Posted by: Talie Morrison | March 14, 2010

Summer Finally Arrives!!!

Location, Location, Location!

I have been so busy with this last month of my trip, that I haven’t found the time to blog…  but I’m trying to get caught up before I head home…

Well, I have found that when the weather turns good down here in Patagonia, it REALLY turns GOOD!   Bright skies, Colorado Blue, warm sunny days, and clear star studded nights….   I’m in HEAVEN!   Never did I think that down here I would be wishing for a bit of wind!!  But a couple of days it has been hot! 

    So when I left off, Therese and I had just parted company and I headed down to El Bolson.    

It's another Crested Butte in the South!

 The first 3 days there it was raining, but by day 4 I was ready to get into the mountains – rain or not!     The owner of the hostel I had been staying in “read me the riot act” because he did not think I should head to the mountains in the rain, especially since I was just getting over a cold…. But I guess he didn’t realize how hard headed I am – and off I went anyway!     At least it gave me a chance to use my “Go Lite umbrella” that I have been carting around South America for the last 3.5 months!       My first destination was a refugio called Heilo Azul which is near a small (very small) glacier and glacial lake. 

Up at the top is the lake and glacier!

  When I got to the refugio, there was an exchange student from Boulder who was getting ready to start a semister in Valpariso  (I had been meeting up with exchange students back in December when they were getting through with their semesters – now I’ve come full circle and am meeting up with the new “crop”!).   There were also 5 folks from Buenos Aires.    The next day was clear and sunny – the start of 12 days of clear skies for me!   I was sure glad I used up one of the rainy days to hike up to this spot!     So that day, I spent just hanging out on the rocks around the lake and the glacier, and soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the view!   Felt great after all those days sitting around watching it rain!  

Great place to "hang out" for the day!

 That night at the Heilo Azul Refugio a group of 40 showed up – The Bariloche Hiking Club!   At least they were all in their 40’s and 50’s (youngsters!) rather than a group of 40 teens!   It was amazing to watch the Refugio “keepers” feed 40 plus people dinner and breakfast, along with taking care of their two children and the rest of us (about 10) who weren’t in the group!   Amazing!   It was sure a different experience than the first night up there!  

My plan from the Heilo Azul Refugio was to go to Cajon De Azul Refugio, but along the way I met a wonderful young German lady who said that the second refugio (Retinal) was supposed to be even more beautiful and it was only 45 more minutes.   Well the 45 more minutes turned out to be more like an hour and a half, but it was a wonderful refugio and I loved the people I met there.    Anni, my new German friend (and Tobi: she is from Munich!) and I cooked up another plan- I have found that Anni and I can be dangerous together!   We decided instead of going back to El Bolson, that we should hike up to the next refugio, Los Lagoitos, 

Morning reflection at Los Laguitos

  and then do a “steep” trail over the ridge to another refugio, Encanto Blanco!  Anni and I had each signed out for 3 night trips with the Club Andino in El Bolson (see, I am being “sort of responsible”), but the refugio people said they wouldn’t start looking for us for probably 3 days and they would radio the refugios who could then tell them where we went…   Oh, my goodness – what an absolutely fabulous, beautiful couple of days those turned out to be.   And I was happy to find that we could see some of the beautiful, old, Alerce trees along the way!   I only had taken enough food for 3 days, but the refugios will cook dinner for you and you can buy homemade bread there too!  It really makes it “do-able” to make a 3 night trip into a 5 night trip!  

Anni and I with Encanto Blanco Valley

    Back in El Bolson, Anni and I went to a nearby lake to have a day of R&R, then she headed off to San Martin de los Andes, and I headed back into the mountains for another 2 night refugio stay.    I wanted to get up to a refugio called Cerro Lindo to see some beautiful lakes in the mountains above it….   Ok, so it is pretty dangerous when I look at brochures and see pretty photos – I want to go THERE!    It was a pretty stiff day with a climb of 1200 meters (that’s about 3600 feet elevation gain).   But I took my time and just kept going up!   Then when I got to that refugio, I found a group of about 7 or 8 Karate practioners who were having a weekend Karate “Retreat”.   Way fun!   And then, of course, I did get to the beautiful high mountain lakes also!  

Cerro Lindo Refugio

High mountain Karate!

Lago Tricolor - REALLY beautiful!!

Lago Cerro Lindo - Lots of Ice still!

So next on my agenda was Los Alerces National Parque.   The weather was holding out, so I took a bus to Esquel, spent one night there in town before heading out the next day to Los Alerces.   

Lago Futalafuquen

  This was a 4 day trip, which once again sort of took on a life of it’s own.   I hiked the first day up and down to a white sand beach where I camped out.   It was the designated camping area for this hike, and I was the ONLY one there.   It was great!   And the the second night I planned on camping at a refugio on Lake Krugger.   Then I planned on taking the boat across the lake.   When I got to the refugio, I found out that I could either take the boat that day, or wait for the next boat which would be 2 days later.   It was so beautiful and peaceful there, that I decided to spend the extra nights and camp there.   It was beautiful and very peaceful!    

Just me and Tengu - we had the whole beach to ourselves!

My last time on the "tops" (for this trip at least...)

Even though this park is named National Parque de los Alerces, I never saw an Alerce tree on the whole hike.   There is one 2500 year old tree which you can pay to take a boat to and go see it (along with all the rest of the people on the boat), but I opted to spend my couple of days chilling out at Lago Krugger instead.

Great place to "chill out" for a day or two!

Rio Frey (coming out of Lago Krugger)

Can you see the size of that fish! Wow!

Ah..... the end of the day!


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