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To Drink From a Glacier in Argentina

April 6th, 2011

Forget bottled-at-the-source. How about dunking your entire face into the source!?

In the Andes near El Bolson, Argentina

David and I woke to a drizzle that shimmered in sideways curtains. The camp grounds of Refugio Heilo Azul stirred with hikers waking, packing, coming and going.

We set small goals; let’s go to the waterfall, let’s scramble up to that next cairn, just to the next ridge.

The river is fed by the waterfall that is fed by the lake that is fed by the glacier that sits in the shoulder of Cerro Heilo Azul.

The valley and the campground is green lawn of woodsmoke and beech trees below us when David tells me to go on without him, He needs to head back to town and his wife and his two small children.

Now he looks small, a blue figure in slow progress against the talus slope. The mountain doesn’t seem all that big when you only see one foothold at a time.

Up and over a rain-wet ridge line and a pair of climbers pass me on return from the summit with courtesy waves and grunts.

The lake (that feeds the waterfall) lays at the terminus of the glacier which looks anything but pristine covered in poop brown dirt. But you know what they say, God made dirt…

In the absence of David’s chit chat I talk to myself, “Holy shit, there it is… after all these years, after all the lives sacrificed, the Fountain of Youth!”

My knees hit the gravel and my palms submerge into the cold water as I lower myself into the frigid water and suck down three mighty gulps of water. The water is the milky gray of glacier silt and within the cold water that burns like a clean fire running down my throat tiny particles of mountain rock and minerals float.

Better than bottled water, better than filtered water, better than naturally sweetened pseudo-fitness product water, this is just water, as it always has been, hopefully, as it always will be.

No, not brain freeze. Brain frost bite, brain freezer burn as I fall back on my ass and cup my wincing head in my dripping hands.

I fill my water bottle, and face the valley once more.

***

Editor’s note: Josh Johnson aka “Joshywashington” is a total ninja; fast, clever, creative and armed to the teeth. He travels, writes and produces social media in Seattle, Wash. and from around the world. Creating travel media since 2007, Josh has published hundreds of blogs, thousands of photos and hours of video. He also writes and edits for Matador Network.

The above post includes musings from Josh’s recent trip to Argentina. Learn more about Josh and his work over on his blog.

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  1. November 18th, 2013 at 08:34 | #1

    Good story and what a majestic view of the Andes!

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