Laguna Esmeralda – My First Hike in Patagonia
Arriving in Ushuaia this South American spring made the trip my first official time in the Patagonia region. Being a BC boy, I’m no stranger to mountains, dirty terrain and snow. Because of my familiarity with the Canadian Rockies, I was making several comparisons during my trip as the region seemed so similar to home. Patagonia has an incredible collection of mountains and lakes. Laguna Esmeralda is located a little way outside Ushuaia on Ruta 3. Its proximity made this a must-hike during our trip. It’s approximately 4.5 kilometres to the lake with more than 400 meters of elevation gain. I’d call it an amateur trek if not for the mud, which increases the difficulty level.
Ushuaia is the coldest city in Argentina. During our trip, we got the whole gamut of weather: rain, snow, and enough sunshine to make my face red. My friend Joan was not too keen on the cool climate. Summer here is not very hot. Rarely does it clime to 30 degrees. As you can see in the photos, most of the trees were still barren of leaves. Spring is a little behind here.
Though some may deem particular seasons less than ideal, I think that each one merits its own enjoyment. Each time, there is something a little different to enjoy. This time, I loved seeing the little bits of snow covering parts of our path and the snow still remaining on the mountains. In the future, maybe I will get to enjoy seeing the area full of green leaves with the mountains fuller with colour. At times, the lake’s “emerald green” can become much more vibrant.
Though there were a couple of slip-ups, we went entirely without injury. To my knowledge, no one else on the trail experienced calamity either. We had yerba mate and sourdough sandwiches while at the lake. We joked around and practiced English and Spanish. That’s a successful hike in my books.