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)
A long day of driving from Futaleufu to Bariloche. Some of the pictures were taken from inside of the bus.
I joined a tour group for the last two weeks of my trip. We were traveling from El Chalten to Perito Moreno, but the bus refused to start in the morning. The driver and the tour guide had to find another vehicle to jump start ours. It was almost three hours later when we took off. A big bus for 30 people carries only 8 of for the next two weeks—very comfortable.
It was a long drive with mostly flat and yellow/brown landscape. I was surprised in the late afternoon that we stopped to visit a place called Cueva de las Manos—Cave of Hands. It wasn’t listed on my itinerary, although other people received the info. I was pleasantly surprised.
Cueva de las Manos is a series of caves located about 100 miles south of Perito Moreno, Argentina. The paintings of hands date from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago. The site was last inhabited around 700 AD. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) is a very large woodpecker found along the Andes of Chile and Argentina. It is mainly pure black, with a white wing patch and a chisel-like beak. Males have a crimson head. Females have a mainly black head, but there is an area of red coloration near the base of the bill.
They made me a very happy camper.
(He was upside down!)
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! 🙂