After the lovely drive down the seven lakes to El Bolson we headed further south on route 40 before turning off on the ripo road of route 71 as this took us down to Les Alercs national park which promised a lovely drive and a few nice walks. One of the many benefits of having Lee along is she likes to get out for a walk every day and that helps me keep a little bit fit (it will still be horrible to get back into running fitness when I return but I will take it easier this time)
The drive down the park was really nice, we are just having day after day of lovely drives here in the lake districts of Chile and Argentina, and in this case we could get to see a glacier in the distance to wet our appetite for the bigger glaciers down south
The lakes in this park were fantastically clear standing on a pier you could see all the way down to the sandy lake bottom and the little fish swimming around the area is really unspoilt well away from any of the tourist centres and any population so richly deserving of its status as one of the most unspoilt parks in the lake districts
In the middle of the park a river connects the different levels of the lakes which are fed from snow melt of the surrounding glaciers making for a substantial flow
The glaciers here are a long trek away, too much for us in a part day hike, but still we got some lovely views of it across the lakes of the park.
As we headed down through the rough “ripo” road we found ourselves stopping just to take in the view every few kilometers, oddly we did pass a place at the edge of the park where about 100 local cars were parked on every side of the road, we speculated that it was a nice beach area at the end of this lake but did not stop to investigate as crowds are not really our thing!
We ended that day in a lovely winery with views of the mountains on the border that we would cross the next day, Lee was very happy to cook as we watched the sun set on the mountains but the wind screen was needed as it was a bit breezy at the end of the day.
Sunset on the mountains which mark the border back into Chile our destination for the next day.
The following day we made our way the 30km or so along the road to the nice quiet border crossing to Chile, we got stuck for about half an hour as a group of about 15 Italian cyclists with their support truck got to the border just as we arrived so the one guy who was doing the passports had to wade through them first before we got our go, very easy crossing otherwise and we headed along the road towards route 7 the famost Carretera Austral that would take us down to the far south of Chile, however we had a late start and did not need to push so we stopped along the way to check out a recommended (iOverlander) campsite on the lake shore in the shadow of the spectacular mountains
Lee looking at the location from the road and saying “it looks good to me lets drive down”
Once we got through the gate and the narrow path down to the lake shore we found this lovely sheltered beach hidden away from the road with a super view of the mountains, at this point it was about 4pm and there was no one else in the area and very little traffic on the road from the border.
I carry a small saw, axe and a fire grill in the storage bag on the back of Nelson, which had not yet been used in the whole trip, and we had picked up some meat skewers in the little town of Futaleufu just after the border (no meat or fruit allowed across the border of course) so we were able to make a nice fire on the beach from the plentiful firewood around and cook our dinner while watching the sun set on the snow capped mountains on the other side of the lake
Having got there at a reasonable time we could really relax and enjoy the fire and the completely quiet and wind sheltered beach looking up every few moments from books to see the view change as the sun set, it was probably the best wild camp site I have ever stayed at in all of my travels, one for the memory books for sure!