Patagonia – baby Lotta’s 7 week backpacking adventure (part 1)

“As soon as I saw you I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.” ― A.A. Milne

It’s all so quiet in the blogosphere, when you’re busy living. Blogging has become low on the priority ladder, due to being a full-time dad and a timeconsuming career change to teaching. Nevertheless I hope I will find some time to add some posts about the adventures we do/did with Lotta, who is almost 2 years old at the time of writing. I’m lagging behind reports of quite a pile of longer adventures: Patagonia (austral summer 2016), Vosges (spring 2016), Lapland (summer 2016), Mallorca (winter 2016), Picos de Europa (spring 2017), Canadian Rockies (summer 2017), Iceland (summer 2017)… Well, we’ll see how fast/slow the fifo runs out.

When our baby girl was 20 weeks old we took her on a 45-days adventure to south-central Patagonia. In a series of 3 posts I will give a pictorial insight in the adventurous trip we took in february-march 2016.

Hang on there. Pic from day 38 on the 6-week adventure. Fitz Roy range. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

Hang on there. Pic from day 40 on the 6-week adventure. Fitz Roy range. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

Babies are so flexible. All they need is love, warmth and breastfeeding. Keep them close to the body and slow down your adventure. Anything is possible. In my first post on the Patagonia trip I will not add much chatter. In the next update, I’ll give some more logistical insights. Here is part 1 of the pictorial trip report.

A breastfeeding rest after a climb out of Pampa Linda. Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. Rio Negro. Patagonia. Argentina.

A breastfeeding rest after a climb out of Pampa Linda. Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. Rio Negro. Patagonia. Argentina.

For a multiday trek, mommy carried Lotta in a flexible swing on the chest. Close contact is possible. Mommy carries a 8-9kg backpack, containing sleeping bags, clothes and baby stuff.

Tomamos curanto en Marita Estrella. Chaitén. Region de los Lagos. Patagonia. Chile.


Camping under the Milky Way. Parque Pumalin. Region de los Lagos. Patagonia. Chile.


I’ll stop my first post on Patagonia here, because tomorrow we leave for a new 6-week adventure to the Canadian Rockies and Iceland. The second post you might expect by the end of the summer! Happy adventures.

For those of interest you can follow our Delorme sattelite beacon updates by clicking on the following map!

Live updates from Lotta on adventure!

Live updates from Lotta on adventure!

Baby Lotta goes backpacking in Patagonia – video

Everything you can imagine is real. – Picasso

It’s been a while. Parenting. Time consuming. Free moments are spend together and outdoors. Our girl is 7 months young now. She grows on sight. We’re enjoying the best times of our lives so far. When she was 20 weeks old, we took her on a extremely rewarding backcountry backpacking trip into Chilean and Argentine Patagonia. 45 days. Ice-caked mountains, evergreen virgin rainforrests, eye-blurring blue and green rivers, golden rolling pampa, abundant wildlife, rare humans, vitamin D spitting sun, howling wind, freshes ever air and senses running overtime. Contrary to gut feeling, it turned our baby way more relaxed then when put between four walls.

This is the video impression which will consume 6 minutes of your life.

A more extensive report in word and photos might follow somewhere in time.

Scree descent after summiting active volcano Chaitén, Parque Pumalin, Palena province, Patagonia, Chile

Scree descent after summiting active volcano Chaitén, Parque Pumalin, Palena province, Patagonia, Chile. March 10th, 2016.

This is your life! Do what you love and do it often.

Patagonia – un paseo otoñal entre la roca, el hielo y la lenga

(an autumnal ramble between rock, ice and a lenga tree)

Our thru-hike of Aysén ends in the sleepy, frontier town of Villa o’Higgins, where the dusty Carretera Austral dirt road arrived only 12 years ago, surrounded by snowy mountain peaks, lush lenga forrests and the northeastern arm of the huge, turquoise Lago O’Higgins. Nature halts all human progress. The vast Southern Patagonian Ice Field dominates to the south and west.

Dark clouds gather and strong winds blow over the southwestern arm of the 1000 km² Lago O'Higgins in Deep Patagonia, Aysen, Chile. Its turquoise melting waters from the Southen Patagonian Ice Cap, drain to the Pacific through the threatened Rio Pascua. Notice the waves on the lake.

Dark clouds gather and strong winds blow over the southwestern arm of the 1000 km² Lago O’Higgins in Deep Patagonia, Aysen, Chile. Its turquoise melting waters from the Southen Patagonian Ice Cap, drain to the Pacific through the threatened Rio Pascua. Notice the waves on the lake.

An exploration hike up an unnamed peak, raising high above the Eastern arm of the Lago O'Higgins, Aysen, Patagonia, Chile. Remark the Chilea border post of Candelario Mancilla down left.

An exploration hike up an unnamed peak, raising high above the Eastern arm of the Lago O’Higgins, Aysen, Patagonia, Chile. Remark the Chilea border post of Candelario Mancilla down left.

Some marketing boys/girls woudl call this remote part Deep Patagonia. Non-motorized travellers, nevertheless, don’t have to retrace hundreds of kms north to find a passable and legal border crossing over the Andes into Argentina to reach the more touristic hot spots in Southern Patagonia. A passenger-only launch gets hikers and bikers to the other side of Lago O’Higgins, where they can get off at Candelario Mancilla, an estancia and Chilean border post of carabineros. The majority of the hikers and bikers who brave this remote launch crossing, leave immediatly for the 25km hike through dense forrest to the by-foot-reached-only Argentine border post at Lago del Desierto, which will lead them to nearby El Chalten, right into the heart of the Los Glaciares National Park.

Easter Sunday. Approaching the autumnal treeline towards a pass to reach the southeastern arm of the Lago O'Higgins. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Easter Sunday. Approaching the autumnal treeline towards a pass to reach the southeastern arm of the Lago O’Higgins. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Uninterupted, virgin Patagonian forrest towards the south. The granite tower of Cerro Fitz Roy (3359m) dominates the skyline 100km south of this peek through.

Uninterupted, virgin Patagonian forrest towards the south. The granite tower of Cerro Fitz Roy (3359m) dominates the skyline 100km south of this peek through.

Despite the incredible remoteness of this part of Patagonia, some colonizers live secculed lives with some cattle tucked between the lake, virgin forrest and the towering ice cap, with the only possibility to get away 3 times a month when the forementioned launch tuffs by (weather permitting). In stead of heading to Lago del Desierto, as do the majority of the 2500 foottravelers doing this bordercrossing in summer season, we get off to visit these remote colonizers and try to explore the ridges and shores of the southern arms of the Lago O’Higgins, with big hopes of uninterupted views over the ice field.

Glaciar Chico flowing from the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap into the southeastern arm of the Lago O'Higgins. Easter sunday. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Glaciar Chico flowing from the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap into the southeastern arm of the Lago O’Higgins. Easter sunday. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Luigo Mancilla, a gaucho living on the southeastern arm of the Lago O'Higgins, rows us over the small channel to get to another penninsula which will bring us closer the Southen Patagonian Ice Cap.

Luigo Mancilla, a gaucho living on the southeastern arm of the Lago O’Higgins, rows us over the small channel to get to another penninsula which will bring us closer the Southen Patagonian Ice Cap.

Strong winds blow of the ice cap, forming impressive lenticulars over the pass we walked over a couple hours ago. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Strong winds blow of the ice cap, forming impressive lenticulars over the pass we walked over a couple hours ago. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Cordón GAEA, towering above a tarn. On route towards uniterupted views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Cordón GAEA, towering above a tarn. On route towards uniterupted views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

The Glaciar O'Higgins calving from the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap into the southwestern arm of the Lago O'Higgins. The glacier front sticks out 60m above the water surface. It takes 2 days from Candelario Mancilla to get to this remote rocky outcrop towering high above the ice. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

The Glaciar O’Higgins calving from the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap into the southwestern arm of the Lago O’Higgins. The glacier front sticks out 60m above the water surface. It takes 2 days from Candelario Mancilla to get to this remote rocky outcrop towering high above the ice. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Sun rises over the Cordon O'Higgins at the seccluded rancho of Don Lagos. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Sun rises over the Cordon O’Higgins at the seccluded rancho of Don Lagos. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

https://i2.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8267/8708673604_ecf6958b49_b.jpg

“No trabajo con turistas, ahora entra! Toman mate?”/”I don’ work with tourists, so please come in and let’s have a yerba mate” – says Don Lagos as we melt from the heat around his stove after a long day to reach his seccluded house. We are the first foreigners he sees passing by since one year. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

An abandoned ranch along the central arm of the Lago O'Higgins. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

An abandoned ranch along the central arm of the Lago O’Higgins. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

March turns into April. Magical red colours tumble down the mountain slopes, leaving only the valley floor with green toppings. It’s unuasally hot and crisp for the time of the year. You should be blown of your feet from this ridge so close to the ice cap at these latitudes. We reach a rocky outcrop. It’s all ice as far as the eye stretches west. The hue of the light is indescribable but very addictive. Milky white transcends into turquoise blue when the huge, fat glaciers breakmelt into the cold waters of the Lago O’Higgins. Sharp peaks emerge from the ice, shaking hands with the clouds. To the east, the contract of lakelight with the golden, yellow steppe leaves us stunned.

Lenga forrest turning in fairylike red in autumn. Lago del Desierto. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

Lenga forrest turning in fairylike red in autumn. Lago del Desierto. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

A snow dusting completes the picturesque views over Lago del Desierto. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

A snow dusting completes the picturesque views over Lago del Desierto. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

Routefinding over sandy grounds towards the  Loma de las Pizarras in the Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

Routefinding over sandy grounds towards the Loma de las Pizarras in the Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

There’s no way of getting bored of Patagonia. Every new visit reveals more beauty and secrets. It’s living a dream, for real and we inhale every part of it. We pass through the ranch of a lonely gaucho, set up camp, and sip mate all evening, trying to explain the complex politics of a small, bustling little country lacking any noticeable backcountry, mountain or glacier. The gaucho frowns and chuckles. Outside a full moon rises and a big chunk of ice says goodbye to the ice cap and tuffs by the ranch.

Exploring the Loma de las Pizarras ridge, with Cerro Solo (2121m) towering above the Laguna Torre. PN Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Exploring the Loma de las Pizarras ridge, with Cerro Solo (2121m) towering above the Laguna Torre. PN Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Moraine is only what's left what used to be the Glaciar Piedras Blancas. Patagonia is a huge outdoor labo for global warming. In no other part of the world glaciers are melting at this astounishing, alarming rate.

Moraine is only what’s left what used to be the Glaciar Piedras Blancas. Patagonia is a huge outdoor labo for global warming. In no other part of the world glaciers are melting at this astounishing, alarming rate.

Ñires and lenga trees struggle to get grip on the rocky ground so close to the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. A rock throw away the golden steppes of  Patagonia yearn for winds.

Ñires and lenga trees struggle to get grip on the rocky ground so close to the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. A rock throw away the golden steppes of Patagonia yearn for winds.

When coming down from the Pizarras ridge, we encounter these huge puma tracks around our left behind packs. Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

When coming down from the Pizarras ridge, we encounter these huge puma tracks around our left behind packs. Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

Glaciar Grande melts into Laguna Torre. Cordon Adela and world famous Cerro Torre (3133m) granite needle playing hide-and-seek in the clouds. PN Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Glaciar Grande melts into Laguna Torre. Cordon Adela and world famous Cerro Torre (3133m) granite needle playing hide-and-seek in the clouds. PN Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

By the time we eventually reach Argentine’s self-proclaimed trekking capital of El Chalten, the village is allready going into close-down mode. A handfull of brave backpackers shop the couple of outdoor shops for hiring a warm sleeping and a dry tent to get them towards the bases of of the famous Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.

The granite needles of Cerro Fitz Roy and Poincenot are proud garders of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Los Glaciares National Park.

The granite needles of Cerro Fitz Roy and Poincenot are proud garders of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Los Glaciares National Park.

Towards the base of Cerro Torre. But it's all hide-and-seek. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Towards the base of Cerro Torre. But it’s all hide-and-seek. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Dripping rain over the Laguna Torre. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Dripping rain over the Laguna Torre. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

A first autumn prick dusts the upper slopes with a reflective carpet of photogenic white. Lenticulars form cartoonish figures above the golden steppe. At dusk skies are clad with gold, orange, pink and a deep blue over the horizon. With a couple of stable days ahead, we climb away out of town towards more remote, windswept ridges with more uninterupted views towards the mysterious black & white backbone of the Lautaro-range cutting the ice cap in half. At our foot spreads out the maze of crevasses of the Viedma Glacier, snaking its way through the mountains towards its namesake lake, where the ice is losing the global warming debate.

Scouting a route for crossing the Glacier Tunel towards the Paso del Viento, which is at the upperleft corner of the picture. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Scouting route for crossing the Glacier Tunel towards the Paso del Viento, which is at the upperleft corner of the picture. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Descending the Paso del Viento towards the side moraine of Glaciar Viedma, which forms part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. The Lautaro range splits the ice cap exactly in half. Bernardo o'higgins National Park. Magallanes region. Patagonia. Chile.

Descending the Paso del Viento towards the side moraine of Glaciar Viedma, which forms part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. The Lautaro range splits the ice cap exactly in half. Bernardo o’higgins National Park. Magallanes region. Patagonia. Chile.

Before the real route finding started we crossed into Hugh and Fred, 2 young Brits on a South American backpacking trip. They had little backcounty experience and seemed very happy with our company into this remote, wild place.

Before the real route finding started we crossed into Hugh and Fred, 2 young Brits on a South American backpacking trip. They had little backcounty experience and seemed very happy with our company into this remote, wild place.

High on the moraine of Glaciar Viedma. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

High on the moraine of Glaciar Viedma. Los Glaciares. Patagonia. Argentina.

Glaciar Viedma calves into Lago Viedma. A huge amount of condors soar high above. Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

Glaciar Viedma calves into Lago Viedma. A huge amount of condors soar high above. Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

A rest on the cross-country, undulating route towards El Chalten. Lago and Glacier Viedma. Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

A rest on the cross-country, undulating route towards El Chalten. Lago and Glacier Viedma. Los Glaciares National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

Our idea of packrafting 2 rivers in the Torres del Paine National Park, are halted by prolonged instable, rainy and windy forecast. An Indian Summer forecast for norhtern Patagonia on the other hand, makes us decide to alter our southern course into an northern one.

A gaucho once told us, there’s nothing to be more afraid of getting lost on the desolate Patagonian Pampa, so a 2-day busride on the Ruta 40 brought us back in Bariloche, where we started our adventure back in January. As fast as we could, we left town with all gear and food for a 14-day traverse towards El Bolson, to witness the mountains, rivers and forrest surrender to autumn.

Descending into autumn on a 14-day hike along the Huella Andina route from Bariloche to El Bolson through the Nahuel Huapi National Park and Comarca Andina ranges. Lakes region. Rio Negro. Patagonia. Argentina.

Descending into autumn on a 14-day hike along the Huella Andina route from Bariloche to El Bolson through the Nahuel Huapi National Park and Comarca Andina ranges. Lakes region. Rio Negro. Patagonia. Argentina.

Lenga forrests falling into autumn. Nahuel Huapi National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

Lenga forrests falling into autumn. Nahuel Huapi National Park. Patagonia. Argentina.

Autumn around Laguna Jacob. PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

Autumn around Laguna Jacob. PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

I say jump! PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

I say jump! PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

A frosty night on the shores of Lago Mascardi, which we explored on packraft. The nearby Rio Manso is so shallow this time of the year, we have to content ourselves with lakes. Cerro Tronador (3491m) dominates the lunar lit skyline. PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

A frosty night on the shores of Lago Mascardi, which we explored on packraft. The nearby Rio Manso is so shallow this time of the year, we have to content ourselves with lakes. Cerro Tronador (3491m) dominates the lunar lit skyline. PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

Rivers to shallow? Let's play on the lake then... Lago Mascardi. Argentina.

Rivers to shallow? Let’s play on the lake then… Lago Mascardi. Argentina.

Climbing up towards Refugio Otto Meiling. PN Nahuel Huapi. Cerro Tronador. Patagonia. Argentina.

Climbing up towards Refugio Otto Meiling. PN Nahuel Huapi. Cerro Tronador. Patagonia. Argentina.

Mmmm. Malbec. Argentine's finest. Refugio Otto Meiling. Cerro Tronador. Argentina.

Mmmm. Malbec. Argentine’s finest. Refugio Otto Meiling. Cerro Tronador. Argentina.

Farm-gazing. Lago Steffen. PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

Farm-gazing. Lago Steffen. PN Nahuel Huapi. Argentina.

Exploring the Lago Steffen. Nahuel Huapi National Park. Argentina.

Exploring the Lago Steffen. Nahuel Huapi National Park. Argentina.

Hugging 3000-year old Alerce trees in the Valdivian rain forrest. Comarca Andina. Argentina.

Hugging 3000-year old Alerce trees in the Valdivian rain forrest. Comarca Andina. Argentina.

Stands of 3000 year old Alerce trees in the rain forrest. Comarca Andina. El Bolson. Argentina.

Stands of 3000 year old Alerce trees in the rain forrest. Comarca Andina. El Bolson. Argentina.

Gaucho crossing the Rio Azul. Comarca Andina. Argentina.

Gaucho crossing the Rio Azul. Comarca Andina. Argentina.

With the last rosty leaves to cover the forrest floors, it’s time to settle the last 4 months of venturing into the backcountry of our beloved Patagonia. We accumulate a total of 1 year exploring Patagonia from 3 prolonged trips spread over 5 years. In some places locals start to recognize us from previous years and invite us for a talk over mate. Some are stunned on how detailed we know some remote corners of this pristine corner of the world, altough we feel we only start to know our way through this huge empty space of wild.

Will we be back? There’s a legend that says “the one who bades in the Rio Limay, will come back a lifetime to Patagonia”. We’ve been swimming and packrafting this pristine river back in January 😉

Time flies by. We have 3 months left from our gap year. Let’s head north to Colombia and Peru to meet some old friends…

For more pictures from our last 5 weeks rambling Deep Patagonia, please click:

Lago O’Higgins
Los Glaciares
Huella Andina

Catch you on the flip side! Thanks for coming by to our blog. We're off to Colombia and Peru now...

Catch you on the flip side! Thanks for coming by to our blog. We’re off to Colombia and Peru now…

Quien se apura en la Patagonia, pierde el tiempo

(the one who hurries through Patagonia, wastes time)

The Chilean Patagonian region of Aysén, has been the remotest corner of the southern cone for centuries. Only recently the region has been connected to the outside world through the construction of the Carretera Austral, a 1200 km long dirt road, connecting fishing villages in the archipelago and settlements along the Andean mountains sculptured by the reatreating Northern Patagonian Ice Field.

The Rio Ibanez basin as seen descending from the Cerro Castillo ridge. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

The Rio Ibanez basin as seen descending from the Cerro Castillo ridge. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Nevertheless it remains difficult to reach and only determined tourists intrude its isolation, altough it has huge potential for any kind of adventure. And there is still a lot to be explored, to say the least. This is Patagonia at its purest. Mountains, huge glaciers, fjords, deepblue fishrich lakes, native dense forests, shy fauna and true surviving, hospitable gaucho culture.

Huemul or Andean deer. An estimated 2000 animals of this endangered deer species are left in Patagonia. We met this young, curious male while hiking through the Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo.

Huemul or Andean deer. An estimated 2000 animals of this endangered deer species are left in Patagonia. We met this young, curious male while hiking through the Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo.

Previous trips through this little inhabited region had us been rushing through on the way towards the more famous attractions in the south, but not this time. We were detemined to explore thoroughly this time. So, the last 6 weeks we have been sort of thru hiking the region by following old gaucho routes who used to be the only connection between the settlements before the Carretera Austral came.

Patagonian night. Playing by the fire...

Patagonian night. Playing by the fire…

Aysén is threatened by a plan to build five hydro-electrical dams on the Baker and the Pascua rivers, two of the purest and wildest in the world. This could become an ecological disaster, affecting ecosystems for endangered species, who already have to fight loss of habitat from huge, manmade, unnecessary forest fires in the past. Luckily their are great conservation initiaves like the new proposed Future Patagonia National Park, which has huge touristic potential, becoming a new Torres del Paine.

We leave the region, with even more ideas then before. I could write a book on the adventure and ecotouristic opportunities here. Maybe a future project 🙂

Please come here to float it’s rivers and hike its ridges. Because that is what you really can do to preserve this pristine corner of the world. Tourism is Aysén’s future and answer for conservation.

The following series of pics is our trip report from and ode to Aysén and to a Patagonia without dams. Patagonia sin Represas! Reserva de Vida! Rios libres!

Exploring a wild ridge in the Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo. Aysen, Chilean Patagonia.

Exploring a wild ridge in the Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo. Aysen, Chilean Patagonia.

Beard lichen is omnipresent in the dense, pure Patagonian lenga forrests.

Beard lichen is omnipresent in the dense, pure Patagonian lenga forrests.

Dry them runners...

Dry them runners…

The rugged ranges and a good trail begin to attract tourists into the diverse Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

The rugged ranges and a good trail begin to attract tourists into the diverse Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Approaching San Lorenzo. A huge, glaciated mountain range on the border with Argentina, and a last stop for Patagonian storms to drop their content before blowing off into the steppes. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Approaching San Lorenzo. A huge, glaciated mountain range on the border with Argentina, and a last stop for Patagonian storms to drop their content before blowing off into the steppes. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

A curious Condor flies over the ridge, investigating the small moving dots in its habitat. San Lorenzo range. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

A curious Condor flies over the ridge, investigating the small moving dots in its habitat. San Lorenzo range. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Glaciar d'Agostini flowing down from the San Lorenzo range. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

Glaciar d’Agostini flowing down from the San Lorenzo range. Aysen. Patagonia. Chile.

The San Lorenzo massif in all it's glory. Aysen. Ruta de los Pilcheros. Patagonia. Chile.

The San Lorenzo massif in all it’s glory. Aysen. Ruta de los Pilcheros. Patagonia. Chile.

Patagonian gaucho on the forgotten mountain routes of remote Aysen. Patagonia, Chile.

Patagonian gaucho on the forgotten mountain routes of remote Aysen. Patagonia, Chile.

More beard lichen of lenga trunks.

More beard lichen of lenga trunks.

Diversing into Argentine soil on the Ruta de los Pilcheros. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Diversing into Argentine soil on the Ruta de los Pilcheros. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Don Rial Heraldo. Patagonian gaucho, living in a far-off radar valley, deep in the Andean mountains, a 4-day horseback ride to the nearest town of Cohrane. We sip yerba mate all afternoon and can't stop laughing with all his stories and jokes he fires at us while a storm approaches outside. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Don Rial Heraldo. Patagonian gaucho, living in a far-off radar valley, deep in the Andean mountains, a 4-day horseback ride to the nearest town of Cohrane. We sip yerba mate all afternoon and can’t stop laughing with all his stories and jokes he fires at us while a storm approaches outside. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Gaucho stove...

Gaucho stove…

Bivaouc at Don Rial's house. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Bivaouc at Don Rial’s house. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Ready for crossing Lago Alegre. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Ready for crossing Lago Alegre. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Over and along slabs. Lago Alegre, Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Over and along slabs. Lago Alegre, Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Dark clouds gather above the tiny church of Cochrane. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Dark clouds gather above the tiny church of Cochrane. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Lonely guanaco in the valle Chacabuco. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen. Chile.

Lonely guanaco in the valle Chacabuco. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen. Chile.

A clear night in the Aviles Valley. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

A clear night in the Aviles Valley. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Hiking up north into the wild Jeinimeni Reserve. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Hiking up north into the wild Jeinimeni Reserve. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Exploring up side valleys. Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Exploring up side valleys. Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Lago Verde. Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

Lago Verde. Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen, Chile.

A shelter in the Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Aysen, Chile.

A shelter in the Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeni. Aysen, Chile.

Preparing for a float down Rio Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Preparing for a float down Rio Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Packrafting the Rio Nadis. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Packrafting the Rio Nadis. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Packrafting the Rio Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Chile.

Packrafting the Rio Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Chile.

Refugio Los Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Refugio Los Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Patagonia, Chile.

Asasdo de Cordero. Roasted Lamb. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Asasdo de Cordero. Roasted Lamb. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Marking of the Calves. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Marking of the Calves. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Marking of the calves. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Marking of the calves. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Marking of the calves. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Marking of the calves. Los Nadis. Aysen, Chile.

Rancho los Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Chile.

Rancho los Nadis. Baker basin. Aysen, Chile.

The mighty Baker River. Aysen, Chile.

The mighty Baker River. Aysen, Chile.

The boardwalks of sleepy fishing settlement Tortel. Aysen, Chile.

The boardwalks of sleepy fishing settlement Tortel. Aysen, Chile.

Sipping Mate at the Baker's mouth in the Pacific. Aysen, Chile.

Sipping Mate at the Baker’s mouth in the Pacific. Aysen, Chile.

Tortel's bay. Aysen, Chile.

Tortel’s bay. Aysen, Chile.

For more pictures from our last 6 weeks in this remote corner of Patagonia, please click:

Sendero de Chile – RN Cerro Castillo
Ruta de los Pilcheros</a
The future Patagonia National Park
The Baker basin

Rest by the fire. Gaucho hospitality. Aysen. Chile.

Rest by the fire. Gaucho hospitality. Aysen. Chile.

Patagonia Verde – a refuge for biodiversity

Summer has been never ending down here in the far south. So the last 4 weeks we’ve been continuing our voluntary work for Adventure and Science by exploring dense, endemic Patagonian (rain) forests, forgotten valleys and ridges and packrafted some of its threatened rivers. Some of the areas we’ve been through are luckily protected in private or public parks but huge areas are still designated, unprotected wildlands. Except for the knowledge of locals, there is a great lack of information on these areas. So we’ve been gathering data for the Pacific Biodiversity Institute which will hopefully aid in the eventual conservation of wildlands and biodiversity.

Packrafting Rio Yelcho - Corcovado National Park, Region de los Lagos, Patagonia, Chile

Packrafting Rio Yelcho – Region de los Lagos, Patagonia, Chile

Hiking through a drowned forrest, Reserva Nacional Lago Palena, Chilean Patagonia

Hiking through a drowned forrest, Reserva Nacional Lago Palena, Chilean Patagonia

We mainly lost ourselves in the Valdivian temperate rain forests in, around and on the periphery of protected areas like Vicente Perez Rosales, Corcovado, Lago Palena, Rio Puelo and Lago Puelo. The packraft has been inflated on pristine rivers like the Yelcho and Petrohue but sadly the plan to packraft a part of the threatened Palena has been drowned in pouring rain, which abruptly halted the summer. So we’ll have to come back for that one, later on 🙂

In stead of writing an extensive trip report, we’ll treat you with a selection of pics from our explorations of the last weeks. Hopefully this will inspire you to come over here and hike the Patagonian forrests or float them rivers. Because tourism could be an important step towards conservation…

Rain has been pouring down the last few days, but it’s clearing up again, so time has come to continue feeding our Patagonian dreams.

Extensive, native lenga forrests on the mountains bordering the fjord-like Nahuel Huapi lake, Argentine Patagonia. From the ferry-ride towards the core of the national park, from which we started a 2-week double trans Andean trek into Chile and back into Argentina.

Extensive, native lenga forrests on the mountains bordering the fjord-like Nahuel Huapi lake, Argentine Patagonia. From the ferry-ride towards the core of the national park, from which we started a 2-week double trans Andean trek into Chile and back into Argentina.

Balancing over fallen trees, Virgin Patagonian Lenga Forrest, Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina

Balancing over fallen trees, Virgin Patagonian Lenga Forrest, Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina

Glaciar Frias, tumbling down from massive, extinct volcano Cerro Tronador (3491m), PN Nahuel Huapi, Argentine Patagonia

Glaciar Frias, tumbling down from massive, extinct volcano Cerro Tronador (3491m), PN Nahuel Huapi, Argentine Patagonia

The mighty Andean Condor (wingspan 3m) flying towards Laguna Frias, Argentine Patagonia

The mighty Andean Condor (wingspan 3m) flying towards Laguna Frias, Argentine Patagonia

Liolaemus lizard in the Valdivian Rain Forrest, Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, Patagonia, Argentina

Liolaemus lizard in the Valdivian Rain Forrest, Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, Patagonia, Argentina

A chilean gaucho left his gear hanging to dry. Valle Ensenada, PN Vicente Perez Rosales, Chilena Patagonia

A chilean gaucho left his gear hanging to dry. Valle Ensenada, PN Vicente Perez Rosales, Chilena Patagonia

Alvarado's rancho in the Valle Ensenada with glaciated SW-flanks of might Cerro Tronador towering above. Valle Ensenada. Chilean Patagonia.

Alvarado’s rancho in the Valle Ensenada with glaciated SW-flanks of might Cerro Tronador towering above. Valle Ensenada. Chilean Patagonia.

Gaucho flavours fill the kitchen. A fresh meal at rancho Velazquez. Valle Ensendada. PN Perez Rosales. Chilean Patagonia.

Gaucho flavours fill the kitchen. A fresh meal at rancho Velazquez. Valle Ensendada. PN Perez Rosales. Chilean Patagonia.

Deeply eroded horse trails betray that this now little used trail was once an important trade route over the Andes. Valle Ensenda. Chilean Patagonia.

Deeply eroded horse trails betray that this now little used trail was once an important trade route over the Andes. Valle Ensenda. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc at the Lago Cayutue. Volcan Puntigiado fills the horizon. PN Perez Rosales. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc at the Lago Cayutue. Volcan Puntigiado fills the horizon. PN Perez Rosales. Chilean Patagonia.

Rio Ventisquero. Rincon Bonito. Parque Pumalin. Chilean Patagonia.

Rio Ventisquero. Rincon Bonito. Parque Pumalin. Chilean Patagonia.

Asado de Cordero. Roasted lamb. Summarizes the Patagonian kitchen. Rincon Bonito. Chilean Patagonia.

Asado de Cordero. Roasted lamb. Summarizes the Patagonian kitchen. Rincon Bonito. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc at Palma - Alegria rancho where we enjoy endless Patagonian hospitality. Little foreigners penetrate into these valleys so we were invited multiple times with the local farmers and immediatly accepted as if we were family. Valle del Rio Ventisquero. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc at Palma – Alegria rancho where we enjoy endless Patagonian hospitality. Little foreigners penetrate into these valleys so we were invited multiple times with the local farmers and immediatly accepted as if we were family. Valle del Rio Ventisquero. Chilean Patagonia.

Following a creek towards the Rio Petrohue which we were going to float towards the Pacific. Volcan Osorno rising above. Chilean Patagonia.

Following a creek towards the Rio Petrohue which we were going to float towards the Pacific. Volcan Osorno rising above. Chilean Patagonia.

Taking a break along the shores of Rio Petrohue. Region de los Lagos. Chilean Patagonia.

Taking a break along the shores of Rio Petrohue. Region de los Lagos. Chilean Patagonia.

Scouting for fallen trees and rapids in the Rio Petrohue. Chilean Patagonia.

Scouting for fallen trees and rapids in the Rio Petrohue. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc on an gravel bar on an island in the Rio Yelcho. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc on an gravel bar on an island in the Rio Yelcho. Chilean Patagonia.

Packrafting Rio Petrohue. Chilean Patagonia.

Packrafting Rio Petrohue. Chilean Patagonia.

Packrafting Rio Yelcho from source to the Pacific. The river borders the Corcovado National Park. Chilean Patagonia.

Packrafting Rio Yelcho from source to the Pacific. The river borders the Corcovado National Park. Chilean Patagonia.

The Patagonian Sky at dusk. Lenticulars betray high winds. Lago Verde. Aysen. Patagonian Chile.

The Patagonian Sky at dusk. Lenticulars betray high winds. Lago Verde. Aysen. Patagonian Chile.

Pioneers who set huge fires ablaze Patagonian valleys in the early 20th Century did not think about ecological consequences. Erosion and huge, dead trunks on higher flanks are the silent witness of human's search for devolpment at any cost.

Pioneers who set huge fires ablaze Patagonian valleys in the early 20th Century did not think about ecological consequences. Erosion and huge, dead trunks on higher flanks are the silent witness of human’s search for devolpment at any cost.

A small opening in the huge, virgin forrests that clad the valleys of the Lago Palena National Reserve. Aysen. Chilean Patagonia.

A small opening in the huge, virgin forrests that clad the valleys of the Lago Palena National Reserve. Aysen. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc in virgin forrests at the shores of pristine Lago Palena. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc in virgin forrests at the shores of pristine Lago Palena. Chilean Patagonia.

Patagonian sky at night from the shores of Laguna Quitro right in the core of the Lago Palena National Reserve. Chilean Patagonia.

Patagonian sky at night from the shores of Laguna Quitro right in the core of the Lago Palena National Reserve. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc where Rio Quintro drains its namesake lake. Lago Palena National Reserve. Chilean Patagonia.

Bivaouc where Rio Quintro drains its namesake lake. Lago Palena National Reserve. Chilean Patagonia.

End of the summer as we know it. Valle Rio Azul. Alto Palena. Chilean Patagonia.

End of the summer as we know it. Valle Rio Azul. Alto Palena. Chilean Patagonia.

Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
And learned to know the desert’s little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o’er the ranges,
Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes?
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.
The Call of the Wild by Robert W. Service

For more pictures of the last 4 weeks mainly in Chilean Patagonia please click:

Patagonia Verde – Ruta de las Jesuitas
Patagonia Verde – Reserva Nacional Lago Palena
Patagonia Verde – Rio Petrohue and Yelcho

Patagonian dreamers... Crossing Rio Azul at its outlet into Lago Puelo. Argentine Patagonia.

Patagonian dreamers… Crossing Rio Azul at its outlet into Lago Puelo. Argentine Patagonia.