Huerquehue National Park is located in the foothills of the Andes, about an hour east of Pucon, Chile. The park has a number of lakes and surrounded by several volcanos. I spent a whole day hiking there. It is very quiet and peaceful. The view didn’t take my breath away, but the tranquility did.
Well, this is a great ending to an incredible trip.
(The monkey puzzle tree or monkey tail tree–Araucaria araucana)
This is my last day in Los Glaciares National Park. I debated whether I should hike to Lama del Pliegue Timbado or not since I was leaving late afternoon to go back to El Calafate. The trail is 20km (about 12 miles) with 3000 feet elevation gain.
Well, I got up early. It was still dark when I left the hotel and it paid off. I saw beautiful mountain peaks in early sunlight. The trail isn’t as impressive as the other two Laguna trails, and when I reached the end, it was cloudy and dark. I found some interesting flowers/plants along the way, though. Most of them are succulent plants, which grow in dry, barren environment. It’s hard to imagine that the hill near a glacier is so dry.
(Topa Topa-Lady’s Slipper)
(Liao Liao mushroom)
This is the reason I took this trip—I’ve seen pictures of Mt. Fitz Roy in Patagonia. They left such an intractable impression that I dreamed of coming here for years.
I’m lucky—the weather can’t be any better.
It isn’t the easiest trail. It is not that long (20km round trip, about 12 miles), but the last 1km is straight up. The sign says it’ll take one hour, and it took me almost an hour. But the scenery is so breathtaking that it’s worth the effort.
One word kept coming to my mind: awe-inspiring. I’ve been to a few beautiful places. New Zealand, Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Australia were on top of my list. But I have to say that Los Glaciares National Park is my new favorite.
I’m in love! 🙂
It’s an 18km hike (a little more than 11 miles). I started at 8am and arrived at the lagoon at 11. I was surprised to find only a couple of girls there. I thought this trail would be as popular as Base Torres in Torres Del Paine National Park since it is no less spectacular.
I took a few pictures without anyone interfering. The wind was blowing, and it was cold. That didn’t stop me from sitting down to enjoy the view and to eat some snack. Just as I finished peeling an orange, the wind picked up its strength. Along with it came the rain. I snapped another picture before the mountain peaks disappeared right in front of my eyes. It took only several seconds! I’m glad I know what is important—to take pictures first. Otherwise, I would be so mad at myself.
(Seconds before the mountain peaks disappeared in the fog/mist)
A 3-hour bus ride took me from El Calafate to El Chalten, which is a mountain village. It’s part of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Los Glaciares National Park). A number of trails start here. The park is famous for its jagged mountain peaks and majestic glaciers. It is also home to many birds.
I hiked a couple of short trails—Chorrillo del Salto (A waterfall), Mirador De Los Condores and Mirador De Las Aguilas.
The sky was dark today, and the mountains were darker. I pray I’ll have better days to hike in this amazing park.
(Pichi or dwarf armadillo is a small armadillo native to Argentina and Chile)
Base Torres is one of the most famous spots in Chile. It is a 22 kilometer (about 13.5 miles) hike to the foot of the three granite towers, Las Torres del Paine, which rise vertically 1000 meters in front of a small glacial lake.
A mini tour bus picked me up around 6:30am from my hostel. After picking up a dozen more passengers and driving 2 hours, the driver took us to the park entrance (Torres Del Paine National Park). There was a long line of people from other large tour buses. It took us almost an hour to get the ticket. The driver doesn’t speak any English. He pointed to a guide who can communicate somewhat in English.
It was 10:20 when we started hiking. I asked the guide what time we needed to come back, and he said the hike took about 8 hours. “Turn back from the lake at 3pm.”
Everyone on the bus seemed younger than I am. I was concerned I would be the last one coming back. So I paid attention to time, especially I love taking pictures, which takes time. The first part of the hike was relatively easy, with some uphill. The last hour was a steep climb with muddy, rocky steps (I saw three people fall). I arrived the lake before 2. The view was fantastic, out of this world. But I stayed until 3 and started hiking back. It was 6:20 when I returned, exactly 8 hours from the time we started.
I was the first one. Within minutes, a young couple from Austria showed up. A half-hour later a family of three with a teenage son came back. Then, slowly people returned. But the last two didn’t come back until almost 8:30! They were guys in their late 30s or early 40s. Were they really that slow? Or they didn’t care about other people waiting for them? I don’t know.
Well, maybe I’m just a better hiker than most. 🙂
Spent a full day in the national park hiking (Costera Tril) and kayaking.
(A family of Kelp Goose)