07/12/2013 07:14 am ET Updated Sep 11, 2013

Walking Onto and Into an Advancing Glacier

We've heard all about the majority of the world's glaciers retreating towards their sources, shrinking in size, and releasing their meltwaters. But not all of the world's glaciers are in retreat! And some of these you can take a hike right up onto (and in some cases into).

For reasons scientists are still trying to explain there are two large glaciers in the Southern Patagonia Ice Field (straddling the border between Chile and Argentina) which are advancing. One of those glaciers, Perito Moreno, is in such a predictable equilibrium with its environment that it's possible to conduct guided day hikes onto the surface of this enormous river of solid blue ice.

Perito Moreno is massive (97 sq. miles, 19 miles from head to foot, three miles wide at its terminus -- 240 ft above the surface of Lake Argentina). In the Argentine town of El Calafate, every tour agent is capable of setting you up with a day at the glacier to fit your desires. Boats take sightseeing tours of the terminus, mini-treks take short walks onto the ice, and the 'Big Ice' tour goes as far as trekking to the center of the glacier.

This video is the 3 Minute Postcard of Perito Moreno, giving you a look at the stunning visuals produced from a day on the ice. It gives you a sense of what hiking onto the glacier is all about, but remember, since Perito Moreno constantly advances, evolves, and changes from year to year, no two hikes are the same. Experiences from different hiking seasons are completely unique.