The end of the Caraterra Austral
Mar 2, 2011
|The end of the Caraterra Austral, Chaitan then to Chiloe Island to (Castro, Ancud) Camping Libre on Lago Llanquihue.\ About 1300 miles of some of the most beautiful mountains, Lakes, rivers, and Glaciers in the world.
2/22-drove out from the town of Futaleufu and found a great little libre sight on the Rio Azul. Before that we spent a good part of the afternoon at the computer catching up. At a great little restarante called Sur de Andes. As the sun sat the large mountain behind us cleared for a bit to show us the Three fingers of its spires... quite beautiful.
2/23- In the mourning we found that we were at the put in site for an American Company Called Chile Explore. Talked to a guide that had been on the kern and worked for Outdoor adventures and White Water Voyages. Small world isn't it. He gave us some tips on the fishing down into Yelcho lake. drove from Rio Azul to a fishing lodge called Fly George along the end of the Futaleufu river as it empties into Lago Yelcho. Fished that afternoon on the lake trying to land a big rainbow, Got a large 22 incher, but no pictures.($150.00 US). I forgot to bring the camera. Fly George had been in the Patagonia area for 16 years. He owned a rafting and fishing business on the Futaleufu but last year bought this great little place on the Fu. So he is now an owner of a lodge right on the river... Boy this is the place to come back to. I saw many rainbows that would make your heart stop. But because of the full moon and clear skies the fishing wasn't so good. George/Jorge, told me about the Steelhead and browns that were in the lake and river. The King salmon were also on this section but hadn't started to run yet. What a place...
2/24- I watched Jorge make a couple of flys and then paid him for the fishing. He felt badly about such a poor outcome that he said that he would give me a lesson on the dock. I am having a horrible time keeping my wrist from moving, which doesn't allow the rod to do the work. My arm was about ready to fall off from the extra work I was doing the day before. After Jorge showed me how it felt to do it right and what it sounded like, I was casting a floating line way out there, with little effort.... in the borken conversation he disclosed that he needed some engine oil, and wanted to know if I had any to spare. You bet, gave it to him. Jorge let us use his cat and I rowed up the Fu about a mile and Karla watched me fish for a while. Had a couple of fish follow me in but no bites. Had lunch then floated back to Fly Georges resort on the beautiful Futaleufu. Passed come great glaciers, Yelcho Glacier hanging from the tops of tall mountains. It was a beautiful warm day with no clouds. Camped that night at the Amarillo Termas, just south of Chaiten. To soak in those pools. They were about 37 degrees centegrate, which is I think, around 100 f. Libre camped in the parking lot.
2/25-Drove into the city of Chaitan and were dumbfounded to find hardly any services there, no bank, but they did have gas. There was no electricity in town and fewer than a 1,000 people lived there after the Volcano erupted and destroyed the town in 2008. It is just this year beginning to get back on its feet. The grocery market was in bad shape as were the fruits and vegetables. We also found out that the ferry only took reservations and we wanted to go from Caleta Gonzoles to Hornopen. Oh, well it had been booked and the only way out of Chaiten was to take a ferry in the opposite direction to Castro,Chiloe on Sunday or drive back to the town of Futaleufu and into Argentina near Esqual. So we waited till the ferry office opened and luckily was able to pay for the ferry with our visa card. Wheeewwww. Because we were almost out of money... at least to pay for the ferry... Drove to Pumalin National park and got a flat on the wrong road. So now I had to get that fixed, and drive at least another 40 to 50 miles before I could get it fixed in Castro. It was a bit tense driving without a functional spare through the park. We arrived at Vulcan campground it was so beautiful with the site of the Huge Volcano Michimahuida (2404m-almost 8,000 ft.)and its large ice fields. The mosquitoes were for the first time terrible that evening. Also we were right underneath the smoking Volcano that destroyed Chaitan,Volcan Chaiten. The heat from the blast also killed a large area of trees for miles in a circumferance from the blast. It was sad to see such destruction. The distruction in Chaiten was also devestating, surprisingly no one was killed. The river change course and went right through the middle of town. The bay on the ocean side was filled with about a half mile of debrie. So that ment that the ferry dock was not funcitonal until they dredge it out in 2009.
2/26-Woke later in the morning than we usually do and had no view what so ever of the Volcano and ice field. A German couple stopped to ask us about the exchange rate of the peso and the dollar. They only had dollars. We talked a little and found that they too were trapped and had to drive back to Argentina rather than go to Chiloe. They had been traveling for 12 years all over the world. Their old Mercedes truck looked like it.
We drove to Caleta Gonzoles, with 4 hitch hikers and had a great lunch at the only cafe there. We had the time that day to hike some of the well maintained trails in the park. The first was through the forest to see some of the famed Alerces (Fitzroy cypress). These are cousins to our redwoods and are very tall and old. The walk into this temperate rainforest was quite beautiful. I had been birdwatching this whole time on the Careterra and had found many species but no new ones, we are in the early fall now and I was seeing a large number of young hanging with their parents. The white crowned Elania is the dominant bird of the forest. Although we have seen a number of Chacao Tapaculas, and the red throated Hue Hue. Karla loves these little Tapaculas, they are like a huge wren that feed on the ground with a little short tail that stick up perpendicularly from its body, thus giving it a wren like tail look. We also took another walk, not OSHIA approved walk to a waterfall, the trouble they put into making a trail through this terrain is appreciated.
As we were driving slowly to find a site to stay that evening we came upon an interesting site. Fishing had been not allowed in Pumalin for about 5 years. So I couldn't fish. Well, while hiking on the horribly steep waterfall hike we heard a helicopter. Yes, as we got a overview of Laguna Negra we saw two fly fishermen casting into fish rising at the end of the lake. The chopper was on the bank with chairs, table and the pilot was apparently getting I suspect some wine and snacks ready after they were finished. Well I do guess that this park still is privately owned or someone is making up the rules for us peons...
Found a camp that night at a real nice place overlooking another lake, Laguna Blanco. Met the Germans there and the man told Karla that he had seen a Wiretail, a lifer for me if I could find it....After our afternoon Mate, We enjoyed the last of our BOXED wine that evening while watching the sunset over the laguna with the little Tapaculas scurrying the ground around us.
2/27- I woke and was determined to find that little Wiretail, so I hunted for it for about two hours. Finally came back to the car and Karla had by then just got up and had the coffee ready. This place was particularly birdy, Elanias, Patagonia finches, Greenbacked firecrown hummers, Thorntailed Rayaditos, and Tapaculas, and Hue hues. Surprisingly there were no ducks or other water birds on the lake. Well as I was sitting on the edge of the van, yes, the wiretail showed up in the cane bushes next to the car... What a great look at this little secretive bird as it picked its way through to disappear into the forest underbrush. I was quite please to finally get a lifer...
Drove to Chaiten to be there two hours before the ferry arrived... Had lunch and read our books until we loaded up. Met an Oregonian that was on a visit back to this area that he visited about ten years earlier. He was estonished at the destruction and changes that had occurred this short time. It took a while for the loading. We finally arrived in Castro, Chiloe, at around midnight. We found a campsite just outside of town and finally got to bed.
2/28- We were the only ones in the site and paid about $30.00 dollars. But we did get showers, sorry Karla, but mine was warmer. Spent the day at Castro. Got money, fixed the flat tire, had a better spare mounted to the rim, and went shopping for staples, then filled our propane tank up at a place that we remembered from last year. The guy even remembered us as well. We got to Ancud around three in the afternoon and decided to cross the Chacao Channel and move north. As I was driving the freeway, at 65 to 70mph Pacos tranny really began slipping as I went up inclines. Oh, no, what does this mean. Passed through Puerto Montt and found a libre sight on Llanguihue Lake just out of the town by that name. It has two big factories, Nestle's, and Cocinere de Llanquihue(a meat processing plant for pig products)
3/1-spent the day in Puerto Varas working on finding a place to change the tranny fluid and filter. And paid some bills and got caught up on emails. Took most of the day to find a mechanic that would do the job. The filter for the transmission fluid was thick with deposits of burned fluid. So with a change of fluid it seemed to shift much better. We will see if this was the problem.... Went back to lago Llanquihue and found another Libre sight on the lake that was a little more descretly positioned. But have found that this was an active necking place. So we servived with a nice Pisco Sour and a beautiful view and with love all around what could be better... Its free...