January 4, 2006
This morning, Jenny and I got up really early and took a bus to Las Alerces National Park. I thought the park was right next to town, but it ended up taking two and a half hours to get there. I slept on and off the whole way, but it was almost impossible to get any quality sleep on the rickety bus that slowly traversed the gravel national park roads.
When we got off the bus, we took a walk up to the mirador, a lookout point from which all of Lago Verde and its surrounding forests were visible. The view was great, one that reminded me of northern Wisconsin, which made sense because I am about at the same latitude as there now, only at the southern end of the world, of course. There are no more palm trees where I am now; they have been replaced by endless expanses of deciduous forests and hundreds of gentle lakes that perfectly reflect all of the natural beauty back to the eye.
After seeing the lake from the mirador, we decided to walk around it. We went down to the shore, where there was a large pier and several fly fishermen. We started walking along the shore, but quickly ran out of path. Of course, the path was actually there, it just wasn't marked and probably hadn't been walked down, either. Every five minutes or so, we would see a tree with a yellow marked nailed to it, telling us that we were going the right way, but that's all we had to go by. The "path" led us up and and down hills, around cliffs, and occasionally, around giant fallen trees.
Eventually, after an hour or so of not knowing if we were actually on a path, or just a narrow strip of dirt that a deer had walked down at some point, we saw a suspension bridge on the other side of the lake. A bunch of tourists had driven to that point, which was our first indication that we weren't completely lost. If I ever become head of the South American national parks, the first thing I'll do is implement trails that are actually marked and maps that actually tell would-be trekkers where they are and where they are going.
Once we found the bridge, the rest of the day became easy. We walked on the other side of the lake for awhile, then decided that it was time to head back. The bus going back was one we couldn't afford to miss, so we needed to leave an hour or so of extra time to ensure we would make it. Luckily, there was an actual road that took us back to the starting point in no time. I was too tired to even remember the long ride back to town.
Back in town, we had to make a tricky decision on where to go next. Rawson is the coast city directly east of here. There is a lot to do there, but we would be managing our time better if we headed somewhat south and east at the same time. Comodoro Rivadavia is almost directly southeast of here, but there isn't much to do there. The current plan is to head to Comodoro overnight and try to move somewhere else right away if possible.
The photo album for this entry is here.