30 03 2009
Mendoza streets

Mendoza streets

Mendoza is a nice city with many large trees providing good shade for the wide streets and sidewalks.  It is arid and hot here, but the street trees help keep the streets cool.  The city is well known for the complex irrigation ditches which run throughout the city and provide water to all the park and the street trees.  It is a nice experience to walk around in the shade on the wide sidewalks, while listening to the ever present irrigation waters flowing by. Read the rest of this entry »

Nahuel Huapi

28 03 2009
The hikers

The hikers

In our whirlwind visit with Paul and Christine, we made some short trips to see different parts of the awesome Nahuel Haupi National Park around Bariloche.  Our first trip was to Pampa Linda, to see the massive Mt. Tronador (it means thunderer in Spanish).  We camped in Pampa Linda (it froze at night, our water bottles had ice in them in the morning!)  and made a few day hikes from our base camp there.  Pampa Linda has great views of the mountain. Read the rest of this entry »


25 03 2009
Nahuel Huapi Lake

Nahuel Huapi Lake

We arrived in Bariloche to meet up with Jason’s mom Christine and her husband Paul, who flew down to visit for a week.  Bariloche is a pretty mountain town famous for its scenery, alpine architecture, and chocolate. Architect and designer Alejandro Bustillo built the landmark Llao Llao hotel, which embodies the stone and wood alpine design that is so common in Bariloche.  The town was founded by Germans and Austrians in 1895, which helps to explain the alpine architecture and famous chocolates. Read the rest of this entry »

Alerces Park

19 03 2009


From Esquel, we took a trip to the Alerces National Park. Alerce trees are often cited as being similar to the giant sequoias in California (huge and old), but they are technically members of the cypress family.  Like redwoods, they are valued for their red-colored wood that is resistant to decomposition and are favored for use in decks and any other construction requiring durability.  Due to the desirable quality of the wood, they have been heavily logged and now the limited remaining stands of alerce trees are protected in Chile and Argentina, where they slowly grow in limited temperate rainforest regions.  We went into the park to camp and do a few hikes to see these protected trees. Read the rest of this entry »


16 03 2009
Esquel steam train station

Esquel train station

We made it to Esquel, back up north in Argentina.  It’s a laid back little town in a small mountain valley, in the Chubut region.  They’re known for making Chubut cheese here, which was quite tasty.  They have an old steam train and a river running next to the town.  It’s dry and windy with dry hills on either side of the town. Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving Puerto Natales for Esquel

11 03 2009

We have left behind the volatile and blustery weather of southern Patagonia and we are headed further back up north to the Argentine town of Esquel. We hope to see the Welsh town of Trevelin and the Alerces National Park in that area. We are headed back out to Río Gallegos, and hopefully we’ll catch a bus up north sooner rather than later. We’ve had to spend two extra days here in Puerto Natales for the next bus out of here and back over into Argentina, so hopefully we can move on without too many more layovers.

Torres del Paine

9 03 2009

Torres del Paine National Park

We did some last minute shopping in Puerto Natales for some extra layers of clothing, a camp stove and some food for hiking before heading off for the park.  We got on a 2 p.m. bus for the Torres del Paine park, and arrived under dark clouds and light rain at the park entrance.   We planned to do the ‘W’, since the weather seemed nasty and we didn’t have much time (you can also do a 10 day circuit around the whole thing).  On the way to the park we saw guanacos (like llamas) grazing on the pampa and some pink flamingos that looked out of place on a lake with snow-capped mountains in the background.  We took a quick shuttle to the first refugio and campground (Hosteria las Torres).

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