Trekking northern patagonia: 8 days, Chile - Mar 11 - Mar 18, 2019
It is difficult to award “stars” for this experience – but something like 8 out of 5 would perhaps do it justice!
Equally difficult to pick a highlight in a trip full of them:
It started with a warm welcome from Ingrid in Puerto Varras. After a spectacular flight to Chaiten the next morning, a walk to a glacier and a first night in a nice lodge at Lake Yelcho, the trekking started in earnest the next day.
We started at our lead guide Ricardo’s family home in Futaleufú before setting off on a strenuous trek to Lake Las Rosas where we set up camp in an untouched wilderness area. Dinner was great Italian home cooking on open fires! Next morning Ricardo rustled up a perfectly cooked breakfast before we embarked on an exciting horse ride over a steep, rocky and exposed path and eventually out into the valley to Lake Espolon for a paddle across the lake.
Accommodation this day was with a local family, dinner in their home and an interesting stroll the following morning.
A strenuous walk then got us up to the Tree House – a fantastically set out camp with cabins clinging to trees that leave you just about out in the open, overlooking a little pond – and the first of the wood fired spas we came to treasure in the next two camps!
Then came a walk down the ridge for some zip lining into the Futaleufú River! Another great camp – Cave Camp – with cabins open to the rapids just outside. After lunch, a short climb up a huge crag lead to some phenomenally spectacular abseiling. Another spa to bring down the adrenalin before - another - great open-fire dinner!
Rafting some of the serious rapids on the Futaleufú was the main, crowning event before the last stop in Nun Camp – named after the mountain opposite; and my cabin hanging right at the cliff’s edge over the river! A relaxing spa was followed by a lavish feast with a lamb on the spit and a selection of great Chilean wines as the farewell from the whole team and families.
I cannot think of much at all to improve this trip - it went so completely well: First there is Ricardo’s great leadership – making me feel safe (and pampered!) all the way through; the continuous help with a smile from his father-in law Claudio; then there was the flawless execution of the logistics in an exceedingly extreme terrain; and absolutely excellent professional help from all of the team all along the way.
If really pressed I could perhaps comment that paddling on Lake Espolon is good exercise – but is it equally good adventure value?
But, in a nutshell: this was one of the very best trips of my life.