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February 18th, 2012 Day 8 – Chasing Waterfalls

February 20, 2012

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8 the number of days since we left Canada
2000 the number of millimetres of precipitation in Los Rapidos
22 the number of beds in our bunkhouse
4 the number of people who snore
0 the number of hours of sleep we got

After a less than refreshing sleep, we all embarked on a hike with our local guide Lorenzo in the pouring rain. The hike included sightings of two variable hawks, Buteo polyosoma, and a woodpecker, Campephilus magellanicus. The variable hawk (a close relative of the Canadian red-tailed hawk) acquired its name from the visible sexual dimorphism between the male, which is grey, and the female, which has a red back. To our surprise the torrential rainfall that had been putting a damper on our activities for the last few days had not completely washed out the roads, thus allowing us to trek up to the famous glacier within the confines of the National Park Nahuel Huapi. Looking through the telescope at the icy glaciers on Mt. Tronodor was reminiscent of the frigid Kingston winter we had fled. Mt. Tronodor, whose name is derived from the Spanish word for thunder, houses the Manso Glacier (the mountain peak glacier) that supplies the Black Glacier that lies beneath when it crumbles. Sadly, the glaciers are receding due to global warming (Lorenzo suggested some 30 cms per year). This is evident by the lagoon at the base of the mountain and the waterfalls at the peaks. On average the glaciers recede by 30cm a year. After observing the glaciers we climbed up to Garganta de Diablo or the Devil’s Throat to see one of the larger waterfalls supplied by the glacier. By the waterfall we found several lizards characterized by their black backs and yellow colouration. Later that evening when we returned to our humble abode at Los Rapidos we broke up into our independent study groups to contemplate our research project that we will be working on for the remainder of our trip.

Gossip Girl XOXO Team Leonardo

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