More spring

Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Flag of Argentina  , Chubut,
Sunday, October 23, 2011

This park is named after the Alerce, a slow-growing tree that can live 4,000 thousand years. The oldest and largest tree in the park was accessible only by a boat that was beyond our budget, so we didn't see it. We did hike to a 300-year-old Alerce that was only 1 foot in diameter because they grow less than inch per 20 years. I was more impressed with the Southern Beech trees with their enormous limbs and the Arrayan trees with their peeling cinnamon colored bark.

We’re enjoying the perks of springtime - warmer days, hillsides covered in green grass, leafy trees, flowers. There are apple trees in bloom all over the park. I keep thinking about the fact that I get to experience spring again shortly after we return home. Lucky me, two springs in one year.

The park is full of spectacular views of crystal clear rivers, lakes, waterfalls and snow-capped peaks. Every night we camped to the sound of rushing water or lapping waves on a lake.

"The season" hasn’t started yet, so we practically had the park to ourselves. Sunday afternoon was an exception, when the campgrounds filled with bbqers from the nearby city of Esquel (an hour drive). When they left, all was quiet again and kitties came out of the woods in search of meat scraps left behind.

When the wind blew from the northwest, ash from the Puyehue Volcano made the sky hazy. We chose this day to hike to some waterfalls because the distant views weren’t very picturesque. The hike was steep for a couple hours, the falls were impressive, but we could feel that we breathed more than just air into our lungs by the end of the day. 

We appear to have finally left the steppe behind. Now there are trees, flowers, and mountains to see. No more long, flat stretches of drab color and little plant-life. It probably would have felt less monotonous if we could have listened to music or been able to hold a normal conversation, however, Rovers roar doesn’t allow such luxuries.

We attempted to go to Puelo Lake National Park, but apparently there is no camping in the park until December, so we found a campground in the nearby town of Lago Puelo. Steve took the opportunity of being near a population center to fix the u-joints that made Rover feel woozy and replaced a bolt in the rear suspension (the temporary bolt wasn’t bound to last very long).

The “campground” we stayed in doubled as someone’s backyard quince orchard with their flower pedals floating down around us, very pretty. Quince jelly, called membrillo, is popular, eaten with cheese, good stuff.

Movin’ on up the road to El Bolson we met Gabriel, an enthusiastic member of the Land Rover Club of Argentina. He invited us over for mate and we shared travel stories (as best we could in broken Spanish). He and his family go on annual trips with a group of Land Rovers. 

We hiked Mount Piltriquitron to see the sculpture forest where artists carved old tree trunks after a forest fire. We befriended a shy little kitty at the campground and it managed to pull a 1 lb steak off the bbq when Steve turned his back for a second. We wrestled it back, cleaned it off and finished cooking it. Steve even shared some with her. 

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