Wednesday 18 November 2009

ARGENTINA El Bolson-Trevelin (Nov 12-15)

In Futalefu, Chile across the border from Trevelin, Argentina. Waiting for the omnipresent rain to ease before we head south on the Carreterra Austral.

I haven´t posted much text of late. I guess I´m getting tired and after getting hammered by the wind of Argentina and drenched by the rain in Chile, the life has drained out of the old fellow. Suffering the dreaded piles and knee pain, it´s a battle to keep the pedals turning. Judy is still her stoical self and just keeps going without complaint. No wonder her father, Sandy, nicknamed her Tuffy the Egg!

I´ve posted the following photos on this section by mistake. They should be on the previous post and show the lake scenery from La Angostura -Bariloche- El Bolson. I can´t be bothered moving them so here they´ll stay.....

The weather from San Martin de Los Andes to Bariloche was fearsome. A week of blasting winds from the west stranded us for 2 days in San Martin (a pleasant town and nice accommodation in a log cabin) and another 2 days in Bariloche(an awful tourist trap). We finally escaped Bariloche and had 2 pleasant days cycling to El Bolson via some beautful alpine lakes.

El Bolson is the Argentianian Nimbin- a hippy community from the 1970s, now more of a tourist spot but with a counter-culture atmosphere. Beautiful backdrop of mountains close to the town.

Bullock-drawn carts are part of the landscape in northern Patagonia. In Chile we saw carts with hand-cut wooden wheels. I´ll post a photo of one soon.

Butch Cassidy Steakhouse. The celebrity outlaw lived out his last days in Argentina and Bolivia and he spent some nefarious times with the Sundance Kid in this valley by the Rio Blanco and in the shadow of the Andes.

Flamingoes on a lake north of Los Alerces. I was surprised to see Chilean flamingoes this far south.

We had 2 delightful days riding through Los Alerces National Park. This large park has some large stands of ancient alerce trees. Fitzroya cupressioides or Patagonian cypress are some of the oldest trees in the world, some up to 3600 years old. There is also a Tasmanian/Gondwana connection. In the mid-1990s, scientists from Uni of Tasmania found 35 million year old fossilzed leaves of Fitzroya in a lake in NW Tas. This Gondwanan link is very strong here, as the wet temperate rainforests of Nothofagus, ferns and moss evoke the same senses as the western Tasmanian forests with their precious Gondwanan relics.

However much of the ancient giants of Fitzroya have been felled by Patagonian colonists for their shingled houses. There are only three reserves in Chile and Argentina which protect them from the axe. It has suffered the same fate as the Tasmanian Huon pine, another Gondwana relic and old survivor.

I´ll add more text to this post from Coyaique in a week or so as the diner bell is calling me..........
Here are more photos of the park...

Lago Verde

An amazing tree, the arayane, which like the huon pine loves to get its feet wet, growing by lakes and rivers. Smooth, cinnamon-coloured bark exposed to show the milky-white skin beneath, a bit like a Modigliani reclining nude.

Our campsite by Lago Verde in a grove of arayanes.

Jude riding by Lake Futalfquen

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