It’s been a busy couple of days here in Bariloche Argentina. We have until Saturday here, then will cross back into Chile and stay in a place called Frutillar until Friday, when we board the Navimag ship for a 4 day excursion to the tip of South America. They can accommodate our car on the ship so we are going one way and ending up at Puerto Natales – so more on that excursion in a couple of weeks.
Lately we have been doing lots of outside activities. The one that Cindy appears to like is having Breakfast in town – it’s very simple but nice to have something other than cereal / yogurt of our normal a.m. routine. The town here is not as crazy with tourists as Pucon was which is good for us as we like the reduced pace and easy going ways. Often times I’ve looked around thinking “where is everyone?” I found out from a guy on the trail that we are in the low season for Bariloche and that winter is the high season. Good for us then, as Pucon was the highest of the high.
Hiking Playa Munoz – We went on this great hike that’s about 6km each way – with another 2.5 excursion to a Mirador (lookout). At the end you end up at a beach where we were there with only two other people. The lakes here are spectacular and the entire region is one large national park – so typical things you would see in the states – Jet Ski’s, Ski boats, loud music, you get the idea – they are not here – sailing and canoeing seems to be the norm…. 🙂 We did our hike and finished by having fondue in town at a very german looking place which was nice. We are definitely on a later schedule here – finishing dinner around 10:30 then walking around and getting home by 11:30 or so.
Going to see the Glacier – so in some of the distances you can always see this huge mountain with huge sheets of white on it – and yes they are glaciers. So yesterday we proceeded to drive the 6 hours in the car – round trip – and about 4.5 hours of it is gravel road. The nice thing is that for part of the road (25km) they make it one way during certain hours so you can go in, but have to wait to come out, etc. Given the road and that it was really just a one lane dirt road with lots of potholes this was appreciated.
So we did the drive to Puento Linda – which is close to the glacier and a base camp for trekking here. There are several paths to refuges from this spot, and we did see some people hauling skis on their backs. We did the normal tourist activities, walked around, hiked to a waterfall and ate a sandwich. We then hiked to the base of the glacier and checked it out. There is a black glacier (bottom in pictures) and the white (traditional) glaciers are at the top of the mountain – several thousand feet above your head. These have been here for tens of thousands of years. We finished our hike by hanging out in a stream – of which we then had the discussion with the boys about how old the water they were drinking probably was… Since it was coming straight off the mountain, from waterfalls coming directly beneath the glaciers – it was unbelievably cold but very good and clean. In some of the pictures you can see the water coming off of the side of the mountain. It was a good day for exploring the local area – and getting out of Bariloche proper. At Puenta Linda we were only 4 miles from the Chile border.
Sailing! Well we had another opportunity to sail today on this huge lake that our apartment is on. Every day here there has been wind in the afternoon – today was no exception – 15-20 knots directly out of the west – so a comfortable sail out and back for three hours. The boys each got to sail for at least 45 minutes on their own tack – which was great for them. I was able to sail the last 30 minutes or so reaching into about a 15 knot wind – so we heeled a bit and got some water splashed over the bow – very cold, but very nice. The weather was perfect 75F, sunny with perfect winds – couldn’t have asked for a better day.
The lake here is controlled by the army and there are strict rules – no ski doos, no wake boats, no ski boats, etc. So all you see are quiet boats – saiiling, canoeing, kayaks. There are some smaller power boats but they are not going fast or being obnoxious. The lake is very large here – you could spend a week exploring it in a boat. The down side is that there is hardly any place to anchor – there are no “mooring balls”. The shore goes straight down from the waters edge – so hardly any spot to anchor out for the night. The other thing is that the winds can go from a gentle 15 knots to 40+ knots very quickly due to the location and winds coming off the mountains from Chile.
We ended today by having ice cream at a very nice place we have found and then going to the beach for a couple of hours. The boys are doing well with homework and school. Gavin had a skype call with his class the other day. Our internet connection is very poor – it’s amazing when you have a slow connection how many sites either don’t work or have problems due to graphics, video, etc. Things like Youtube are almost impossible here.
That’s it for the past couple of days. We are going to do a huge 26km Hike tomorrow to Refugio Fray – probably take all day is my guess. The vertical isn’t as bad as the last one (1000 meters) but it’s longer.