Puyuhuapi is a friendly little misty town nestled between high, verdant ridges facing west into a fjord of the same name. The area is considered the most lush in all of Patagonia, on account of the high annual rainfall. Remember the ewok plants from our Chiloe post? They grow four, five times the size in the hills around Puyuhuapi. We arrived via hard-won bus transfer from Chaiten, and settled ourselves into some comfortable lodging with the intent of heading to the national park for a couple nights of camping out. The weather had other ideas in mind, with a forecast of rain with no reprieve. We chose instead to have a lazy day in town, gathering the acquaintance of some Chilean boxed wine. It’s not so bad as it sounds, neither the wine nor the rainy day in town.
Combining and comparing intelligence gathered by the sole other guest in our abode, Aisling from the south of Ireland, we set about that most ancient of Patagonian rituals: deciphering the bus schedule. One needs to catch a bus to make your way into and out of the national park, as well as future destinations further afield.
Lex, Aisling and I had attended an event the previous evening, a film viewing and discussion regarding a major hydroelectric project planned in southern Patagonia. The evening’s discussion, along with the words of travelers we had encountered along the way brought Lex and I to the cusp of altering our path to continue further south to the end of the Carretera Austral. Alas, after much deliberation we concluded that the season was turning against us and that we should head north as per our original intentions. We are both anxious to improve our spanish so that we may play a more constructive role in the affairs around us, beyond that of a sightseeing observer.
Aisling had come the opposite direction, from Ecuador, where she spent several months volunteering. Her company provided Lex and me several contacts and suggestions for the ever growing “Book Of Facts.” The three of us struck a genuine and warm friendship over three rainy days in Puyuhuapi, including a memorable jaunt into the Parque Nacional Qeuelat.
We heard the thundering boom of a glacier “calving” huge deposits down a mountainside. We walked through the most amazing rain forest path. We invented bizarre new games involving word play and stone tossing to pass the time while trying to hitch a ride, and we even successfully hitched a ride from one part of the park to another. More about that in Lex’s post, but suffice to say I now know what it is like to go over a bumpy mountain pass in the box of a box truck. It’s pretty boxy.
All in all, it was a great time and although we are a bit sad to turn off the Carretera Austral and part ways with our friend, we are also looking forward to more camping and hiking on the Argentine side of the Andes.
That’s some literally awe-inspiring vegetation. I did my best to hold up the beard quotient at Russell’s birthday gathering in NJ last night, btw. And, as further evidence of how many worlds away you are: Marisa and I rode the Dueling Dragon roller coaster three times, in Harry Potter’s Wizarding World in Universal Studios, Orlando last week. Not a boxy-box on a mountain pass, but it’s something.
liking your photos mark! I keep wishing for some kind of map that shows your physical progress on your journey. Kind of like Indiana Jones when he flies from New York to Cairo and it shows a little yellow plane zooming across the globe… would be awesome.
also, someone else has a blog you know – check it out… could use some commentary!
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