Jan 24, 2019 – Chaitén to Caleta Gonzalo 60km
I ate a half kilo of frozen vegetables. And drank a half litre of wine the night before heading to hike Pumalín Park.
The hostel in Chaitén was friendly. AND had fast wifi.
One of my main goals for this trip is to hike Pumalín.
Steep forest-covered fiords, lush temperate rainforests, glacial-topped volcanoes, and gushing waterfalls everywhere.
Pumalín protects 715,000 acres of flora-rich Valdivian temperate rainforest, home to many endemic species including some of the planet’s last stands of the endangered, enormous, millennia-old Alerce trees.
Parque Pumalín is split into two sectors – north (norte) and south (sur):
Most of Pumalín Norte can only be explored by water. Normally by kayak or boat cruise.
Pumalín Sur is then split into two sections with … Chaiten sitting in the middle. As you head south, the first part of Pumalín Sur that you encounter is between Caleta Gonzalo and Chatien – here you find the hikes to waterfalls and the Michimahuda and Chaiten Volcanoes.
The highway is paved leaving Chaitén, but quickly changes to dusty, narrow gravel.
No cyclist enjoys eating the dust of big trucks.
You can see Chaitén volcano still steaming. And some of the damage from the 2008 eruption.
It seemed a long cycling day to reach Caleta Gonzalo, the main park headquarters. It’s expanded a lot since I was here 15 years ago.
They now have an expensive restaurant, cabins and an impressive visitor’s centre.
I jumped off the bike and immediately set off on the fantastic Caleta Gonzalo Cascada trail.
It’s a rough, adventurously dangerous, scramble up to this waterfall.
I camped at Caleta Gonzalo.
It’s a huge, impressive campground, very popular in January. Here’s the staff vegetable garden.
It was starting to get darkish by the time I finished dinner on the creek. About 10pm. I love the long days in Patagonia.