Jan 25-26, 2019 – Caleta Gonzalo to Chaitén 70km
It’s been a year since Pumalín became an official National Park. One of the world’s great conservation stories.
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Pumalín gets around 6 meters of rain / year!
Though it had been lovely weather for me so far in January, here it started raining hard in the morning.
I had a C$22 breakfast at the only restaurant in the park, hiding from the downpour.
Happily it cleared up about Noon and I began my return to Chaitén, hiking en route.
First stop was the Laguna Tronador trail. Physically demanding. Gorgeous.
Next the very popular, short Alerce trail. This park protects the Alerce trees, the largest in South America. They grow to more than 70m with up to 5m trunk diameter. Charles Darwin reported finding a specimen 12.6 m in diameter.
They had been heavily logged before conservationists weighed in.
One is 3622 years old, the second oldest fully verified (by counting growth rings) age for any living tree species, after the bristlecone pine.
Weather was now excellent for riding. The only annoyance pesky horseflies.
My third hike of the day was Cascadas Escondidas trail. I’d actually planned to camp there as well, but it was too crowded.
Late in the day I pushed on to Lago Blanco campground.
I love sites which keep my tent under roof. If it does rain, no worries.
Fantastic as they are, these sites are not inexpensive. This one is C$32 / night. The Park guys didn’t collect this night, however. Perhaps I arrived later than they had made the rounds.
A beautiful, calm night. Superb morning.
It’s alongside the Park airstrip.
I walked their excellent interpretive trail.
My only major hike of the day was Chaitén Volcano trail. Fantastic. And very popular.
I arrived back to the hostel in Chaitén about 3:30pm. Rene from Germany and Victoria from the States were just heading off to Amarillo Hotsprings about 30km away. I hopped aboard the shuttle van with them. A long soak is the best way to remove dust from nails and pores.
Another big meal at the hostel.
Another glass of wine at sunset.
This trip is going well. 😎