailoring talents of Joan B and the makeup artistry of the two Ericas they had Jim (aka el Señor Doctor Jim) in a disguise so clever that not even his own dog would sniff him out.Within a mere 15 minutes Jim was the prototypical Bedouin princess.He looked so natural and graceful that he would never garner a second glance from the crowd.So with great joy in our hearts we broke into 2 quick choruses of “If You Could See Him Now” and sallied forth to the waiting bus which whisked us through the chanting throngs (unaware that their sought-after hero was among them even as they called for his appearance).A short ride to the Club.
The club is a recreation (new) of an old club (Ciendo Cuarto?) that had existed and was home to a famous Tango singer Carlos Gardel.The menu was varied and fixed price.The food is good and the wine ok (not nearly as good as lunch).Very attentive staff that made sure there was enough bottled water and wine available.During the meal they showed a video of the history of Tango and a plug for the club.The video was very well done with historical photos, film clips, and audio.Angel gave each of us a piece of pottery from his home province as a gift - very thoughtful.Some people received water jugs, some plates, some masks.
Then the show began.A live band (piano, 2 violins, 2 bandonians, and a bass).They played well and loudly - amplified.Then the dancers - 4 pair - and the singers.There were 2 male and 1 female singers who only did solo parts.One of the males sort of impersonated Carlos Gardel in dress and singing style.He was very good.The female singer must have been the owner or the owner’s wife or relative - or maybe the band was angry at her and would not play in time with her singing.The dancing was spirited with many difficult maneuvers.But it was not very graceful - only technically demanding.Partway through one of the ensemble pieces Sally leapt on the stage and began to point out to one of the dance pairs how their passango de returnomedia gambas was not in the traditional style.She called her partner Greg to the stage and they gave a 4-minute demonstration of the proper technique.The dancers were politely attentive, the women in the red bouclé outfit pulled out a notebook (goodness knows where she was able to secret it while wearing that dress) and made a few notes as Sally and Greg demonstrated the proper tango technique.In the meantime, Peter was photographing the events, both the demonstration and the regular show.Emboldened by Sally and Greg, Peter climbed to the bandstand and took a series of photos from there.Some of the best shots he got were while standing behind the lead (as in principal, not the element) violin player.We all were amazed at his unsuspected grace in the way he landed on the dance floor after the violin player, who seemed to have tired of his clicking, flung him over her meaty shoulder and over the railing – her movements were quick and accurate, and she missed only 3 notes.
When they all got back at the table there was some berating between Sally and Greg concerning the use of tactile tango instruction as opposed to tactful tango instruction.Of course, Bob O. rose to the occasion and stepped in, as the great conciliator, and brought things back to normal.On With the Show!
There was one male dancer who was a bit older (60 to 70) with a young partner - they seem to have danced a lot together.Compared to the other dancers (excepting Sally & Greg) he was more reserved/less flashy and enjoyable to watch.
The show was over about midnight and as we were about to pile back into the busses we realized that Jim, who had shed his disguise, would surely be recognized by the demonstrating crowds that were now all over Buenos Aires.Again, Joan and the Ericas came to the fore and in short order, using Cristy’s grosgrain peasant dress ensemble, whipped up an Andalusian sheep farmer costume for Jim.We all awed with amazement in the transformation, and in one of the very few choral conflicts that we were to see on the remainder of the trip, about half of us broke into a hearty chorus of “Lady of Spain” while the remainder had spontaneously chosen the “We Like Sheep” aria from The Messiah (Schirmer Music, 1938 edition).Either way, when we finished the songs we entered the buses for an uneventful journey back to the hotel with our own sheep herder (ha-ha).The bus driver gets a little confused by the crowds and the dark and makes a wrong turn.We wander about for a few blocks until Chris notices the problem and using his unerring directional sense gets us back on “the right track.”We are all grateful, but are too tired to burst into song.
The celebration that was going on around the Obelisk had grown quite large and boisterous.It looked like everyone was having a good time - some drunk kids lying in the street, but mainly a lot of shouting, flag waving, chanting for their presidential choice, and fire works.All very well handled.Back in the lobby of the Bristol we all kissed and hugged and, in what was to become our nightly ritual at the hotels, all joined in for two lusty choruses of the “Goodnight Irene” duet from Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda.There was some question as to why there were so many sheep around.
We returned to our room, and thanks to Ruth’s idea of placing breadcrumbs, in the Hansel & Gretel manner, we had no trouble finding our bed in the vast stretches of the hotel room.She donned her 'kerchief, and I my cap, and we settled back for a well deserved sleep.We slowly drifted off to the crowd’s chants of “Queremos el Señor Doctor Jim - Queremos el Señor Doctor Jim - …”
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2001:Buenos Aires to Rio Gallegos
It was an effort to get up and ready for breakfast at 6:00 A.M.We're not quite used to the strong Argentine coffee, but if memory serves me well, it won't take long.In fact, I'm sure we will be begging for it before too much longer.We certainly need its jump-start in the mornings with our long days and late nights.
We were taken to the airport for the four-hour flight to Rio Gallegos, the capital of Santa Cruz province founded in 1885.It has a large military base, and after 1945, the city grew rapidly due to the transport from its port of coal and trade in wool and meat.
As we were landing, we noticed that all of the roofs were metal and in a variety of colors.Some of the houses looked like props for a Monopoly game.George informed us he had read that Rio Gallegos was the windiest city in the world.So far it wasn't that bad, and the temperature was much more pleasant than it had been in Buenos Aires.
Our bus swept us away to the Hotel de Santa Cruz.We were surprised to find such small accommodations with no room to spread out our things, especially since we would be spending two nights here.In fact, the bathroom door hit the sink, so wouldn't open fully.We didn't particularly like hearing that Greg and Sally more than likely were given the Presidential Suite.Sally said, "Oh, we've got plenty of room!"We may just have to toilet paper their room at some point.
After lunch of thinly breaded veal and potato salad, our intended destination was an estancia and then to the coast to view an old ship wreck.However, we got somewhat lost and never found the road to the ocean.We did see a small lake with numerous flamingos whose spread wings showed bright pink plumage.We also saw rheas, foxes, and hares, not to mention hundreds of sheep.About the rheas, Ross asked,"How do we know if they're heas or sheas?"
We passed by an estancia that was in the process of sheering sheep. There were numerous dismayed-looking sheep in the pens on other side of the road who had just lost their wool, and it looked like there were more than two bags full.In fact, there were about 100 clear plastic bags of freshly sheered wool stacked against the outbuilding.
On the return trip we were complaining about the curtains getting in the way of our views.Well, George came up with a great solution by using his paper luggage tag from his backpack and securing the curtains on our window with it.Joan B. was so impressed she started a campaign for all of us to gather similar items and secure all of the curtains.
Once we got the curtain situation taken care of, we were able to enjoy more animal sightings.Some of us drifted off for short naps, and soon realized why we were so tired.It was 9:00 P.M. and still light outside.The sun finally set a little after 10: P.M. and what a gorgeous sunset!
Just as we were nearing Rio Gallegos, we noticed huge clouds of black smoke billowing into the sky.Protestors had set tires on fire.Were we going to get into the midst of it after all?
It was about 10:30 P.M. by the time we reached our hotel.We made a quick trip to our rooms, then walked to The British Club for dinner.However, we found out that our reservations were for the following night.Jim made a quick decision to have pizza at the nearby restaurant called Super Quick. At first I thought it was a grocery store because of the name, but once inside we noticed other customers enjoying food.Our pizza and drinks were good and just right after a long day on the bus.Everyone was thankful that we didn't have to meet for breakfast until 8:00 A.M. the next day.It was almost 1:00 A.M. by the time we got to bed.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2001:Excursion to Cabo Virgenes
Morning Scribe:Cristy Brenner
After breakfast at Hotel Santa Cruz, we left Rio Gallegos and headed south on Highway One towards the penguin rookery at Cabo Virgenes.As we drove across the rolling hills of the Patagonian steppe, we saw numerous guanacos and rheas.For those who didn’t see my book on Patagonia, here are a few interesting facts about rheas:The male makes the nest and several different females may lay from two to four eggs.Some nests my have as many as forty eggs that the male incubates for forty days!The diet of rheas consists of grasses, seeds, fruit and insects.
I don’t have any “funnies” to report from our drive because I didn’t know that I was going to be scribe.We hadn’t signed up for our scribe duties yet, and I volunteered after the penguin tour. Since traveling to Antarctica last year, I am an admitted penguin addict and I had taken lots of notes, while most people were happily enjoying the wonderful experience of thousands of cute penguins and the beautiful weather.Here is a brief summary of my notes on the penguins:
·There are 500 thousand Magellanic penguins in this rookery.
·There are 16 species of penguins (one of my books states 18).
·These penguins are at the rookery from September until March.
·Males arrive first and spend two weeks renovating their nests from the previous year.
·The Cabo Virgenes penguins come from southern Brazil, and this is the only place where they come onto the land.
·They spend 80 percent of their time at sea.
·They mate for life and return to the same nest each year.
·Two eggs are laid that are incubated by both parents for 42 days.
·They grow until the end of February, when it takes three weeks for them to molt from their down feathers to waterproof feathers.
·Once the young go in the water, they are independent and migrate by themselves to Brazil.
·After the young leave, the adults feed on squid and sardines and then return to land for their three-week molt.
·The adults then leave and swim to Brazil to feed in the Brazil Current.
·Penguin predators include seagulls (eat eggs), and skuas and foxes (eat chicks).
·At sea, sharks, orca and sea lions eat the babies on their way to Brazil.
·The average Magellanic penguin life span is 14-16 years.
·They find a mate and nesting site at age four, lay one egg (usually infertile) at age five, and lay two fertile eggs at age 6.
·These penguins swim at 20 km/hr, dive down to 150 meters and can stay down for four minutes.
·Five thousand tourists visit the Cabo Virgenes Preserve each year.
Our penguin rookery hike was wonderful.The penguins were a bit more skittish than the ones in Antarctica, probably because people used to hunt them.My only regret was that the trail was a loop and I had planned to take most of my penguin photos on the way back to the bus.When we arrived back at the bus, lunch was ready, and it was time to head off to a new adventure and a new scribe.
Afternoon Scribe:Carol Shropshire
Following the visit to the penguin rookery, we had a lunch on the bus consisting of a large piece of chicken and one and one-half cups of cooked, unsalted potatoes and carrots which were dished up by Angel and Raúl.Waitress, Erica Palson, did the serving.
Customer, Monte, however was displeased that the women were being served first and an exchange of bantering ensued.Monty was heard to say after he got his meal, "This is the worst guanaco I have ever tasted!"
It was "potty time," and several women requested that the men relieve themselves outside the rear of the ranger station.That reduced the amount of time standing in line since the women could then use both bathrooms.Bev entertained the waiting lines by relating one of her wonderful stories.This time it was about restrooms of various countries she and Gary had visited.
At 4:14 P.M., we illegally entered Chile (no border guards).At this stop we were at the southern most tip of Argentina's mainland.
The group immediately spread out on the beach.The Erica's laid down on the sand for sunbathing (No one in North Dakota even takes off their gloves in December much less sunbathes!).Someone else was prone on the sand taking photos.Others ran down to the water to put their hands in the waters of the Straits of Magellan.
Back on the bus, it was decided that Monte and Raúl should walk back behind the bus since they had spent their time throwing fish skeletons at each other.Then a discussion began as to whether we had really been in Chile.The outcome was "think South American Style," and 50 feet really didn't matter.Just say it was Chile!
Watching out the bus windows, we have seen sheep, cows, condors, and guanacos.Danielle spotted a rhea with six or eight babies, and she was pretty sure she also saw a Patagonian hare.
There was a photo stop where 12-15 guanacos were grazing near the road. The bus driver, Enrique, would stop whenever requested.Everyone was re-energized after being off of the bus.
We made another ten minute roadside-stop while Angel went inside a small building.He emerged with two thermoses of hot water.He then proceeded to serve matte to everyone.The first time it was sweet, but the second time it was not, so it was extremely bitter.Discussions on the bus included topics of music and eating areas while drinking red wine.What is in matte anyway?
Since we were to return by mid afternoon, and it was 8:15 P.M., a few wondered when mid afternoon arrived in South America.Only waiting will reveal this answer.We still had another stop to go.
Our last stop was a visit to a shipwreck that occurred in 1912.A boiler on a coal tender exploded and then a severe storm beached the vessel a quarter of a mile inland.It was low-tide when we were there and the beach consisted of gravel.A sea lion was swimming near by.The shipwreck is now "lover's lane" for the locals of Rio Gallegos.Its hull is decorated heavily with graffiti.
The wind was blowing strongly and a group of geologists were huddled together.George said it looked like the survivor's group deciding who would be voted off this trip first.However, our group was beginning to "come together."A core group of people knew each other.Nametags were starting to disappear and the rest of us were working hard at remembering names.
Mid afternoon arrived;9:15 P.M.!We went to the British Club for a lamb curry dinner.Some participants were disappointed when they got a lot of bones and fat.However, the conversations were pleasing.Bev and Gary said the television reported more rioting in the area where we had stayed in Buenos Aires.
A few decided to stop at a cyber cafe to let folks at home know we were fine, despite what Argentine political and economical news was being reported.The dark upstairs area at the cafe was lined with computers.Each station had a group of teenagers playing games.Since the keyboard was a little different from American keyboards, we felt we too were playing games, but eventually, we figured it out.The cost was very inexpensive.We paid less than $1 for sending our e-mail messages.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 200:Rio Gallegos to El Calafate
Morning Scribe:Danielle Sharp
I got no sleep last night due to the taxi stand directly across the street.They told a lot of jokes, but my Spanish wasn't good enough to understand, and I was very tired.That wonderful Argentine coffee is a godsend!We had a pretty substantial breakfast, which made up for last night's dinner.Yuk!
During breakfast we sat with both Joans, Mel, and Dale and Grace, and it was decided that we needed to break up some of the seating groups.We had observed that several people tend to sit in the same spots everyday, and we don't have a chance to talk to them.So, after bringing our suitcases to the bus for our three-hour journey to El Calafate, George and I moved to the third row from the front of the bus, and the others from our table spread themselves around, as well.We sat across from the two Ericas and enjoyed talking to them very much.I am, after all, their "mother."
We arrived in El Calafate at about 2:00.Everyone seemed pleased with our living quarters, Apartment Hotel Libertador, for they were extremely charming.They reminded me of the alps with the colorful window boxes filled with large, beautiful petunias, lobelia, etc.…and the roses in town were absolutely gorgeous.Our apartment was a large, comfortable two-story apartment with three beds--perfect for laying out our clothes.Several of us leaned ours heads out of the windows, and someone asked to borrow a cup of sugar.
George quickly found a store that was open, and Mary came running up to me, holding George's camera, and said that George needed me to translate.He finally purchased a nice-looking burgundy coat, thus ending the "coat" saga.The good thing about George loosing his coat and buying a new one was that I should easily be able to purchase for myself a cute shirt that I had admired in the window next door.Unfortunately, that store wasn't open.Oh, well!It was finally time to get on the bus and drive to the Perito Moreno Glacier.I had never seen a glacier in person before, so I could hardly contain myself.
Afternoon Scribe:Chris Metzler
We ate lunch (warm milanesa sandwiches, yum!) on the bus, while chatting with our guide, Soledad Lopez Belson.We then drove 80 kilometers to Perito Moreno Glacier, along Lago Argentino.Along the drive, Soledad provided a running commentary.Among the many items we learned were the following:
- Perito Moreno was a surveyor who first established the border between Chile and Argentina.Perito is a title, meaning "expert" or "skilled"in
Spanish.His actual name was Francisco Moreno.
icebergs resembled the colors of the Argentine flag, and thus gave the lake its name.
- The town of El Calafate is named after a shrub, which produces berries.
Local legend says that those who eat the calafate berry will return to
- The town was founded in 1927 and has a population of 7000.Tourism is the major industry.
- Estancias in the area raise sheep.The area has unusually good conditions for sheep, and they can be supported by only 2 hectares/head.In most of the province it takes 7 hectare/head to support sheep.
- The area gets 7-10 meters of snow per year.Soledad mentioned that we would likely see a number of plants, and passed around a photo album.Among the common plants of the area is one called Mata Guanaco, which means "Dead Guanaco" or "Kills Guanaco".She mentioned a number of other plants, including one called Zapata de la Virgen.Unfortunately, this scribe was so traumatized by having been locked in the bathroom at the hotel that he was unable to record the other plants she mentioned.
-Animals in the area include puma, red fox and guanacos.
-Common birds include the Condor, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Crested
Caracara, Black Neck Swan, Chilean Flamingo, Cuaquen Comun (Upland Goose, which normally occurs in pairs), Buff-necked Ibis, and Garza Bruja (which literally translates as "witch heron" but in the U.S. is usually called the Black-crowned Night Heron).Soledad mentioned a number of other birds, but the scribe was still traumatized from having gotten locked in the bathroom.
-Perito Moreno Glacier is the only glacier within Los Glaciares National
Park which is accessible by land.
At an overlook, we got off the bus.Soledad explained that in both 1940 and 1988 the glacier surged across the lake, creating an ice dam, which caused the upstream side of the lake to rise 25-30 meters.The bathtub ring of dead vegetation left by the rise was quite apparent.At present the glacier touches the peninsula, but water flows through and under the ice dam, so the lake level isn't significantly affected.Jim mentioned that at one time the glacier was surging forward at 10m/day! When the ice dam broke apart, it created a jokulhlaup.
After a short drive, many of us got on a boat, the Yagan (which is a word from the native people of that region).This boat ride allowed us to get up-close and personal with the glacier.(Erika Palson mentioned that she was, up until then, a "glacial virgin", having never before been intimate with one before.)We saw a very nice iceberg calving event that created waves which rocked the boat.The ice front is 50-70 meters above the lake, and is 6 km wide.
After the boat ride, we drove to the Moreno Glacier overlook.This allowed us to hike along several trails to a series of viewing platforms.The views were fantastic, and lots of photography was going on.Though we were a little pressed for time, many of us enjoyed the chance to hike up and down, enjoying both the views and the exercise.
We were back on the bus at 7:45 for the drowsy ride back to El Calafate and dinner at the Chinese place.All in all, it was a fun-filled, educational and beautiful afternoon.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2001: Boat ride on Lago Argentina and visit to Estancia Cristina
Morning Scribe: MARY E. Dowse
Today started with another too-early wakeup call (6 AM) and too-light breakfast (coffee, croissants).We loaded onto the bus for a 7:00 A.M. departure to drive to the dock.There were geologic features to be observed on the road to the dock (if your eyes were open).The road traversed a flat glacial lakebed and then crossed a hummocky moraine.There was evidence of landslides in the hillsides on the left side of the bus.
We arrived at the dock and boarded the Upsala Explorer for our trip up the Lago Argentino to see Upsala Glacier.The speedy catamaran had plush soft seats and was well loaded.Breakfast was served as we cruised up the Lago.Danielle used the opportunity to collect the excess coffee creamer with plans to later open Danielle’s Faux Dairy.We remained in the cabin for much of the start of the cruise, but boiled out onto deck when given permission.There was a wide variety of whimsically-shaped ice bergs floating down the lake from the glacier.We were alerted to be on the lookout for “the Lilliputian ice follies coming to an iceberg near you,” although it is not clear if anyone actually observed the follies.We did note glacially scoured bed rock and roches moutonées.
The Upsala Explorer worked its way through and around ice bergs to provide the opportunity to view the front of the Upsala Glacier. It was much warmer as we approached the glacier front.Geologically it was possible to see some of the history of glaciation by looking at the moraines and other deposits in the valley.A small valley on the west side of Upsala held a smaller glacier and had been at one time dammed by the glacier in the main valley resulting in a series of flat lakebeds in the valley.At least two levels of lateral moraines were evident along the walls of the valley.
A carefully conducted survey of geo-trippers indicated that most were impressed.Some quotes…
‘Not too bad.’
‘Yes!!!!!’ (said with a Jersey accent)
‘um’ (at a loss for words)
‘I love what I am seeing’
‘Awesome, but when are we going to see something beautiful?’
‘Jim, really knows how to pick them’
The boat then headed for the Estancia Cristina and we loaded into 2 Mercedes ‘busses’ (Unimogs), truck-like rigs with seating for about 20.Couldn’t we all use these for field trips?We followed a track that wound up and around to an overlook of the Upsala Glacier and ice field escorted by our guides Anahi and Amaren.The bedrock geology, thinly-bedded turbidites dipping steeply to the east, controlled the topography as we followed strike valleys and then up and over ridges that paralleled strike.Many of the valleys contained lakes and or had flat bottoms indicating former lakebeds.
At the end of the track we parked and then hiked on up to the outlook.The rocks were primarily dark shales and some interbedded sands.They contained abundant belemnites and awesome ammonites (which appeared to be most abundant in the darker layers).The rain at the outcrop deterred few geologists (or as Greg noted, "This is a geology trip now – got some weather.").The guide admitted that she had never had as much trouble getting a group to return from the outlook and reload in the vans (Were we busy looking at rocks?).
We then returned to the Estancia Cristina for lunch ( by my vote the best lunch on the trip).
Salads: Cole slaw with paprika, carrot, lettuce, and tomato with a dab of dulce leche, and chicken
Empanadasfilled with cheese and corn
Breads: little rounds, white and wheat sliced bread, bread sticks
Main course: Lamb and Chicken from the Asado with chutney, salta criolla, and chimichurri (recipe follows)
Desserts: tarts, chocolate mousse, and so many choices.
Wine flowed (poured much liked ice tea in the states)
There were important discussions over lunch.Inquiring minds are looking for the answers to important questions. Why napkin rings?Etiquette lessons were provided. Is it true that Barney’s cane is really a Jacob’s staff or is he using it to dowse for oil?Of course we now know that it is really a terrorist weapon. Do men wear cups when they are learning to tango?Still looking for input on this question.
1 cabeza de ajo
100 gr de aji molido
100 gr de oregano
pimineta crispada (rota)
vinagre de alcohol 900 cc
aceite de oliva 300 cc
Picar todo los elementos bien chiquitos.
Poner en un bol y agegar los liquidos Y reservar en la heladera
Afternoon Scribes:Erica Paulson and Erica Peterson
Our New Year's celebration started in the afternoon at the Upsala restaurant.The meal consisted of salad, bread, lamb, and tons of desserts (ok, maybe only 7 dessert choices, but they were fantastic!).Our table consisted of Joan Baldwin, Pete, Don, Bob Yates, and of course the now infamous E2 gals. At a moment of serenity, our table (the ‘cool table’) toasted Dottie with champagne.
"This is the earliest I've ever started New Year's celebration."- Don
"Anything is fair game." – Pete
The day was overcast with occasional light rain, which seemed like perfect napping weather.Apparently, there were lots of jokes during the tour…something about Bob Yates being so concerned about losing his camera that he lost his hat.A big thanks goes to Pete for finding it!The flowers looked nice to Bob O. who wanted to take a picture.Every geologist knows you need something for scale so Joan Alger provided the "British finger".
The late afternoon alcohol may have had something to do with the abundance of jokes, although E2 were oblivious to them due to uncontrollable, momentary unconsciousness.The benches in the restaurant were actually quite comfortable.Everything looked nice through our eyelids.
Thank you for waking us up!It would have been a long swim back to El Calafate!Us ‘youngin’s’ needed a siesta to keep up with you party animals!Maybe we’re just not used to being able to afford alcohol with EVERY MEAL! *
* (We arrived back in the USA in true fighting form.Haven’t met a bottle of wine that can beat us yet!)
On the boat ride more people seemed to be suffering from uncontrollable unconsciousness.We had about 1 ½ hours back at the hotel before leaving for the restaurant at 10:00 p.m.It was decorated quite nicely, with pink, green, and white iridescent balloons and Christmas decorations.Angel brought red wine.The place settings contained goofy little glasses.The server looked at us like we were weird when we asked if they were for water or wine…still don't know.The server passed out numbers (which turned out to be quite beneficial to Don).The buffet style salads and appetizers looked great with the watermelon carved like a pumpkin. We weren't sure if we could indulge until Don exclaimed, "Do not pass go, do not collect $200, but do go to the salad bar."The steaks were fantastic, although Chris complained "There's no tofu on the trip" (insert sarcasm).The meal was great, as well as the wine and champagne.
"We're kicking Dick Clark's ass tonight." – E. Peterson (a.k.a. Big E, a.k.a. Erica major)
"Yeah, Dick has nothing on us." – E. Palson (a.k.a. Little E, a.k.a. Erica minor)
23 was the lucky number for Don.His basket (which I may add made it through the rest of the trip and back to Idaho) was filled with goodies.Don was nice enough to share with the group at a before dinner party later on the trip.
When midnight struck there was lots of hugging and celebrating.We especially enjoyed the firework's display outside compliments of the people of El Calafate.We were partying like rock stars, according to Erica Palson.I think Jim may have been worried about the beverages running out.
"You might have to get it (wine) at a gas station, but we'll get it." – Jim (1:00 a.m.)
"'Pertinear' time for vinto tinto." – Greg (1:35 a.m.)
There was lots of dancing and celebrating.Who thought we'd be dancing to Ricky Martin on New Year's Eve.Sally and Erica Peterson took it upon themselves to ask the Spaniard mountaineers to join us on the dance floor, which turned out to be a very good thing for Joan Alger.We think she had the opportunity to get ‘lucky’ if she wanted to. Erica Palson has decided she wants to be Joan Alger when she grows up. You are a true marvel, Joan!
People trickled back to the hotel between the hours of midnight and 3:00.E2 enjoyed more red wine with Sally, Greg, and Jim before passing out at the end of a very enjoyable day.
The Wild Ones
TUESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2002:El Calafate to Puerto Natales, Chile
Morning Scribes:Gary and Bev Webster
We had a 7:30 wakeup call, 8:00 breakfast, and 9:05 departure.Many comments at breakfast about the activities of certain unnamed members of the group at the New Year's eve dinner and party, however, our Canadian Erica was applauded when she arrived for breakfast.
Joan A. arrived on the bus wearing her New Year's eve hat to cheers.
Joan and Mel presented their party hats to the two Ericas in recognition of their party activities.
Some bottles of Don Hagen's prize was distributed a bit for safe-keeping.
Jim started the day by asking, "Where the hell is Mel and Joan this
Route of travel from Calafate to Puerto Natales was changed to choice three as two of the passes that were the first and second choices were closed for highway repair.Route taken was the gravel Hwy 40 via Rio Turbio with a brief stop at the junction with the highway from Calafate.
This route crossed a drumlin field and offered views of volcanic plugs to the west.Most of the morning travel was across a bunch grass prairie dotted with a few large erratics and some kettle lakes, most of which were dry.Shortly before the lunch stop a few weather-beaten trees appeared.
Ross cleaned it out!
As the sandwiches were being distributed at the roadside pullover for lunch, we had a brief cornsnow shower.Glacial sediments in the bar-ditch
displayed a number of interesting sedimentary structures.
Afternoon Scribe:Don Hagen
Put geologists down anywhere near an outcrop, and they will start looking at the rocks.Our roadside lunch stop en route to Puerto Natales, Chile was no exception.A road cut there showed glacial-outwash events with many flame structures formed by dewatering and curious, only slightly consolidated conglomerate balls, which Don Triplehorn concluded had resulted from thawing of boulders transported by glacial outwash while still frozen.
After a lunch of meat and cheese subs, some of us walked down the gravel road and were half way to Puerto Natales before our giant bus came along (just kidding).On board the bus, Monte and Dale generously shared their wines with us.Then we made a short stop for a reported flat tire (or was it a fire?) that, thankfully, turned out to be only a loose belt.Next the driver stampeded herds of sheep on and near the road with his horn honking.
Then we stopped at a west-facing road cut showing slightly northeast dipping Upper Cretaceous swamp and shallow marine deposits with two ten-foot lignite beds separated by twenty feet of concretionary grey mudstone with leaf imprints in some concretions and thin-bedded marine shale with pelecypods (including possibly dinoceramus).These beds were cut and displaced seven feet by a south-heading thrust fault that had slid along the base of a seven-foot thick point-bar conglomerate and sand meander fill which had previously cut into the lower coal bed.The fault died out up section into bedding-plane drag folds in the upper coal bed.The upper part of the section had been cut into and filled with conglomerate glacial outwash.Up section we thus saw transgression (concretionary mudstone with leaves overlain by thin shale beds with palecypods), then regression (coal overlain by concretionary mudstone; both cut and filled by a river meander), then transgression (marine-thin shales), then regression (coal overlain by non-marinemudstone), then thrust faulting and, much later, glacial cut and fill. (Sorry, but this is supposed to be a "GeoTrip" by GSA.)
The next events on our odyssey were crossing the border.Upon leaving Argentina, we spent one and one-half hours in and out of the custom's house and moving everything from one bus to another. All of us had to fill out forms and clear customs into Chile.The only hitch was that Grace had Dale's passport, which they recognized because she didn't have a beard.We had to leave Angel's son, Raúl, because written permission to leave Argentina had not been obtained from his mother, and she could not be reached by phone.
Then we drove past northeast-dipping Lower Cretaceous back-arc basin shale beds and arrived at Puerto Natales on Ultima Esperanza Sound and saw a dramatic view of the Andes across the water. The Hotel Glaciares was cozy--too cozy, as they neglected to leave room for suitcases.
Changing money was a team effort, as the ATM would not accept the cards of half of us.The evening was clear, but so crisp that I shuddered to think what winter must be like.Jim said the winter suicide rate among the few that stayed over was very high (No thanks!).Surprisingly, Chile (at least here) looks less prosperous than Argentina.
Time for bed (as early as 11:00 P.M.!) after a dinner of tasty salmon and a good dry white wine.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY2, 2002: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Morning Scribe:Joan Baldwin
At 8 AM, we had a continental breakfast at Hotel Glaciares in Puerto Natales. We loaded onto the bus at 9 A.M., but before we could get going to the park, we needed to find a bank for Angel so he could exchange some money. Some of the group wanted to exchange money also, so Dale collected money from them and went into the bank with Angel. Unfortunately, Angel needed all of the small bills the bank had on hand, so Dale did not exchange any money.
Mid-morning we stopped at Villa Cerro Castillo for drinks, snacks, souvenirs, etc.Continuing on our way north we saw condorsand rheas. We stopped at a lake, where there were outcrops of the black shales of the Zapata formation. These sediments were deposited in an anoxic back arc basin during the Cretaceous and at the same time, to the west there was a subduction zone with a volcanic arc that contributed ash to this basin. During the Late Cretaceous into the Paleocene, these sediments were folded and then intruded in the Miocene by granite. Uplift and erosion since then has led to the development of steep-sided, jagged towers of black (Cretaceous shales) and white (Miocene granite) rock that stand almost 2000 meters above the Patagonian steppe. The peaks are often referred to as “Cuernos del Paine” (Horns of Paine).
We entered the Park at the Laguna Azul entrance. At various places we saw guanacos, which have become numerous here due to the United Nations’ Biosphere Reserve system that was established in 1978. As we neared Lake Nordenskold, we saw some of the spectacular towers partially covered with clouds. We stopped a few times for pictures of the towers and the Lakes Nordenskold and Sarmiento. As we progressed westward, we noticed that the attitudes of the Cretaceous sediments changed from nearly horizontal to steeply dipping and folded. We were entering the fold thrust belt created by the Late Cretaceous to Paleocene orogeny.
We had lunch at the head of the Salto Grande trail and then took off on a 2+-hour hike. We saw a waterfall created by the water from Lake Nordenskold dropping down into Lake Pahoe. After that, the trail went through beautiful foliage to the south shore of Lake Nordenskold where there was a spectacular view of some of the towers.
Following the hike, we drove to Weber Bridge for a group photo with the towers in the background. On the return trip, we stopped at Hotel Pehoe for hot chocolate, coffee and tea and a fantastic view of the towers above Lake Pehoe.
Afternoon Scribe:Dale Kunitomi
It’s a New Year and we’re in Puerto Natales, a small pleasant Chilean town on Ultima Esperanza Sound.What a great name, “Last Hope Sound”.Hernando Magellan and crew must have been thoroughly confused trying to make sense of these torturous sounds.However, looking at the map of southern South American it appears to me that Magellan could not have entered Ultima Esperanza Sound from the east or south and once entering the Sound, it becomes a dead-end at the northwest end.Or maybe I got the story all wrong.
Raúl Mansilla is still among the missing, having been detained at the Chile-Argentina border because he was underage and the officials were unable to contact his mother to verify that Angel was not kidnapping him.We hope he’ll be at the hotel when we return this evening.
We’re staying at the Hotel Glaciares, a nice small hotel one block from the waterfront.The town was founded to service the cattle trade, which flourished from 1910 to 1956.While walking about the town I notice many fit young persons outfitted as climbers.Apparently some climbers take the tour boats to the southern part of Torres Del Paine National Park and begin their climbs there.
We visit Torres Del Paine today and the views are wonderful.The weather is quite cool and very windy.Lunch is cold sandwiches and soda that we eat huddled in whatever lee area we can find.But soon thereafter we’re off on one of the nicer hikes of the trip.We view a wonderful waterfall roaring over Cretaceous black shale.The destination is a wonderful view of the Torres across a wind blown lake.This is the famous Patagonia wind we’ve been expecting.Today is Group Picture Day, and it’s been quite cold so, although most have worn the GSA Darwin tee shirts, they’re hidden beneath sweaters and jackets.On Weber Bridge we have the Torres and a lake behind us for our group picture.
Shortly thereafter, we stop at the Hotel Pehoe for hot chocolate.Access to the hotel is across a 50-yard footbridge and the sitting room has large window of great views of the Torres.The wind is still blowing strong and the clouds are always moving, creating constantly changing views.Unknown to most of the group, the President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, and entourage are in the dining room, and Jim Reynolds and Ross McCasland somehow recognize him and introduce themselves and get to shake hands.Not something you could do with President Bush!
We don’t depart the hotel until 8 P.M., and we still have several hours for our return trip to Puerto Natales.We arrive just after 10 P.M., and Raúl is there.He’s just arrived after spending the previous night and all day with the Chilean border guards while they were waiting for his mother to verify that we was accompanying his father on this trip.Ruth Nicolich warmly welcomes her “lost son” back to our group.
A late dinner again; we don’t begin eating until after 11 PM.Raúl passes around an egg-nog like drink that he calls “monkey tail.”Besides this drink, a large volume of beer and wine is consumed this evening.Dinner consists of 5 small fried fish with rice or potatoes, really much better than it sounds.It’s late, and we’re tired and when Jim announces that we’ll be waking up at 6:30 AM, lots of groans are heard.By now all the other diners have left, and about midnight, we stagger back to the Hotel Glaciares and flop into bed.
It’s been just another great day at the southern end of the world.Thanks, Jim and GSA!
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 2002:Ultima Experanza Sound
Morning Scribe:Grace Kunitomi
Overnight in Puerto Natales.We awoke at 6:30 A.M., had breakfast at 7:00 and at 8:00 A.M. we went downstairs to walk to the tour boat.But just before leaving the room Raúl called saying, “Hurry, you’re late.”We rushed downstairs and joined Carol and Lee and found everybody else had already departed.Raúl hurried us out of the hotel and as fast as Lee’s bum knee could hobble, we made our way to the dock.We passed Angel who was rushing back to the hotel for some reason.We quickly boarded the boat and, when Angel returned, he was carrying Grace’s wool hat that she’d dropped in the street on our way to the dock.For recovering her hat Grace now owes Angel her life and is now preparing to join him in Bolivia as his love slave.
We pulled away from Puerto Natales with several other tour boats and made our way west into Ultima Esperanza Sound.The main cabin of the boat was crowded and smelled strongly of diesel fuel, and Grace decided it was better to suffer frostbitten ears and nose than to become ill in the cabin.So for the entire voyage, about 8 hours, she stationed herself on the starboard side where the fresh, COLD wind kept the diesel fumes from her sensitive nose.Without the wool hat she would have expired early in the voyage.
On our epic voyage we observed sea lions, cormorants and condors.The condors were only seen as small black images against the sky, and the sea lions slept in crevices in the rock walls.We landed and took a 45 minute hike to the foot of a very nice, small glacier.The weather was cold with slight drizzle.On the way back an amazing quantity of beer was consumed.In the western part of Ultima Esperanza Sound the weather was quite cold and it warmed remarkably as we returned to Puerto Natales.One of the reasons for the town’s location is the warmer location.
Afternoon Scribe:Don Triplehorn
The aging 21 DeMayo cutter docked at Puerto Toro, where we took a 1 km walk to Serrano Glacier, part of Monte Bamaceda National Park. The rocky trail skirted the edge of the water and was not steep, but with lots of ups and downs and some bouldery parts. The deciduous forest here is in marked contrast with the drier area we experienced around Puerto Natales. The weather turned to mixed, light rain with periods of bright sunshine. The icefall here is spectacular; much longer and steeper than seen before.Calving must be active (tides? Storms?) because the glacier doesn’t extend much beyond the shoreline. Abundant globular yellow-white Indian Brad fungi were on the ground. These are part of common bushy parasitic growths on trees that we have seen elsewhere; e.g., Tierra del Feugo Natl. Park (Jan. 8) and at Lago Escondido (Jan. 5).
Shortly after leaving the dock we made a quick pass along the icefalls and hanging glaciers on the west slope of Monte Balmaceda.The ice now terminates above sea level, but reached the water 15 years ago.The freshly scoured rock surfaces provide a good view of the contact between the plutonic rocks and the well-bedded dark shales they intrude.During the return the crew served pisco (alcohol) with glacier ice. This may have contributed to widespread napping, along with last night’s post-midnight dinner followed by an early rise this morning.
Don Hagen’s New Year’s prize basket of food and wine provided the nucleus of a pre-dinner cocktail party before the usual10 P.M. dinner.This was at yet another different restaurant, serving a fine shellfish casserole.
We headed south from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas
(Punta Arenas means "Sandy Point"). Someone announced that Punta Arenas has the distinction of being home to the southernmost brewery in the world! Jim says there are alkali olivine basalt plugs across southern Patagonia.
We turned off the paved road on which we'd been travelling to a gravel road toward Rio Verde and Seno Skyring. We soon came upon an enormous flock of sheep being driven down the road by four men on horses, other men on foot and numerous dogs.Since everyone wanted to take pictures, it took forever for the bus to get past them. Bob O. said he was so excited by his first Chile sheep drive actually recorded on his very own camera!! Mel and Peter must have WONDERFUL videos.
saw a flock of Southern Lapwings--black with a large amount of white on
upper side, long beak.Seno Skyring
and the Andes became visible to the west. The Fitzroy Channel (named after
the captain of the Beagle) connects Seno Skyring with Seno Otway. We have
been travelling through a commune since we turned off the main road. According
to Jim, communes were formed under Allende. When Pinochet took over after
Allende was killed, many of the communes were disbanded but some still
persist, especially in the south, of which Río Verde is one. We
had lunch at Hotel Rio Verde inside the Rio Verde commune. It was settled
by Croatians and turned into a hotel recently.Jim
says he was the first to make a reservation online:
There were hand-knit sweaters, hats, etc. for sale. They lit a big firein the parlor and another in the very large hall where we ate lunch (It was cold when we first walked in.).
Exploration of the most southerly southwest Chile available by well-traveled public roads. A road log of sorts uses time (40-50 mph) by bus on paved highway instead of mileage.
We are up at 6 A.PM., packed, and have breakfast by 7-7:30. Breakfasts are usually continental—coffee, juice, cereal, rolls or croissants.(I missed my bacon and eggs.)However, I never suffer from hunger.
Latitude here is 51040’(Compare with Calgary, Alberta.). We leave Puerto Natales, located at sea level, at 9:30 A.M. Land rises gently to the east. 9:40 A.M. –We reach the port of entry from Argentina and cross the Argentina-Chile border. The Continental divide is comparatively low at an estimated 2000’. Low compared to the 10,000 foot Andes.
From the port of entry we drive southeast parallel to a lateral moraine to the east.(10:00 A.M.)Up and over the moraine.Moister climate. Flat country sloping gently west with moss on the trees.Plenty of open prairie land.(10:15 A.M.)Estancia Cerro Negro. (10:25 A.M.)East dipping cuestas, probably Cretaceous, parallel the road a few miles to east. Argentina-Chile border.
Rio Rubens, a tributary of Rio Gallegos, flows east from Chile. (10:30 A.M.) Estancia J.S. Jarznim --- Highway turns east along the south boundary of the Argentine border with Chile.This boundary follows parallel 520S and then turns slightly SE north of the NE outlet of the Strait of Magellan.
(10:45 A.M.) At Morro Chico the highway turns south crossing eastward-flowing tributaries of Rio Gallegos (Atlantic drainage). Travel is across low rolling to flat pampas. (11:00 A.M.).Estancia La Invernada— Passing Villa Tehuelches. (11:15 A.M.) Leave pavement and take good gravel road southwest toward Rio Verde. (22km). Low flat grassy plains (Westward Pacific drainage).Abundant low bushes topped with white flowers---look like blooming blackberry bushes.They turn out to be a sage similar to the purple sage of the American west.
(11:35 A.M.) We encounter a large herd of sheep being moved in our direction along the road, fenced on both sides.They were herded by several caballeros on horseback with very active sheep dogs.Great photo opportunities, especially for those with video cameras.
(2:00 P.M.) Leave Rio Verde.Travelingsouth along the east bank of the Fitzroy channel, we crossed road cuts with cross-bedded sands and gravels from outwash deposits.
(2:30 P.M.) Salt lakes on the left—Otway Sound on the right.More rainfall supports cattle—Herefords and Black Angus. Across the Otway Sound, in the distance, rising hills are tree-covered, while on this side, low rolling hills are covered with sagebrush. Broad tidal flats along the east side of Otway.
Our road rises to an elevated 40-50 foot coastal terrace—Patagonian plains.(2:45 P.M.) Ranch house on the right in some trees--- Drumlins on the left. Road rises to a second level terrace. (2:48 P.M.) On highway 40, turn right toward Punta Arenas –traveling along a narrow isthmus separating the Strait of Magellan and the Seno Otway.The isthmus connects the Brunswick Peninsula to the Chilean mainland. The 20-mile wide (at this point) Strait of Magellan separates the South American mainland from Tierra del Fuego.(3:30 P.M.) Arrive at Punta Arenas.Latitude 52045’South - Longitude 70030’West.To Hotel Austral for a fine evening and a good night’s rest.
Afternoon Scribe: Danielle Sharp
After arriving at our hotel and checking into our rooms, several of us decided to find the southern-most brewery in the world. Unfortunately, you had to have reservations, and they were already booked.What to do?What to do?
We decided to just walk around the city and do some exploring.We noticed huge statues all around, and there were two particularly large, beautiful ones in a lovely plaza at the center of town.There were about 15 men at the base of them, and they were all wearing yellow Lipton Tea caps and taking pictures of each other.They were speaking English and one man from Ft. Worth, Texas, said they were mostly middle-aged men in the midst of a mid-life crisis.They were waiting their turn to fly to Antarctica to attempt climbing Vinson Massif. One of their younger members got Lipton to sponsor his climb, at a cost of $26,000, thus the caps.Lipton's web site was planning on following their climb.
We offered to take their pictures, and in return, they asked us to have our pictures taken with their yellow "Lipton" caps.As we were preparing for the picture, an adorable dog took his place in front of me.He was definitely posing.Before long he was affectionately leaning into me, and I wanted to, somehow, take him back to the U.S. with me.Everyone laughed, and one of the climbers suggested that the dog wear a cap too.However, mi perrito would have nothing to do with the cap.We still got great pictures.
There were several vendors in the plaza, so that gave everyone a chance to purchase a souvenir from Chile.We bought what we thought was a hand-carved pen, but upon closer inspection later on, it turned out to be an ordinary pin covered with fimo, a type of clay, and painted.It was still interesting.
We parted company with several others in our group, and Mark, Bob O., and George wanted to find a place to enjoy a beer.Ruth and I wanted wine and a snack.We found a charming little restaurant and were thrilled to see they had empanadas.It surprised us, however, to see how tiny they were. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun.
A short time later, everyone was to meet on the second floor of our hotel for a geological discussion.I'll admit that I stayed in our hotel room to work on a troublesome crossword puzzle.Sadly, that time didn't prove to be profitable, so I tried to sneak into the room around 8:30 P.M., but Jim gave me the "look" and announced, "Mrs. Sharp, you're late!"
After walking to Sotito's Bar for dinner, our group enjoyed a hearty meal of a delicious crab salad, followed by either conger eel or grilled chicken and french fries, both of which were tasty.However, the real treat came in the way of ripe, fresh strawberries with cream topping, and cappuccino capped off the meal.Yum!
I can't leave it at this, however, before mentioning that Ross must love pepper.When he proceeded to salt and pepper his fish, the cap of the pepper shaker came off, resulting with a large pile of pepper on his plate.He really did look a little stunned.Maybe it wasn't enough pepper.
Before retiring, we were told that we didn't have reservations for the ferry we had planned on taking, so we needed to go a different route and take another ferry across the Straits of Magellan.Hasta mañana!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5. 2002:PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE TO HOSTERÍA PETREL, ARGENTINA
Morning Scribe:ImeldaA. Cragin
I share the scribe duties for today with John Williams as we GSA Patagonian Adventurers continue to make our way from Punta Arenas, Chile across the Straits of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego, the “Land of Fire,” where we will cross the border back to Argentina and make our way down to the Hostería Petrel along Lake Escondido.
We stayed overnight at the Hotel Austral in downtown Punta Arenas.The day began for most of us with our gathering at breakfast.The breakfast area had large windows looking out towards a courtyard with trees and an ornate old mansion.It was a lovely view and the breakfast was good!Nice toast and jam, yogurt, fruit, cereal, pastries, juice and (since I am not a coffee drinker) reportedly good coffee.Stories circulated on how some early risers paid special homage to a certain bronze statue in the main plaza and had photos taken to memorialize the moment (See photo on following page.).There were other stories of how strong coffee was needed to brush away the effects of some residual vino tinto from last night.
Then it was time to gather up all our gear and make it down to the lobby to get on our way.While the luggage made its way down the stairs and in the single elevator, Chris Metzler, Lee Shropshire and I noticed the beautiful fossil shells and stylolites captured within the marble steps of the hotel’s main entrance.We had a short impromptu geology discussion on the possible depositional environment and age of this
decorative rock.Geologists can find entertainment anywhere!
As we all waited outside of the front door of the hotel in the cold air for the bus to arrive, many noted the myriad of telephone wires all converging on to one telephone pole across the street.It looked like a United Airlines route map for all fights going to the Miami hub.Could this possibly be one of the reasons for the fast growing cellular phone services here in Argentina?
Once the bus arrived, there was the challenge of trying to fit in all our rolling suitcases, duffle bags and backpacks.George Sharp, Ross McCasland, Dale Kunitomi, Greg Bernanski and Mark Nicolich heaved and hoed with the bus driver and the hotel staff to fill the belly of the bus with all our stuff.While the packing was going on, others were writing last minute postcards to send in order to use up those last few Chilean stamps, since we will be crossing the border back to Argentina later today.
Then we were finally on our way out of town.We were headed to catch the ferry that would carry us across the Straits of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego.We were originally going to make our crossing at Punta Arenas to Porvenir.However, plans changed and we headed north to Punta Delgada to make our ferry crossing over to Punta Anegada on Tierra del Fuego.
Once we were through the suburbs of Punta Arenas, Monte Marshall enlightened us again by giving us a follow-up briefing on the magnetic anomaly information he talked about during last night’s geology lecture.He passed around maps containing bathymetry, altimeter, magnetic anomaly and sea floor spreading data for southern South America and the Tierra del Fuego area for our reading pleasure.
The scenery outside was back to vast grasslands sparsely dotted with estancias and sheep containing glacial features of eskers, kames, kettle lakes, and some drumlins.[Note: For those of us who cannot remember or would like to know what these glacial geology terms mean, please go to the end of the scribe book for their definitions.If you are not interested….never mind.Also, you are more than welcome to make up your own definitions to these terms.It makes for more interesting scribe notes.]We were following the northern coastline of the Straits of Magellan in the area called Cumbres de San Gregorio (Summits of San Gregorio).There were also some large drilling rigs in operation being used for oil exploration and development.As we continued on, a number of people participated in one of our favorite bus pastimes -- napping.
We finally made our way to the ferry landing at Punta Delgada.The ferry had not yet arrived.There were at least a half-dozen cars waiting with our bus.Some folks wanted to spend the last bit of their Chilean money.So, they got out of the bus and went to the Hostería El Faro to search for some last minute goodies, find a bathroom, and to shop, shop, shop.Some of us walked down to the beach to take pictures of the Straits of Magellan.It was cold and very windy.Near the vehicle waiting area there was a large sign with the greeting, “Welcome to the Straits of Magellan”.There was a work crew putting up a large billboard ad next to this welcome sign.It was interesting to see these four men hard at work constructing the frame, hoisting up the sign and trying to nail it in place in that wind.
Once the ferry arrived, the front of the ferry came down like a large landing craft ramp right onto the shoreline.A large flat bed truck carrying a bulldozer was the first to come off, followed by a number of large trucks.Once all the vehicles were off, the crew proceeded to hose down the deck and inner hull of the ferry.This procedure took about 20 minutes.Then our bus drove on board and parked in the center of the ferry.All the other waiting cars followed along and were directed to park along the port side.A few of our stragglers who were still shopping and spending their Chilean money (Joan Balwin, Grace Kunitomi, Ross and Barney McCasland) were the last ones to come aboard the ferry as all other passengers had boarded and the ferry was ready to go.
The crossing was very windy and cold.The sky turned gray and cloudy.There were whitecaps and a few other ships in the Straits.We all got off the bus to explore this ferry called Fueguino (possible translations: “one of fire” or perhaps “sparky”?).The crew quarters, galley area, lifeboats, and bridge were located along the starboard side.A number of people went down to the galley to get some hot chocolate.I witnessed the Fueguino Ladies Auxiliary Tea (Joan Alger, Christy Brenner, Bev Webster and Ruth Nicolich,) display the proper way to sip (not tea), but hot chocolate (with their pinkies out.).Lovely ladies, just lovely!While the ladies and some of our gents were warm and cozy below, some of us climbed up on to the upper decks to take pictures and to feel the wind and the spray coming over the rails.What a totally invigorating experience!The flags were flapping wildly, and Dale’s skipper’s hat decided to take flight.Luckily it landed on board on the lower deck of the ferry and was returned to its happy owner!
It was a short 30-minute ferry ride.Soon we reached the northern shore of Tierra del Fuego.Once the ferry’s forward ramp came down, all the vehicles started their engines and began to disembark.Some of us climbed back onto the bus, while others of us walked off the ferry.A few of us walked down and put our hands into the cold waters of the Straits of Magellan.There was a small sandbar that had built up next to the ferry landing, and a few of us exclaimed that it had the same shape and the same mechanism of sand build up of Santa Barbara Harbor!It always amazes me to see geologic processes in action just on a smaller scale in another part of the world!
After some of us were through posing next to the sign that said, “Welcome to the Large Island Tierra del Fuego, Chile”, we all got back on the bus and started across the vast rolling, treeless grasslands of Tierra del Fuego that have been shaped by glacial action.The sun had finally come out and it was warm in the bus.We reverted to what we do best on the bus….eating, drinking and of course – more napping.Some of us participated in a lively conversation about students, teaching styles and relationships.We passed a few more oil wells and some oil and gas pipelines.Argentina has active producing oil and gas fields, however, the majority of the oil and gas processing occurs in neighboring Chile.We drove past one well where gas was being flared off and flames were shooting up forming a large fire…perhaps giving rise to a more modern day interpretation of Tierra del Fuego?
We soon arrived at the Chilean border checkpoint at San Sebastián.We all got off the bus armed with our passports and important papers. One by one, we went through the ritual process of getting our papers examined and passport stamped.The border was busy with two other tourist busses that had pulled up after we arrived.We also witnessed private cars having their tires sprayed by young men carrying a sprayer-hose connected to a plastic backpack unit containing what may have been a pesticide solution.These are some of the preventative measures being used to try to stop the spread of hoof and mouth disease.
Once through the line, we were back on the bus again.We drove past oil pipelines and flocks of sheep grazing on the pampas.It was a short ride to Bahía San Sebastián, where we arrived at the Argentina border checkpoint.Again, we all lined up with passport and important papers in hand.There were signs and photos reminding us of what is not allowed into Argentina.It was very educational for us as we waited patiently in line.
Finally with papers and passports stamped, we were directed to walk across the grounds over to the Argentine Automobile Club to have lunch.Apparently, we had arrived two hours early, and the restaurant was not prepared for such a large group.The kitchen put together what they could, and yes it was those tasty cheese sandwiches that we have all come to love and cherish.Oh, yum!I had lunch with Chris Metzler, Mary Dowse, Joan Alger, and the two Ericas.We had a great time telling stories.Even Mary Dowse got to say a few words as her voice was trying to come back!We did get her to laugh a lot!
After lunch, Jim Reynolds gave a briefing on gold prospecting at Bahía San Sebastián.Jim told us the story of a Romanian immigrant, who came to Bahía San Sebastián and found a fair amount of gold in a few places along the peninsula and in a few of the streams further north.He set up his own mining operation and became extremely wealthy.He became the dictator of Tierra del Fuego.He was able to mint his own gold coins, and they were accepted in both banks of Argentina and Chile.His name was Julio Popper.If you ever read the children’s book, Mister Popper’s Penguins, Jim suspects that he was the inspiration for that book.Julio Popper was an interesting guy, who even had his own private army and dressed them up in Prussian-type uniforms.Jim said that when we go to Ushuaia, Julio Popper’s home is now either the museum that we will be going to visit or the National Bank.
Julio Popper was a very big name in Fuegian history.There are several versions of stories that have been circulating on what happen to him.The one area where the stories converge is that Popper realized that there must be a source of the gold.One version said that he went up into the Cordillera Darwin to look for it.Another version said that he went up to the Andes.Another version said that he searched the beaches on the north side.Unfortunately, Popper had an accident and died at the age of 36.That was the end of Popper’s story.Since then there have been quite a few people that have come back looking for his gold deposit.Jim said that concentrations of gold have been found in the area, but it would not be enough for a commercial mine operation.Jim has been doing some exploration for the gold down here.We all volunteered to help!
Jim said that the sediment is coming down from the north, which is interesting because the currents are all coming up from the south.Right off the bay, there is a strong current coming down from the north and another strong current coming up from the south colliding at the end of the peninsula.The bay itself is extremely shallow, and the receding tide goes way out.Last year, Jim was standing out on the peninsula and he could see the tide falling and it was going right by him in a manner of about two minutes.When the tide goes out, it goes out about 1 kilometer off shore and it is incredible to watch.Jim also said that if we ever come back here and want to explore some of these beaches, you could rent a four-wheel drive vehicle and drive on the beaches along this whole coast going up to the north point.However, there are a lot of oil lands along the coast, so there may be some restrictions on some of the beaches.Jim said that one Korean family owns all this land in the area.They have a huge amount of land in this territory.Jim hopes to be back next year to continue with his exploration project.
Jim said that we could go down to the beach to see the tidal flats and experience the Patagonian wind for fifteen to twenty minutes.He warned us to watch out for the muddy parts, because they are really sticky.We were told to try to stay on the sand and the pebbles so we wouldn’t get stuck.Jim also said that the sand contains high heavy mineral content.There is a lot of olivine, pyroxenes, amphiboles, as well as, a lot of magnetite, a little bit of ilmenite, and a tiny bit of gold.
Someone asked if the terraces were Holocene in age.Jim said that he thinks that the terraces are Holocene in the immediate area, and that the terraces throughout this region are Holocene and Pleistocene.The glacier came through right here in Bahía San Sebastián. The bay was created by glacial scour.This valley was the glacial outlet to the ocean.
Jim said that the ridge to the north of us is the kame terrace of the glacier that emptied into San Sebastián Bay.He thinks that here are a whole bunch of kames stacked up on a large mass of unsorted material deposited by the glacier.This glacial material is now exposed in the sea cliffs.This large mass of glacial material is possibly the source of some of the gold that has been winnowed out due to erosion.
This bay’s tidal range is great.The tidal flats can go out for a long way when the tide is out, which is why there are no boats moored close by. We had the chance to go down to the beach and witness this for ourselves.The tide was out and the Patagonian wind was fierce.We all had fun taking photos of the bay, the sea cliffs and all the ripple marks.The beach was covered with a myriad of smooth, rounded metamorphic and igneous pebbles and shells.A few people ventured out onto the mud flats, while most everyone enjoyed beachcombing for Fuegian rock and shell treasures to bring home.
We are now back on the bus and out of the brisk wind.We are heading south, following the eastern coast of Tierra del Fuego toward Rio Grande.We had stopped in Rio Grande on our flight first day down to Patagonia.Driving through Rio Grande, one could not help but notice the red tubular structures that were lined up like soldiers along the main highway for at least a quarter of a mile.Jim commented how he was so taken by this display of public art!
It was back to more rolling grasslands for another couple hours with sea cliffs, terraces and tidal flats in the distance marking the eastern coast of the island.The pampas appears so desolate with its stark beauty.It is here where the wind rules.Then we reached the foothills of the Cordillera Darwin.We have crossed into the transition zone between the grasslands and the beech forests of the Cordillera Darwin.It nice to see road cuts with rocks exposed.It is also nice to see more topography and vegetation…and finally some trees!
We are heading to Lago Fagnano, which is located along the plate boundary between the South American Plate and the Scotia Plate.We cross over the plate boundary and stop at a wonderful viewpoint looking down on Lake Fagnano with dead trees marking its eastern shoreline.We stopped at the very picturesque Hostería Kaiken, which had a wonderful garden of red Icelandic poppies and brilliant purple, blue, pink, white and red lupines in full bloom.The afternoon sun made the lupines glow.We all enjoyed photographing and taking in such a beautiful sight!Jim told us that we would be back here for lunch tomorrow.We were all looking forward to that!
Back on the bus, we were now heading along the south shore of Lake Fagnano in search of our hotel for the night.The Hostería is along Lake Escondido (Hidden Lake), a smaller lake connected to Lake Fagnano to the south.Once we turned off the highway, we made our way down a narrow dirt road.It was so peaceful and beautiful traveling through the beech forest.The dirt road opened up to a large circle driveway and we were here…at the Hostería Petrel.What a gorgeous place!There was a big beautiful lodge next to Lake Escondido, but…. even better were the small log cabins placed all along the edge of the lake surrounded by a forest.It was heavenly!
The married couples were given rooms in the lodge.They all had a large master bedroom with a large Jacuzzi tub in their bathroom to enjoy.The rest of us were assigned to the log cabins along the lake.Ross and Barney McCasland got the closest cabin to the lodge.Joan Alger and I got the next one down.I’m not sure where everyone else was assigned.Joan and I loved our rustic cabin.We had a wonderful front porch that looked out over the lake.A tree in front of our porch had branches covered with wispy tendrils of Spanish moss hanging down like silky-fine yellow green hair waving in the breeze.The table, chairs and the beds inside were all handmade and constructed of logs.There was a master bedroom, a large bathroom, and the main living room, which had three beds and large windows looking out at the lake.The floors were wooden and the large windows had woven grass blinds.It was very cozy and comfortable.We chose to sleep in the front room looking out over the lake.Joan Alger exclaimed that the lamp hanging from the ceiling with a pleated white paper lampshade was just like her lamp at her home!Again, isn’t it a small world!
We all met at the lodge and watched the wonderful sunset and had dinner in the massive dining room.We had one waiter, who served all of us.He was so friendly, cheerful and fun.We had an exceptional meal that started with a great tuna salad appetizer, followed with really light, crispy French fries, a large salad with carrots and tomatoes tossed with a vinaigrette dressing, and a most excellent tasting steak.There was also vino tinto and blanco of course!Then to top it off, we had an ice cream sandwich dessert that hit the spot!The lodge fireplace had a great fire going.Everyone was in a festive mood.It was too bad that we have to leave this place tomorrow morning.This would have been a great place to stay for at least two nights so that we could enjoy the grounds and the amenities.
After dinner, we were teasing Raúl Mansilla, when he said that he wanted to go climb one of the nearby peaks tomorrow morning.Bob Osinski said he would climb up the peak with him at 7:00 A.M.We all know how much Raúl is an early morning person!However, Raúl kept saying he would do it.So, Bob O. said that he would be in the lobby early waiting for Raúl.This we will hear about tomorrow morning!
Bob Yeats, Joan Alger, and I walked back together towards our cabins.We stopped to look at the lake.It was so peaceful and beautiful.Back at our cabin, Joan and I laid on our beds in our front room with the lights off with our woven grass blinds rolled up and watched a distant campfire flickering across the lake on the far shore.We shared stories and wished we could be here for a little bit longer time.
Afternoon Scribe:John Williams, Reilly Chair of Morbid Anatomy and Deranged Physiology
In a trip filled with glaciers, magnificent wind-swept steppes and snow-covered peaks as far as the eye can see, I put down my copy of Moby Dick and pick up pen to start recording the minutes following our ferry ride over to Tierra del Fuego.Ah, always the wind!An occasional sighting of animal life, every once in a while a glacial erratic.And we had the pleasure of almost being incorporated into a massive herd of sheep.And such low population density.Has it occurred to anybody that we haven't heard an airplane since leaving Rio Gallegos Airport?Is there anywhere in continental US where one could spend a week without encountering air traffic for several days?
Well, yet another experience with mindless bureaucracy, this time in the form of a border crossing back into Argentina.Lunch at the Argentine Automobile Club followed by a talk by Leader Jim about the mineral content of beach sand in this area.This area has some phenomenal mineral wealth, almost untouched.
A long nap on the bus.I'm relieved that nobody had a pulmonary embolus.But it was worth it--the night was spent in cabins at the edge of an alpine lake--clearly one of the highlights of the trip.
This is the third trip I've done with GSA and this rank amateur greatly appreciates the specialized instruction that I get from you specialists in earth science.And I continue to be impressed by the scholarly bunch who go on these trips.I made a lot of good friends on this trip and hope to see you again.And I hereby solemnly promise that you'll NEVER have to see those horrid green corduroy pants EVER again (I quietly left them under a seat on the plane as we departed following our flight to Ushuaia.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 2002:Lago Escondido to Ushuaia
Morning Scribe:Bob Yates
After a beautiful evening, it rained during the night at Hostería Petrel, and the day began gray and gloomy. However, there were stories about going out and seeing the Southern Cross and Orion upside down before the storm came in. As we waited to leave, we saw lambs being roasted for cordero later in the day.
We headed back on RN 3 to Tolhuin and turned east on a side road to Estancia Correntina, the home of Sr. Oliva. As Carlos Costa had
anticipated, an eyewitness to the 1949 Tierra del Fuego earthquakes was still living at the estancia. He is Sr. Jose Caibul, 79 years old, a short, slim man who is still very active and who remembers the events of 1949, which he observed on the old RN 3 along the lake north of present-day Hostería Kaiken. He told us the story,and Jim Reynolds and I translated. (His account is in the field guide; he had also told the story to Carlos Costa.)
We walked in a drizzling rain over a ridge, which looks like
a pressure ridge to me, to the trench site on the banks of the Rio
San Pablo. The trench site was fully visible; obviously not filled
in according to OSHA standards in California, and the south-facing
scarp was still visible as well. After discussion of the geology,
Joan Baldwin led a short memorial to Dottie Stout. Several people
spoke about Dottie's life, and some of her ashes were spread at the
trench site. (This made quite an impression on Sr. Caibul.)
We walked back to the bus with Sr. Caibul. Sr. Oliva had
wanted to put on an asado for us, slaughtering and roasting a couple
of lambs. It would have been fun, but would have taken up the entire
day, so with the help of Angel, we excused ourselves from that
back to Tolhuin, according to Jim, the third largest
town in Tierra del Fuego after Rio Grande and Ushuaia. We took the
old RN 3 (Antigua Traza) to some cabanas and Hosterías along the
shore of Lago Fagnano and drove south to a place where the ground had
subsided in 1949, drowning beech trees that were still standing ,
dead, in ponded water. The south-facing scarp was visible off to the
east. I showed the trench log (couldn't do it at the trench site due
to rain) and discussed the paleoseismology and the possible offset
then rode to Hostería Kaiken, where all got out and walked
the last 100 m across a rickety wooden bridge so the bus could make
the crossing sin pasajeros. Lunch at Hostería Kaiken was a big
spread with a view of the lake, but there was a downpour as we left
to return to the bus.
Afternoon Scribe: Peter Kresan
At about 12:30 PM, we left the farm house at La Correntina after visiting the Fagnano Fault trench site.Drove back to Route 3 and then through the small town of Tolhuin to a road along the east shore of Lago Fagnano.Snags in a swampy area just east of the shoreline road are the relics of trees killed in 1949 by the December 17 M7.8 earthquake during which the east end of Lago Fagnano subsided, drowning trees.
The rain did not last very long and it sure helped to keep the dust down along the road. As we headed south on Route 3 to Ushuaia, the rain had stopped by the time the bus reached Paso Garibaldi, so we stopped for the view and photos in the pass.Lago Escondido and our lodging for the previous night were clearly visible.Lago Fagnano could be seen at times in the distance. Mary and the Ericas struck a dramatic pose at the overlook.
The scenery on the south side of the pass was spectacular as we traversed the Sierra Alvear to get to Ushuaia.Small glaciers and snowfields dotted the peaks, which were mostly snow free despite the storm.Timberline was about half way up the peaks, which in this area reached 1490 meters in elevation.We took one stop to check out a road cut of black, slaty shale and take photos of the scene. The shale contained lens of pyrite, red-brown oxidizing pyrite, and white quartz.Then it was on the Automobile Club of Argentina Hotelin Ushuaia.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening exploring Ushuaia, shopping, partying or whatever. Dinner was a delicate white fish with potatoes, salad, and ice cream for dessert.I do not remember the name of the restaurant, but it was located a few blocks east of our hotel.We climbed a spiral staircase into the place and had a great view of the waterfront.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2002:Estancia Harberton
Morning Scribe:George Sharp
We spent the night in Ushuaia at the Hotel Canal Beagle.The hotel was nice and situated on the main drag alongside the Canal Beagle in an older, interesting part of town.Some of the group, including the Sharps, didn't sleep well since the rooms were very warm.We ended up opening the window to get fresh air, but since our room faced the busy street, we heard drag races all night long.
I got up early to do a dawn walk of the town.Ushuaia has a population reported at about 35,000 and supports a naval base, some industry and a relatively active tourist trade.The town historically was tied to a prison, which operated from 1902 to 1947; the prison is now inside the naval base and couldn't be seen in my early wanderings.I did see a cruise ship dock and dump a slug of tourists (Russians?) into buses and vans.
Our breakfast started at 8:30 at the hotel and most of the gang turned out for a buffet-style feed.The Argentines do like their sweets, and dulce de leche was everywhere.We picked out what we thought were small hamburgers, but they turned out to be dulce de leche between two buns.There were pinwheel rounds, medialunas, sweet breads, cakes and good, hot, strong coffee, thank goodness.
We all waddled onto the bus and left at 9:40 for Estancia Harberton.After stopping at a grocery store for lunch supplies, and a YPF for directions, we learned that the road we wanted was closed, so we backtracked to the beginning and took another.This road was in fair shape, and we followed the Canal Beagle up and down wind-swept, barren hills for about two hours.There wasn't a whole bunch to see along the way, so Danielle and Ross drove me (and others?) crazy by learning Spanish words for parts of the body.They wanted to sing "put your right foot in…"and did.
Monte, as official PM Scribe, took copious notes and will describe details which escaped my beady eyes.However, I did pick up that fence posts were 1 meter apart, and every 10 meters, a large post was set (some of the wood used only lasted 7 years, but the prized cypress would last 120 years).Also, wool was almost worthless since the price dropped from $3.50/kilo to $1.00/kilo.Supplies in the old days only came by boat once a year (from Puerto Arenes or Buenos Aries) and sometimes took 18 months.They usually ordered up to 3 years worth of supplies, and that’s why there were so many buildings for storage.
We were told that Thomas's third son, E. Lloyd Bridges, wrote a highly popular book The Uttermost Part of the Earth, which is now out of print.The book is about his experiences on the estancia while growing up among the natives.We are presently enjoying a copy sent to us by Bob O.
All in all a great informative day, and I keep wondering how this small band of people could spend their lives in such a tough environment.
Afternoon Scribe:Monte Marshall
At 55 degrees South, 72 degrees West
Estancia Harberton, 30 miles east of Ushuaia, on the north shore of the Beagle Canal, only a few hundred miles from Antarctica!
As our group gathered that morning in what was part of the century-old farmhouse, the first house in this part of Tierra del Fuego, I was surprised at the appearance of the owner, Mr. Bridges. He seemed too shy to be the descendant of the hearty English missionary who was the first European to settle in Tierra del Fuego and build this house at the end of the nineteenth century. His more confident, American-born wife called him from another room and asked if he would be willing to give us a tour of the estancia/ranch buildings. Emerging from the dark room, he quietly said “yes” and proceeded to lead half of our group up a grassy knoll above the house. At the top, overlooking the buildings constructed so long ago along the shore of a small inlet that led south to the Beagle Canal, we surrounded him as he told us about his life.
Dressed in baggy, khaki pants and shirt and old rubber fishing boots, he recalled that his family had visited Scotland every three years, and that is where he was born.He spent some of his youth on the ranch and the rest in English boarding schools, and worked in Tierra del Fuego for most of his life raising cattle and sheep. That changed when the state built a road from Ushuaia to the estancia, providing access to people who then stole some of the cattle.A blizzard laid down 9 feet of snow causing two thirds of the remaining herd to die of hunger, and then the price of wool dropped so low that he couldn’t compete with the farmers in New Zealand. Now he is a gentleman farmer and gives tours to groups like ours. While he recounted his life in this place that even now is so isolated and desolate, I noticed that his shyness gave way to the confidence and earthly wisdom of a man who had learned how to survive, maintain this 60,000 acre ranch, and raise a family on this lonely, wind-swept tip of the bottom of the world.
Passing through a gate, he showed us his mother’s gravesite in the family graveyard and then took us through the woods, past a tree with a 90 degree kink in its over six inch-thick trunk. They had used this kind of bent tree trunk to make the frames of the small boats used to row into town before the road was opened. In the early days they raced the Argentine navy’s rowboats—the family never lost! J We hiked past replicas of the sapling tepees made by the now-extinct Indians who had lived here. He pointed out the three different species of trees native to the area. As at our other stops, they had leaves very different from the trees in North America, and we were once more reminded that we were walking in a Gondwanaland forest.
Returning to the buildings, he took us into the shearing house and showed how the sheep’s wool was stuffed and compressed into giant gunny sacks weighing 400 pounds each. From there we visited the boathouse and saw what was left of the family fleet! J. Our last stop, their garden, was one of my favorites. Here were flowers, shrubs, spices, and trees that the family had gathered from many places during their travels. Here were the smells and colors of any plant that had the courage, like them, to survive the deep winter snows and the cold winds that blow here even in their summer.
Later, back in Ushuaia, we dined at Tenedor Libre, which offered a buffet, as well as freshly-sliced meat brought to our individual tables.Before turning in for the night, a few hardy souls in our group stayed up to see the Sourthern Cross from the end of the world.
MONDAY, JANUARY 8, 2002:Beagle Canal Excersion
Scribes:Greg and Sally
9:15 am – We boarded the “Ana B” catamaran a couple of blocks from Canal Beagle, our hotel in Ushuaia.It was a nice boat with large windows for optimal viewing.We left the dock at 9:30 in a light rain but it quickly cleared up and was dry but breezy.The boat took us to a couple of sea lion haul-outs with numerous cormorants mixed in.Petrels would fly by to entertain us on occasion.The tour guide continued to emphasize that the white color on the rocks was guano from the bird colonies.Many of the cormorants were carrying pieces of kelp for making their nests.We also saw a couple of old light houses. On this trip we learned that “Ushuaia” means “Penetrating Bay” in the native Indian language.
We arrived back in Ushuaia at noon and walked to the hotel, then took the bus to El Turco for a pizza lunch. Ham and cheese pizza was just what we wanted after having ham and cheese for every breakfast since the start of the trip!But nevertheless it was tasty, and the beer helped wash it down.We got back on the bus at 3:00 and drove to Tierra del Fuego National Park.Our guide Pablo informed us of the surroundings.He told us we were 150 km from Cape Horn and the land we saw across the Beagle Canal was in Chile.We drove through areas that were clear cut to support the prison that existed in Ushuaia until 1947.We also passed a 9-hole golf course, the southernmost golf course in the world!
We made it to the park entrance at 3:20.Our first stop in the park was Bahía Ensenada where we looked at light green schistose rocks.There were round sponge-like things on the beach that we finally discovered were fungi called Indian Bread that grew in the trees overhead.We later stopped at Roca Lake and walked along the beach to a cafeteria where we had snacks and hot drinks.A young man fly fishing at the lake outlet claimed there were trout up to 10 pounds in the lake.
I don’t know if it was because the trip was almost over, or if people were just getting punchy, but Mary started telling jokes on the way back out of the park.A sample follows (You need to voice these to get the jist.):
What do you call a deer with no eyes?
What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?
Still no idea.
What do you call a deer with no eyes, no legs, and no penis?
Still no f---in’ idea.
There were more, but that’s about all I can put in print.
We then stopped at Bahía Lapataia and hiked up and over a hill to the water.A few of the folks who knew Dottie Stout had a small ceremony and threw some of her ashes into the bay.We explored a pink-tinted beach that ended up to be entirely made up of mussel shells.Those of us who took part in the port-a-potties were pleased to note that they flushed!
On the way back to Ushuaia we stopped to take photographs of a family of geese and then some mountains highlighted in the sunshine.We got back to the hotel at 7:45 and had a cocktail party to use up the remainder of Don’s New Year’s Eve loot
TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2002:Ushuaía to Miami
It was a little hard for me to respond to the 6:30 call but a quick shower helped me wake up.After gulping breakfast, we left the hotel at 8:15 for the airport.As is typical of Aerolineas Argentinas, no one was there when we arrived.We paid $13 each as a departure tax and then discovered that our 9:40 flight wasn’t leaving until 11:20.
The previous night, John assured me that his green corduroy pants would never make it north of Ushuaía.When we got to the airport, Jack discovered he had left his red polar fleece at the hotel.I told this to Angel, and he went off to see if the hotel could send it out by taxi. This was 25 minutes before departure.We boarded the plane.The last two people on were Angel and Raúl.They had Jack’s fleece…and John’s pants!John left his pants on the plane when we got to Aeroparque—on someone else’s seat!
I sat with Judy on the 3-hour flight to Buenos Aires.I had some nice views of the Patagonian coast.All of the bags made it, so we loaded them into the Manuel Tienda León bus. We said good-bye to the Shropshires who were flying to Bariloche for a couple of weeks. After piling onto the bus, we headed for the bus office on Santa Fe.We met our city tour guide and said farewell to Angel and Raúl who were flying back to Salta at 5:00.They did a good job for us.
Josephine, our tour guide, took us on a pretty standard tour with brief walks at the Rose Garden, the Recoleta Cemetery, and the Plaza de Mayo/National Cathedral.It is amazing how few people are in the city in January.We didn’t have time to visit La Boca, unfortunately.I shot a lot of video, particularly at the cemetery.
Our flight was supposed to leave at 10:55, but minor mechanical problems delayed our take-off until about 12:30.I was starving.Fortunately dinner was served quickly.I read some and tried to watch a movie, but was soon fast asleep.
For those who didn’t hear of Barney’s cane incident, let me recap.We took my dad’s cane with us upon my sister’s suggestion and carried it through security in Midland, Miami, Buenos Aires, and Ushuaia airports without incident.On the return trip at the Buenos Aires International security gate, the X-ray technician spotted something unusual in Barney’s things.I immediately thought of his rocks, but they were interested in his cane.Unbeknownst to us was a two foot long sword hidden inside the cane.
The security team really gave my dad a time, but the head of security, a rational sort, allowed Jim Reynolds to pack the cane-sword in his things.Barney retrieved the cane in Miami and told me that he intended to walk it through security again.“Oh no, not again!” I thought.Well, after a little more persuading and a search to find some long cardboard, I successfully got that little nemesis checked in as a luggage item.It was a good thing too, because you all will recall the careful searches at security.Security checked several of us for hoof and mouth nematodes and Barney (84 years old) had to remove his boots for possible explosives.This act I found humorous, even as it reminded me of the terror of the previous months.
We returned to Midland in great shape and I continued on to Lubbock.Well, there was one exception that statement.Barney checked his blood pressure after refusing to take his pills during the entire trip, and it was well elevated into stroke range.Thanks be to God.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2002:Miami to Brevard
I awoke about 5 am Miami time and had a decent in-flight breakfast.In spite of our late departure, we arrived only 35 minutes late, around 6:15.I gave Barney back his walking stick before customs.It looked like everyone’s bags arrived.I said good-bye to as many folks as I could, but our late arrival meant that people dispersed quickly to get to their connecting flights.I got to my Delta gate just as my row was boarding.I nodded off a little at the beginning of the flight, but rallied when breakfast was served.The 1 hour 20 minute flight went fast.I had lunch at Wendy’s in the Atlanta airport.
My flight from Atlanta to Asheville left on time with a strong tail wind, so we arrived an amazing 15 minutes early.I didn’t realize this at first, so I was disappointed that Elise wasn’t there to meet me.My bag came off quickly. I called the house, but no one answered, so I started wondering if Elise had left the car in the parking lot for me to pick up.I left my bags with an airport employee and started walking the lot.After 10 minutes, I found it!I brought it around to the arrivals area, but was bummed to see a sign saying that unattended cars would be towed.Another said immediate pick up and drop off only.I stopped there, opened the back hatch and went into the airport.A distant cop whistled at me as I went in, but I ignored him.As I entered, there was Elise!We had missed crossing paths by minutes due to my early arrival.I grabbed my bags and dashed back to the car just before Cowboy Bob, the rootin’-tootin’, bronco bustin’ parking lot cop got there and read me the riot act.He was an idiot.My mind reeled with sarcastic comments. I wanted to ask him how long ago he had been promoted to parking lot duty but refrained, figuring he’d probably throw me in jail if I exposed his ignorance.I played meek and dumb to satisfy his need to be important. In two minutes it was over, and we were on our way.
We jabbered the whole way to Sylva.Elise starts at Brevard tomorrow.She took me to a tiny Sushi place that recently opened in town.We got take-out, and then drove to the house and ate it.I stayed until she had to go to work.I called Edna Collis at GSA and gave her a synopsis of the trip.She was delighted.I drove over to Brevard via US 276.I ate dinner at Cielito Lindo and was surprised to see how many students were back already.I drove down to Jones and moved my baggage back in… Another good trip is history.
Bob Osinski's Observations:
What a wonderful trip -- especially for someone like me, who always wanted to be a bus driver. There were many days that I simply wished for longer days riding in that marvelous bus! With my keen awareness of other’s feelings, I knew that I was not alone. It’s a metaphysical certitude that Mel Cragin, George Sharp, and John Williams were kindred spirits with me in this.
I asked a heavily-bearded fellow traveler about “scribing” for a part of a day, even an hour, but was told, “The list is closed, Bob.” I did not want to be “left out,” so Danielle suggested that I contribute by offering some general commentary.
In extensive conversations with Danielle, I learned that several Patagonian GeoTrip participants have been working long hours editing video footage for distribution to the group. Although most of us would gladly contribute financially to the distribution of “product(s),” an especially well-founded rumor is that Monte has volunteered to underwrite any “extraordinary” costs. Well “offered” Monte! We love you, man! However, in the event that this rumor is incorrect, others may wish to contribute.
Also if any in the group have a few special images and commentary, I would love to see them --
Special thanks to George for providing such tremendous guidance and support for Danielle and Joan Baldwin in designing our treasured T-shirt and editing our “notes.” Some of us who traveled with George on a previous Argentine trip believe that the lack of “becoming lost” on this second trip is directly attributed to George’s nightly meetings with Angel. I’m certainly thankful, George, but next time -- more thought to consistency in the quality of meals.
Overall, at some time or another, everyone in our group made me smile. In part this is a reflection of my own attitude/philosophy. I watched faces and listened to public conversations, as we “encountered” each day’s events and activities. Those of you who are over 70 really impressed me with your endurance. I hope to do as well. In all experiences/conversations, I appreciated all of you as my “teachers."
Joan A - Joan’s generous spirit was evidenced almost daily. I’m sure the time she spent helping Peter with his photography was appreciated. Again on this trip, Joan continually checked with many participants re: keeping their passports secure. I believe that her ability to maintain such a pleasant sense of humor was directly attributed to her encounters with the penguins and chasing sheep. Now if I can only get her to share some of her photographs with me.
Joan B - Special thanks for our T-shirts. Each time I looked at Joan reminded me of the 2000 trip, seeing the love that flowed between her and Dottie Stout. As Joan presided over the thoughtful fertilizing release of a part of Dottie at numerous places along our course, I thought of how spending only one trip with Dottie had affected me. I’m sure that Joan will continue to spread the spirit of Dottie to other travelers, friends, and acquaintances . . . with stories from past “Dottie Trips.”
Greg- It was always a pleasure to see you smile, as it generated one from me. I enjoyed watching your thoughtful exploration of the geology at our stops. Conversations were always pleasant, whether over delicious luncheon pizza or “fine” local wines at a late night “gathering.” For me listening to your stories of life in Alaska renewed my determination to spend an extended visit there. I was “bothered” by your more luxuriant growth of hair. Will drinking Alaskan water help me?
Cristy - Your personality, enthusiasm, and honest conversation reduced the length of the bus rides. I looked forward to seeing a “fellow” geographer again after our 21-day, Argentina 2000, trip. Also, listening to stories of your previous trip to Ushuaia and Antarctica were interesting. Even more fascinating were your future travel plans. I can only hope that your experiences will be at least as stimulating as those of Argentina, 2001-2002. After your purchases of “select” pieces of local jewelry, I offer my help in planning a new wing on your house to display the entire Argentine collection.
Mel - It seems you have found another career path, i.e., in professional video. I will be disappointed if the short sequence illustrating the unique pattern of penguin elimination etiquette, which you recorded and so artfully edited, is not seen on The Discovery Channel within the year. In watching you “relate” to fellow travelers with such genuine interest, I can see why you are so loved by your staff and so “irritating” to your immediate supervisor at Waste Central. Your plan to make this trip tax-deductible by recording Patagonian waste disposal methods is great! Was that Mark’s idea?
Jack- The first time I saw your face, I knew you. My only friend in Maryland was a geologist educated in the Appalachians -- you are so much like him. Your speech patterns, sense of humor, laugh, insightfulness, body form, and demeanor are remarkably similar. The only radical difference was your very measured approach to adult beverages. My friend Clare really likes his beer. Any evening by a warm fire listening to your life story and experiences with model railroading would be a pleasure . . . perhaps on another GSA trip.
Jessie- As your husband reminded me of my friend, Clare, you reminded me of Clare’s wife, Joan, such a strong woman. I had a great time conversing with you at a couple of dinners. My rare experience imbibing adult beverages was, none-the-less, greatly enhanced by you suggesting that I try several pisco sours. I still don’t recall the reasons you listed for the necessity of having six of them. No doubt this is “local custom.” I will always treasure the conversations in which we “argued” politics. Your sweater selections were just marvelous.
Mary D - It is difficult to assess the impact that an errant microbe had on our trip. All of us are aware of the “butterfly” effect in our chaotic weather/climate systems. The group will never know “what could have been.” Losing your voice for such a period deprived many of us your wit. The smile was there, the twinkle in your eyes was obvious, but words were few. I was impressed by your ability to communicate with Chris, despite the laryngitis. Before the microbe (BM) I recall overhearing a discussion you were having with some of our group, re: dealing with students. It seems that your institution and students are fortunate to have you. What a pleasure sitting beside you on our trip in the fjord aboard the “Gravitas,” sharing philosophies.
J. Freeman - I am normally a VERY positive person, but I just cannot think of anything positive to say about you -- perhaps it was the alcohol, or maybe your personality was just too obtuse or complex for me. It may be that your background at MIT in geophysics and high intellect precluded awareness of your wisdom. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt that I am at fault here.
Sarah - I just love your name, but again, I’m somewhat at a loss in remembering you. I like to think I have somewhat of a photographic memory for female faces, but your visage is really without expression in my psyche. Perhaps we sat in different parts of the bus -- it was very large you know. In any case, I’m sure you were beautiful, wise, witty, and elegant. Perhaps that is why we never met.
Don H - One of my fellow "GeoTrippers" with whom I did not have a conversation, but "noticed" as a result of the New Year's festivities. I had a great time because you seemed to be having such a great time. I believe that no one in our group would have reacted in such an entertaining way to winning a basket of goodies. It seemed that there was something mystical (almost Biblical) about your generosity in sharing "booty," which resulted in a multiplication of food/wine/beer for more socializing and opportunities for us to know one another. I also noticed that you rarely let anyone or anything stop you - what an impressive style leaving the plane in Miami! Great work, Don!
Peter - What a guy! You remind me of my great major advisor in undergraduate school -- only better. Watching your eyes as you perceived a photo opportunity drew my attention, i.e., I tried to see what interested you -- I was not disappointed. Several participants knew you from previous trips and mentioned your passion and knowledge for photography. I listened as you shared some of your expertise with others. Thank-you for the references you sent me to strengthen my teaching. I look forward to seeing your still images and video, preferably in the company of Jack D.
Dale- I can’t believe you still had apricots left from our trip in 2000! You’ve convinced me that laser surgery is worth my consideration. As on the 2000 trip, I thoroughly enjoyed your sense of humor, positive attitude, and intellectual insight. I’m sure that everyone appreciated your efforts helping so much with the numerous transfers of luggage. I can remember how happy I was when Mel told me you and Grace were going on this trip -- no disappointment.
Grace - I continued my observation of your “walk” on this trip -- one of the very best I’ve observed. Unfortunately, I was unable to observe your shopping prowess. Unlike the 2000 trip when many shopping opportunities occurred with small local artisans, the more urban setting on this trip provided more “cover.” Is it possible that after so much success in 2000, that Dale kept your successes “private?” I can still “see” you and Dale strolling along the streets of Ushuaia.
Monte - Your smile, enthusiasm, obvious passion for teaching, and generosity were at times “dominating.” When engaged in conversation, enjoying the moment, the meal, the adult beverage -- I felt your spirit. I know your passion for life is sometimes misunderstood by others as bordering on obnoxious, but keep up the good work. To know you is to love you, especially sharing “extra” pisco aboard one of our scenic boat trips. I recalled meeting you on another trip along the Snake River and benefited from your wisdom in explaining that which we observed. I heard rave reviews of your efforts as emcee on the final evening. Such talent . . . “on loan from God.” -- as Rush Limbaugh would say.
Barney - You were so very kind to spend some time with me . . . telling me about a few of your vast experiences in the oil industry. Your genuine interest in wanting to meet everyone, find out something about each of us taught me something. I tend to be more “closed” on trips, but am learning. While handling the rigors of long days with strength, your very gentle spirit was apparent. Wish that I were closer to Texas and the opportunity to learn more from you. Your family is fortunate to have you.
Ross - You are a “tour de force,” virtually a genius in fitting suitcases into buses. Between you and Dale - wow! You were incredibly kind, efficient, helpful, and supportive to all of us, acknowledged or not. Whether facing the challenge of another packing/unpacking “adventure,” helping in serving meals, collecting tips, or giving special, loving attention to your dad -- You Were the Best! It seems to me that you are a great son and a very effective teacher. I never did find out what you like most like to cook, but I’m sure I would love to taste it.
Chris - I was envious of the hair. Listening to some of your educational philosophy was “illuminating.” Of even greater interest was our group conversation about the “fairer sex.” I hope I learned some things that will help me be more successful. This made the long bus ride even more entertaining; although, rumor has it that not everyone in adjoining seats was as appreciative. I respected your honest comments, especially concerning the importance of being sensitive to others. One of my most enjoyable afternoons was spent imbibing adult beverages and sharing observations about life with you aboard the vessel “Gravitas” on our trip to see glaciers.
Mark - The heavily-bearded one offered many of us great levity. Although you live only three hours and fifteen minutes from me, the most time we’ve spent together since our meeting in 1986, was on this trip. You are one of those people with whom I could spend eternity. Our many walks, conversations, and meals together will be cherished until . . . Your generosity (bordering on the philanthropic) in supporting so many local businesses selling adult beverages almost brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure your sensitivity to the monetary crisis in Argentina was foremost in your mind.
Ruth - You are such a beautiful person. As with your “hubby” - Mark John, we are geographically so close, but . . . I loved your sense of humor, enthusiasm, and pleasant conversation in the “back of the bus.” Also, no one was quite as sharing of their chocolate. It was such “silliness,” i.e., taking pictures of the “bear,” but just the type of thoughtfulness for family that characterizes you. It was wonderful being with you as you embark on the second half of your life.
Erica the Minor - one of the next generation of geologists. As you expressed “Love geology! . . .I’m desperately passionate . . . many of us witnessed that ingredient in your activities on our trip. Seeing you hike along the trail, involved in discussions, and pursuing knowledge of Earth was exciting for me. It would be great to have students with your enthusiasm in my classes. Personally, one of your most enjoyable traits was your acerbic sense of humor.
Erica the Major - another of the next generation of geologists. It’s still hard to believe that the two Erica’s are identical twins -- at least that’s what Mark told me. I was fortunate to have been able to chat with you at length on our flight to Río Gallegos. Finding a kindred spirit despite the generation difference was pleasant. Your dedication to mental and physical fitness is relatively rare today. One of my most enjoyable afternoons was our view from a hilltop near Torres del Paine -- amazing how the temperature changed.
Jim- This was my second Argentinean trip with you. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to you for making these experiences possible. I know that I have seen landscapes that relatively few people, much less geologists have viewed. As a geographer, sampling the food, drink, people, and other cultural attributes makes my teaching more “real.” Discussions at dinners, comparing “notes” on life’s experiences helped me gain perspective. Good fortune in future travels.
Sally - another generation of geologists, older than the Erica’s, younger than mine. I noted that you are pursuing an MBA -- related to the business aspect of geology? You are one of the four reasons I’d like to visit, perhaps live in Alaska -- the “four” corresponding to the AK contingent on this trip. You are such a nice person. I will always remember the meals together, judicious amounts of adult beverages, especially over pizza, and a wonderful sense of humor. Seeing the excitement in your eyes as you talk about Alaska is reason enough for me making a trip there.
George - my third trip with you and here’s hoping for several decades of future trips. I’m sure you will find much to do in “retirement.” As on previous trips I selfishly took so much of your time, but the benefits to me are so great. You continue to amaze me with your powers of observation, analytical abilities, and keen sense of humor. You are among the several people on this trip with whom I would sail around the world.
Danielle - You are truly a rare lady. Many thanks for taking the time to edit the “Scribe Notes” for this trip. The many meals we shared were rich in conversation about family, personalities, and past travels. Shopping with you and George was an experience. Without your continuing mastery of the language, both shopping and some of our lunches would not have been as pleasant. The “control” you exercise over people with the “look” continues to impress.As with George I look forward to your company on many more trips.
Lee - Although having only a brief personal conversation with you, I none-the-less enjoyed your company. What I remember most was your sense of humor. I appreciated your frequent amusing comments and observations. You were another of those very pleasant personalities that make a long day shorter.I hope your sore knee didn't give you too many problems as you continued on your extended journey after leaving us in Buenos Aires.
Carol - As with your husband I only remember very limited discussion; you offered some very wise comments in a group discussion on one of those infamous bus rides.Some of the words that come to mind as I reflect on seeing you are competent, focused, and “funny.”It was a relief to all of us to know that you are a nurse, especially for your husband after his unfortunate fall.We're all anxious to hear about the remainder of your trip in South America.
Don T - You were VERY intellectually stimulating - - geologically and philosophically. Your probing questions and statements made me “think.” Your concern for elevating achievement and value to the university over politics in naming a building made me think of a couple of issues at my college. Your reasoning and spirit has led me to “tackle” these issues with determination. Many thanks for the inspiration.
Julia - How terrific it must be for the professionals in the Institute to know that if a source is needed, you will procure it. The “light” in your eyes reveals such a zest for performing in every aspect of life. You and Don are two of the four reasons I want to visit Alaska. On the last evening I took a photograph of you as Peter poured you an adult beverage. The “light” is there.
Mary Emma - I wish I had spent more time asking you questions about your career. One of my joys is listening to successful professional people for use as examples in my classes. Your major in physics is relatively rare. Perhaps you will be so kind as to send me your story. One of my favorite sections of Investor’s Business Daily is the profile of successful people. I often reference these in class. It is so much better to have actually met someone and learned their story. My uncle used to regularly visit Malvern for religious retreats. I missed asking about Catholic facilities there.
Gary - You were so nice to help me understand the geology observed at the road cut where we found numerous fossils. Every time I heard your laughter on the trip, I could only wish I had been a student of yours. The “twinkle” in your eyes reminded me of a blend of Santa Claus and the “Devil,” -- a mostly benign devil of course. I noted that you like to fish. One of these years George is going to plan a fishing trip.Should this event occur would you be interested?
Beverly - I captured your lovely face in a photograph on the last night in Ushuaia. I’m smiling now as I look at this photograph and recall numerous very short, but “dense” comments you made to me. The comments reminded me of many that my very wise mother made to me. The only other “images” I have of you are memories of you and Gary walking the streets. Doesn’t he have such a long stride?
John - This is my second trip with you; you were another Snake River companion. Other than your keen intellect and eclectic interests, I most appreciate your jokes. As I recall you had the most expressive characterization of our longish bus rides. My spelling checker did not recognize the main word, so I left it “out.” I would love to read one of your books one day, and then discuss your ideas over several adult beverages.
Robert Y.- How could someone named “Robert” not be a man of intelligence and character? Your presence on the trip, providing geologic expertise, was a pleasant surprise. In addition to learning numerous things about the geology of our travel area, I most enjoyed our conversation in the terminal at Ushuaia. George had told me how impressed he was with your expertise on earthquakes. The perspective and some history of your work will be a part of my comments to students in years to come. Thank-you.
GLACIAL GEOLOGY RESOURCE GUIDE
Definitions of glacial geology terms according to the American Geological Institute’s Glossary of Geology (1987, Third Edition by Bates and Johnson) are provided here primarily for those of us who can’t remember what these terms actually mean since we took Geology 101 so long ago!
drumlin - A low, smoothly rounded, elongate oval hill, mound, or ridge composed of compact glacial till, or less commonly, other kinds of drift (sandy till, varved clay), built under the margin of the ice and shaped by its flow, or carved out of an older moraine by readvancing ice.Its longer axis is parallel to the direction of movement of ice.It usually has a blunt nose pointing in the direction from which the ice approached, and a gentler slope tapering in the other direction.Height is 8-60 meters, average 30 meters.Length is 4000-2000 meters, average 1,500 meters.
esker - A long, narrow, sinuous, steep-sided ridge composed of irregularly stratified sand and gravel that was deposited by a subglacial or englacial stream flowing between ice walls or in an ice tunnel of a stagnant or retreating glacier, and it was left behind when the ice melted.It may be branching and is often discontinuous, and its course is usually at a high angle to the edge of the glacier. Eskers range in length from less than 100 meters to more than 500 kilometers (if gaps are included), and in height from 3 meters to more than 200 meters.
kame - A low mound, knob, hummock or short irregular ridge, composed of stratified sand and gravel deposited by a subglacial stream as a fan or delta at the margin of a melting glacier.
kame terrace - A terrace-like ridge consisting of stratified sand and gravel formed as a glaciofluvial (glacial stream) or glaciolacustrine (glacial lake) deposit between a melting glacier or a stagnant ice lobe and a higher valley wall or lateral moraine. The kame terrace is left standing after the disappearance of the ice.A kame terrace terminates a short distance down stream from the terminal moraine.
kettle - A steep-sided, usually basin- or bowl- shaped hole or depression, commonly without surface drainage, in glacial drift deposits (especially outwash and kame fields), often containing a lake or a swamp.Formed by the melting of a large, detached block of stagnant ice (left behind by a retreating glacier) that has been wholly or partly buried in the glacial drift.Kettles range in depth from about a meter to tens of meters, and in diameter to as much as 13 meters.Thoreau’s Walden Pond is an example.
kettle lake - A body of water occupying a kettle, as in a pitted outwash plain or in a kettle moraine.
lateral moraine - A low ridge-like moraine carried on, or deposited at or near the side margin of a mountain glacier.It is composed chiefly of rock fragments loosened from the valley walls either by glacial abrasion or plucking, or by falling into the ice from bordering slopes.A lateral moraine can also be and end moraine built along the side margin of a glacial lobe occupying a valley.
terminal moraine - The end moraine, extending across a glacial valley as an arcuate or crescentic ridge that marks the farthest advance or maximum extent of a glacier.The outermost end moraine of a glacier or ice sheet.
Note:To learn more, go to the Montana State University at Bozeman Glaciers and Glacial Geology web page at < >.This is an excellent place to learn all about glaciers and how they work.The overview section called Glaciers 101 is very informative.
Another resource is the University of Cincinnati Glacial Geology web site at < >.This web site has cool photos of all sorts of glacial geology features around the world.
Where Will GSA Patagonia Participants Be in 2005?
Contributed by Mel Cragin
Dale Kunitomi – Owns and operates the “Señor Dale Kunitomi Tango Club” in Buenos Aires, a hot spot for oil and gas consultants and sheepherders.The Club is famous for serving dried apricots.
Grace Kunitomi – Is now traveling only to places with warm temperatures and has opened up another franchise of “Shorts By Grace” in Ushuaia (others are in Denpasar, Indonesia and in Shanghai, China) featuring an exclusive line of Merino wool shorts for Glacier Excursions along with her world-famous sheepskin upholstered furniture.
Christy Brenner – Is the happy owner of “Bromeliads Are Us” with new stores opening up in El Calafate, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.Look for one in your neighborhood coming soon!
Carol Shropshire – Runs the “Hostería Shropshire”, a Ski Lodge and Summer Campground, in Bariloche, Argentina with Lee.It is located on a lake and the lodge is complete with an Internet Café and Jacuzzi Hot Tubs in every room.
Lee Shropshire – Runs the Hostería Shropshire in Bariloche, Argentina with Carol.He also leads Geology Hikes and continues to teach First Aid for knees.
Jack Donahue – Has moved into semi-retirement as Patagonia’s number-one Male Sweater Model and has been seen in photos spreads featured in Model Railroading and GQ.He continues to reside with Jessie near Bahía San Sebastián.
Jessie Donahue – Manages the “Donahue Estancia and Dude Ranch” near Bahía San Sebastián where they are famous for their “Rhea Roundup Days” and for throwing the Best “Pisco Happy Hours” starting at 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm every night before dinner.
Monte Marshall – Has started the privately funded Monte Marshall University in Ushuaia where he teaches Geology and Etymology whenever he wants.The University has only male waiters in the cafeterias, which serves dishes featuring Guanaco and rhea.
Bob Yeats – Is a visiting professor at Monte Marshall University for the Fall and Spring Semesters.Bob is hosting a Scotia Plate Symposium and wine tasting event during Summer 2005.He will be available to autograph special edition trench logs.
Julia Triplehorn – Has been reunited with her long-lost relatives in Oxnard, CA and now shares her time as the Summer Director of the Austral Geological and Seismology Center at Lake Fagnano. She is often asked to be a guest speaker at Monte Marshall University.
Don Triplehorn – Owns the number one satellite phone company in the world, which features the extremely popular “Don Trip Wristwatch Model”.He continues to teach at University of Alaska, Fairbanks during the winter and runs a summer field camp along the South American and Scotia Plate Boundary near Lago Fagnano.
Greg Bernaski – Is the Principal Spokesperson for REI Adventure Wear Clothing in South America.Greg, an Adventure Guide in Torres del Paine National Park, gives geology lectures and tests various REI clothing lines designed for climbing the Cerros, shooting the rapids and waterfalls, and for sampling the local Austral beer at the various lodges throughout the park.
Sally Rothwell – Is the Director of the Environmental Affairs Department for the Chilean National Oil and Gas Company located in Puerto Natales, Chile. On weekends, Sally works part-time with Greg as a Geology Adventure Guide in Torres del Paine National Park and assists Greg with the necessary sampling of the local Austral beer.
Joan Alger – Has opened her 34th worldwide “Party Girl Palace” franchise in Costa Rica.The original “Party Girl Palace” in El Calafate continues to be her best club, often frequented by the Erics, Mary Dowse, Don Hagen and Chris Metzler.
Erica “Little Erica” Palson – Is traveling around the world trying out various geology jobs, but comes back every New Year to El Calafate to learn more party techniques from the infamous “Party Girl”, Joan Alger.
Erica “Tall Erica” Peterson – Owns her own Engineering Geology Consulting Firm in St. Paul, Minnesota.Erica also has a satellite office in Rio Verde, Chile that specializes in the slope stability of estancia buildings located on top of drumlins, kames and moraines. Erica’s firm is famous for their trench logs.
Don Hagen – Continues his New Year’s Celebration from 2002.Don enjoys his semi-retirement by teaching tango lessons and party cheerleading around the world. Don has been sighted still carrying that famous gift basket from party to party.He has been known to frequent the “Party Girl Palace” in El Calafate commemorating, “Where it all began”.
Mark Nicolich – Is the 15th new Presidente of Argentina.He was the 8th new Presidente during the summer of 2002, but was ousted when he named Bob Osinski as his Minister of Pisco.Presidente Nicolich came back in the favor of the populous in 2003 when he decreed that dried cheese sandwiches would be banished forever from Patagonia.Presidente Nicolich was elected by an unprecedented 98% voter turnout.
Ruth Nicolich – Is the First Lady of Argentina and continues to be the mother of Raúl, Argentina’s National Treasure.
John Williams – Has come back to Patagonia every year to ride the bus and to read his books.John’s cutting edge research on the nutritional merits and pathology of the ubiquitous Patagonia cheese sandwich has led to his appointment as “Chief Medical Consultant” for Argentina by Presidente Nicolich.
Danielle Sharp – Is a world-renown computer Scribe Book publisher.She has published 50 scribe books to date in both English and Castellano and is ready to take on any new project.She also troubleshoots computer problems and hosts an on-line chat room where she can solve any computer problem you may be experiencing.
George Sharp – Has come out of retirement to be Presidente Nicolich’s “Heat Minister.”George is so hot, he has been assigned to bring back the “Fuego” in Tierra del Fuego.He has been seen setting the Pampas on fire by just standing still.Glaciers are receding and lake levels throughout the region are dramatically rising since George has taken on his new role.
Bob Osinski – Is the owner of Osinski’s Asado BBQ and Penguineria in Rio Gallegos.His signature dish is called “Silence of the Lambs” and the dress code is “tuxedo required.”After his very brief (2 hours) service as Argentina’s “Minister of Pisco” in 2002, Bob O. received a new appointment in the new Nicolich administration in 2003 as the “Minster of Sheepherding.” It is rumored that the sheep continue to be nervous.
Mary Emma Wagner – Answered Presidente Nicolich’s appeal in 2003 to become Argentina’s new “Minister of Pisco”.The Argentina citizens embraced Mary Emma’s appointment when she zestfully took on the challenge to diligently sample this “Nectar of the Pampas” served at various venues such as “Senor Dale Kunitomi’s Tango Club”, the “Donahue Estancia” and “the Monte Marshall University” to ensure that the highest standards of quality and quantity are met.She continues this tradition in 2005.
Gary Webster – Is preparing for the Grand Opening of Patagonia’s first geology adventure park at Punta Delgada called “Crinoid World.” Located along the scenic northern shore of the Straits of Magellan, it will be an educational haven where audio-animatronics crinoid forests can wave underwater in the Straits and also in the Patagonian wind.
Bev Webster – Is on a worldwide book signing tour promoting her number-one best seller, “Guanacos, The Bus, My Pinkie and Tea,” a comprehensive compendium on the proper etiquette of drinking tea while viewing guanacos from a moving tour bus traversing the Pampas.She is scheduled to be at “Party Girl Palace” on New Year’s Eve, the “Donahue Estancia” in mid-January, Monte Marshall University in late January, “Hostería Shropshire” in early February, “Senor Dale Kunitomi’s Tango Club” on Valentine’s Day, and ending with a visit to the Presidential Palace for a command book signing for Presidente Nicolich and First Lady Ruth.
Chris Metzler – Is a National Geographic correspondent who has hosted television shows highlighting Magellanic Penguins, Stylolites and Fossils, and Coastal Processes. Chris is currently working on a Special Assignment Project called, “Teaching Geology in Southern California Community Colleges,” but comes back to Patagonia when he can to hang out with the gang at Joan Alger’s “Party Girl Palace.”
Mary Dowse – Can be seen performing live stand-up comedy nightly on the premier “Geology and Glaciers” cruise ships that ply the waters of Lago Argentina, Lago Fagnano and the Beagle Channel.Mary’s live routine covers icebergs, laryngitis, and the perils of Patagonian cheese sandwiches.
Barney McCasland – Still goes to his office every day in Midland to check on potential geology adventures.Barney also now owns an airport security guard company called “The Caine Scrutiny” in Buenos Aires that screens boarding passengers carrying potential concealed surprises.
Ross McCasland – Takes his Boy Scout troop to Torres del Paine every summer for their Glacier Geology Merit Badge.They later travel to the “Donahue Estancia” to earn their Gaucho Merit Badge, and then finish up at “Hostería Shropshire” to earn their Skiing and First Aid merit badges.
Joan Baldwin – Is an active member of an artist colony along Lago Fagnano.Joan B. owns a graphics arts company that specializes in Geology Field Trip T-shirts.Her largest clients are the Monte Marshall University in Ushuaia and the Lubbock, Texas Boy Scouts.
Peter Kresan – Has been appointed by Presidente Nicolich as the “National Photographer of Argentina.”Peter has been assigned to closely follow Presidente Nicolich to photograph his every move. The most spectacular photos are Peter’s close-ups of the Presidente after his 23rd toast of Pisco at the “Party Girl Palace” in El Calafate on New Years Eve 2004.
Freeman Gilbert – Continues to travel stealthily across the Pampas and Glaciers of Patagonia.It is rumored that James has been sighted at the ready-to-open Crinoid World and on the “Geology and Glaciers” Cruise Ship on Lago Argentina. He loves to eat at the infamous Osinski’s Asador BBQ and Penguineria.
Sara Gilbert – Is rumored to also be traveling through Patagonia.Sara has stopped in at “Shorts By Grace” in Ushuaia and at “Bromeliads Are Us” in Punta Arenas according to local sources in the area.Sara is signed up for Don Triplehorn’s 2005 Summer Field Camp at Lago Fagnano.
Raúl Mansilla – Is still napping at the back of the bus.When he is awake, Raúl owns and manages the hottest disco in Ushuaia.It is always packed with students from Monte Marshall University. The Matte Bar gets two thumbs up.Don Hagen sightings have been reported at this locale.
Angel Mansilla – Is still leading tours to Patagonia.The expanded winery tours are a big hit.People who have taken these tours claim to see more condors, rheas, guanacos, pink penguins and Yeti.Angel now also has a special “Viento Patagonia” Tour in which all participants ride on top of the bus the entire time across the Pampas.
Mel Cragin – Is undergoing surgery to remove the on-going recording video camera that has fused to her right hand and left eye.When asked what she will do once the surgery is complete, Mel announced that she would still be reviewing the 17 hours of videotape shot during the 2001-2002 GSA trip to Patagonia.
Jim Reynolds – Has struck gold and now owns Patagonia.He lets Presidente Nicolich think he was voted in.Jim still dabbles in magnetostratigraphy by day and performs tango on special occasions at “Senor Dale Kunitomi’s Tango Club” by night.