After a few days of RnR post Torres del Paine, we decided to cross back from Chile to Argentina and head North to the Lake District. Since one-way flights in Argentina are pretty expensive, the better method of travel is by bus. We stocked up on snacks and boarded the bus for our 28 hour ride from El Calafate to Bariloche, AR. We don’t really remember how we filled the time , but it definitely consisted of a lot of card games.
The Lake District in Northern Patagonia is where a lot of the local Argentinians come to vacation. It is known for the deep blue, turquoise, and green colors of the lakes and the surrounding volcanos and mountains. Intrigued by the beauty of Volcano Lanin, we then headed from Bariloche to Junin de los Andes, which is the best access town into Parque de Nacional Lanin. We were interested in attempting a summit of Volcano Lanin, a 2 day assent, but since a guide is required guide we weren’t able to arrange something on short notice. Our Plan B was to camp in the Parque and trek part way up the Volcano; Plan B turned out to be amazing!
Once in Parque de Nacional Lanin we chose to camp closest to the Volcano trail-head, at Campo Ecofer. At the campsite you have the option to take a small boat 100m across the lake to a secluded campsite right under the volcano. To call the boat you simply ring a bell, and a kid rows the boat from the other side of the lake to pick you up . . . pretty sweet. The campsite is nothing short of incredible. Imagine setting up camp in a field of green grass shaded by trees, right on the water, with a Volcano hovering over you. To make it even better, the campsite is run by a small family on their farm, so while hanging at the site, there are beautiful horses strolling around, sheep grazing, parakeets calling in the trees, and roosters to wake you up in the morning. Peaceful and relaxing just start to describe this feeling.
We set out to do the Lanin de Sur Trek (Trek up the south face of Volcano Lanin), which follows the river towards the base of the Volcano. The route was surrounded by the Araucaria (or monkey-puzzle trees), which are spiky green trees with large cones on them. After a few hours of hiking we missed the main path at a river crossing and instead continued following the river up the valley. After a steep rock scramble up the side of the mountain we managed to enjoy some snacks and views right under the volcano.
Since we quickly fell in love with this place, we wanted to stay a third night. However on the 3rd day we woke up to clouds and rain and decided it was time to leave. To get out of the park there are 2 buses, one at 11:40 and one at 6:40. After packing up our campsite and taking the small boat to the other side of the lake, we were surprised to see the bus start pulling away. After a few screams and an attempt of running after it (feels like elementary school), we gave up. We hitched a ride a few kilometers down the road to the information center and a hosteria / restaurant. After about an hour of unsuccessful hitchhiking attempts, we decided it is best to wait for the next bus. The hosteria was run by a really generous guy who allowed us to hang out in the restaurant and enjoy cafés while waiting for the next bus.
Since we had time to kill, and since Arlen recently purchased a nice new camera, we thought it would be fun to have a Photographer-Off during our wait. The rules: the photographer gets 3 pictures attempts of the other person in an attempt to take the best shot. Here were the two leading pictures. Which is your favorite?!
Coming up on our next post, Vacation from the Vacation!