Alerces Park

19 03 2009
Alerce

Alerce

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.

Lago Verde

Lago Verde

The park has many nice lakes, and fly fishing is a popular activity here.  We camped at a small lake (Lago Verde) and relaxed by the lake and did some hiking.  The Alerces are really well protected, and they really don’t allow people to hike  into most areas of the park.  One of the only ways to see them is to take a boat tour starting in Puerto Chucao.  You have to walk across the Arrayanes River and you take a nice trail along the river to get to the boat launch at Puerto Chucao.  You take the boat across Lake Menéndez, with views of steep mountains and glaciers to get to the small trail to see the trees.  Coming from California, and having camped in the redwoods so often, the Alerces aren’t as impressive as redwood forests.  The trees grow very slow, and are much smaller than redwoods.   There are also few of them scattered around within the beech forests, so it’s not nearly the same experience as the coastal redwood forest where the parks are full of mostly redwoods and ferns.

Camping gourmet

Camping gourmet

Since the hiking is really limited, we went to camp by the lake loaded with food and drink.  Our first night, we had some excellent spinach cooked in garlic and olive oil salad, spaghetti and malbec wine.

We did some hiking around the lakes, and came across a nice apple tree loaded with nice big apples.  In the park, we also saw ferns and arrayanes trees.  Arrayanes are interesting trees similar to madrones, in that they shed their bark and change color as their bark peels off.

Alerce and colihue

Alerce and colihue

<click on photos for larger image>

23 inch Alerce, 300 years old

23 inch Alerce, 300 years old

El Abuelo

El Abuelo

Arrayan tree

Arrayan tree

Lago Verde lookout

Lago Verde lookout

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7 responses

19 03 2009
Grammy&Grandad

Exciting. You know that I love novel food. I am sure your are getting some great taste treats. Keep safe and know we are with you. Love, Grandad

19 03 2009
alicia

Great pics! Jason is a grizzly bear! 🙂 I’m leaving two weeks from today on my own adventure, although it’s only a short 10 days in duration…nothing compared to a whole year but will be a nice break anyway! When do you leave for east europe?

20 03 2009
Mike

The bark on the Alerce tree looks like cedar. The food sounds great. Jason getting the wild look.

20 03 2009
stephanie

LOVE THIS ONE!!! This looks so relaxing… Great to finally see a picture of the two of you. I am making it my desktop screensaver! Love to you both…
xoxoxoxoxox

21 03 2009
Stephanie K-S

Nice beard Jason! Thanks for the updates, love hearing about your travels.

23 03 2009
Akiko

Jason fits right in with the Argentines with the beard eh?

24 03 2009
Ann

Hey:

Looks like you both are enjoying your worldly trip…smiles, bedouin beard and all! Isn’t it great being adventuous explorers. Is there a book deal in the making?
Love you both,
Aunt Ann

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