Although many would prefer the warm climates of the Caribbean as opposed to the freezing temperatures of the southern-most areas of South America, there is still a wondrous view of Earth history lying in wait. As one of Chile’s most extravagant of scenery, Grey Glacier has attracted many visitors to experience that part of history. As this magnificent 30-meter high wall of ice recedes, time is not on its side. Before long, the glacier may be nothing more than part of an expanding lake.
Network of Ice
The Grey Glacier is only a small part of a much larger body that produces nearly 50 separate locations created by walls of ice. Easily found on Google Earth, you can see that the main body of the glacier is immense in size and stretches for miles. This glacier is also one of three of the most prominent locations of freshwater on the planet.
The Grey Lake
Formation of the Grey Lake is caused by melt-off from the Grey Glacier. It is commonplace to see large icebergs making their way across the lake slowly melting into the body of the very calm waters. Boating expeditions frequently take visitors to a safe distance to view the glacier which towers over the surface of the water. In some areas, the ice formations of the glacier are reminiscent of a wave of water that had been flash-frozen while in motion.
As the waters of the lake are so calm, many will find kayaking an enjoyable experience. Although the frigid waters are not the most ideal to capsize in, paddling across the still waters and viewing the many icebergs can be quite exhilarating.
Marred by Time
As the Grey Glacier slowly recedes, it reveals the scarred and rocky landscape developed from the slow movement of the ice. Currently barren of life, these monuments of Earth may have never been seen by human eyes before. Earth’s history is slowly being revealed but at the cost of a monumental feature that could have severe repercussions later on.
As the glacier retreats back to the main body of ice, you can see how plants adapt to the unveiling of a new landscape. In the middle of the Grey Glacier’s face is a body of rock that is two-thirds covered with plant-life. However, a short distance from that green carpet of life rests the plain surface of rock that had been exposed from under the ice perhaps centuries ago. Slowly, this plant-life is covering this mountain face as time and winds provide the necessary components for life to spread across the rock’s surface. This is much like how the oceans bring debris to a volcanic mound in order to form a tropical island paradise.
Hiking the Glacier
Many visitors will hike the wondrous landscape provided by this ancient body of ice. Tours and private hiking expeditions will scour the icy plain and experience a part of Earth’s history. As some areas may be unstable or extremely difficult to hike due to the jagged juts of ice, hikers need to be wary of some of the dangers that could be presented as they cross this body of ancient frozen water.
There are several hotels in the area of the Grey Glacier. The Hotel Lago Grey, for example, sits on the southern end of the lake with a magnificent view of the water and the glacier itself. Regular boating tours are provided by the hotel with its own ship, the “Grey II.” This ship is large enough for 50 passengers to sit comfortably as they experience the lake and the ever-changing beauty of the Grey Glacier.
While the glacier is the main attraction for the area, the entire national park is a treasure trove of wildlife and natural beauty. Tours and transportation are available from the Hotel Lago Grey to the refuge located in the area. The area is full of plant-life, and creatures of all kinds call the area of Grey Glacier their home.
There are many places on this planet that are ever-changing. Due to climate changes, glaciers like the Lago Grey will be lost to history and never to be experienced again in the same way. If you are interested in experiencing an ancient overlook of the world, your time may be ticking faster than you realize. Some aspects of the planet just can’t be put on hold and expected to remain the same.