Monday, December 8, 2008

Hiking With an Assassin

By Louise

After spending two days in El Calafate standing around gawking at glaciers, we felt the need to seriously stretch our legs on some hiking trails. So we headed to El Chalten, a dusty town within the Parque National Los Glaciares in southern Patagonia. It’s a small, granola/tourist town that was settled in 1985. The town accommodates hikers and climbers eager to hurl themselves at the Fitz Roy massif; Cerro Fitz Roy being one of the toughest climbing peaks in the Andes. Graham had his sights set on it.

The mountain range that surrounded the tiny town was jaw-droppingly beautiful. Even though it’s summer, many peaks were blanketed in snow. Without binoculars, the Glaciar Grande—that flowed between Cerro Solo and Cerro Fitz Roy—looked like a field of trampled snow. With binoculars, we could see that that the snow and ice were actually hundreds of feet thick. We all wished we could hike on a glacier but the walk was four hours long one way and we weren't prepared. Much to Graham's dismay, our goal was to complete two different hikes that would take us only 350 meters up, but would give us vastly different views of the mountains.

As we walked, we did our best to talk in loud voices and disturb all wildlife and any peace other hikers were looking for. We talked about glaciers, global warming, moss, puma attacks, and Santa. It being the season and all, Katharine, who had been walking while sharpening a stick, was keen on reviewing her Christmas wish list. So what if the most amazing mountain scenery surrounded us; let’s focus on the big guy in the red suit.

I asked Katharine what she wanted. Without looking up from her stick sharpening, she very coolly said, “I’m going to ask Santa for a complete assassin’s kit. One with a grappling hook, machine gun, knife, and motorcycle. I want to be an assassin when I grow up.”

I think we may be one of three families on the ES who don’t own a gun. Aside from knocking off the occasional backyard fowl, we’re pretty peaceful. So this was weird; not to mention that she’s seven. But then Graham, rolling on the ground with laughter, explained that Katharine wanted to be the woman in the movie we watched a few days earlier. Oh yeah, that movie, the one starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as husband and wife assassins. Yes, we know it was inappropriate.

Assassin discussion continued for days until Katharine saw part of an episode of Colombo— dubbed in Spanish—and changed her tune. “I don’t want to be an assassin anymore. I don’t want big lips. I want to be a detective.”

That settles it: Dear Santa, Please send Katharine a raincoat for Christmas.

The road to El Chalten.

The assassin leads the way.

Down in the valley

Laguna Capri with Fitz Roy massif in the background.

Glacier with Fitz Roy massif on the right.

The assassin tests the water.

Taking a break: It's tough hiking with regular folk.

Assassin with her sharpened stick.


Anonymous said...

Ay, Dios que pasa con Katarina ?
Madre...ella es tu hija : cuidarte con ella.

Anonymous said...

Feliz Navidad a Katarina y Graham y que Santa les visita.