This part I myself am having trouble believing but bear with me.Â This really happened!!!
Next day we woke up around 8:30AM and had breakfast.Â Then we went to the supermarcada (mini market but it is the supermarket of the village).Â We got some snacks: cheese, chocolate, crackers, etc.Â Then we met our Italian friends and got into our car to drive to the retreat for the hike to the Galcier Explorades.Â It is a 52km drive on a dirt road with amazing views of trees, rivers, water falls, bridges, glaciers, high mountains, lakes, cows, horses… We stopped and took pictures many times.Â There are numerous water falls where melting glacier water comes down the mountains. We all agreed that it looks like Garden of Eden.
It is fun to drive an all wheel drive SUV on dirt roads.Â I liked it a lot.Â Â The road shakes a lot but it was a safe drive, sometimes with rain.
Then we arrived at theÂ retreat where our guides were waiting for us.Â I was wearing a layer of thermals, jeans, polar and a water resistant coat. They gave us something to put around our lower legs (gaiters) to keep them dry, which also had a chain under to get more traction.
We then started our hike up a hill, which was probably 100m high, real steep. By the time we reached the top, I was already very sweaty. (Here comes Canim, so we will continue writing together).Â There was a wooden terrace like a hawk’s nest looking over the lake and the glacier. There we put on our rain ponchos and started our hike down to the lake.Â There Maria showed us a blueberry bush, which was delicious and had meaning: if you eat it, you will return safely from your hike.Â We ate a berry to return back. Then we walked around the lake over slippery rocks, which some were quite big.Â After the lake the landscape totally changed.
Unlike glaciers that form a wall of ice where they meet water,Â the end of Glacier Explorades is made of ice covered with silt (rocks and dirt), which is called moraine. First the silt is very thick so we walked on rocks for some time.Â But these are small rocks, so it is very hard to keep your balance. Then the silt became thinner and the terrain became slippery in addition to the rocks. Right at this point the rain started to come down heavily. Thanks to our ponchos we were mostly dry but Mutlu’s jeans got wet in between where the poncho ended and the gaiters started. At that point Mutlu realized how wrong it was to wear cotton, but too late…
It took us two and a half hours to reach the clean ice part of the glacier. But the view was totally worth it.Â We took a short break to put on our crampons.Â Crampons are spikes that you put under your boots to be able to walk on the ice.Â Mutlu took this opportunity to took off his jeans and put on a plastic rain pants. Even though it was just plastic, he immediately felt warmer.Â The, we had cheese, chocolate (at the same time ), granola bars.Â Maria offered Demet hot tea, which she appreciated a lot. Our guide Maria showed us how to use the crampons. Then the walk on the ice started.
We saw lots of water falls in the ice, water filled cracks formed by the pressure of the rocks carried by the glacier from the mountains surrounding the region.Â We learned that a rock on top of the ice will form a big hole in just two days.Â We were amazed by the vast ice river, the glacier. There was even a small algae like plant, lichen, that lives on the ice.Â It was the only little creature that can survive the ice with the minerals of the glacier rocks. The water is so clean that it can be drunk, which we did. According to a book, the ice is from the last ice age, which means we drank “aged” water. Then we practiced climbing an ice wall with axes and crampons.
After wandering on the ice, which looked like sand dunes with lots of small hills, in white and turquoise,Â we headed back.Â This part is the longest and the hardest. Mutlu’s legs got so tired, his knee started to hurt.Â Demet was so tired, she fell and laid on a rock, which she claims was on purpose. Then the we reached the end of clear ice took the crampons off.Â Then the treacherous moon walk started again.Â We think that our guide took us through a much harder path on the way back. Mutlu told Elisa that he would be very happy when they reach vegetation.Â In two hours we reached vegetation, which basically looked like Jurassic park.Â Then we reached the hill to climb up and Mutlu decided that there was no reason to be happy about vegetation.Â Demet told Mutlu that they should leave her there and send an helicopter to pick her up or she happily live ever after with Mr. Linchen.Â Then Mutlu and Federico encouraged her on the way up, some times pushing her up from the behind (I may get punched any second!!!).Â Then we reached the summit and we were happy to know that it was down hill in the jungle from now on (with the addition of some rocks). But what they did not know was, with tired legs downhill was plain painful.Â Mutlu stated making “Ahh, uhh” sounds while Demet was trying the slide down the stair handles.Â We were so happy when we reached the bottom and the retreat.Â Elisa offered a piece of chocolate to Mutlu and it was the best chocolate he ever had, which made him realize how hungry and exhausted he was.Â We guess that eating the berry worked!!!
On the way back as we were driving by the river we saw a very big rainbow. Of course Mutlu was not driving on the way back, because he was exhausted.
You may wonder if we were cold.Â The answer is no.Â You spend so much energy and effort just walking that your body turns into a furnace.