Day 10: Hike to Laguna Escondida

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 26, 2008

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Where I stayed
Lago Verde Wilderness Resort

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 10: Hike to Laguna Escondida (Hidden Lagoon), Los Alerces National Park, El Aura
Friday, December 12th

We wake up to the sounds of birds and a view of a very calm lake.  No wind!

At breakfast, I remember Friday's intention is to "smile and laugh".  The only other guests at the cabanas at El Aura are a couple and their thirty-something daughter with their fly fishing guide.  Evidently, the area is known for its trout and fly fishing.  We wish them well today, hoping that they will catch their "Walter".
Over breakfast, we review the materials that Anna and the lodge has given us about options for the day.   We want to stay in this section of the park, and not spend time driving further south - Los Alerces is very large!  We choose the Laguna Escondida (Hidden Lagoon) destination that is rated easy in one source and medium level in another.  It is a walk through an old Coihue forest  and dense thickets of cana colihue that looks like bamboo, ascending almost 500 meters to the Hidden Lagoon.  It is a three hour return trip.     
We organize lunch with Julia who is our server this morning.  She is delightful and we manage to communicate in regard to our sandwich options.   As we walk back to our cabana we talk about how Harvey doesn't mind looking stupid as he struggles finding Spanish words - he just laughs it off.  He comments that if you can't laugh, you're dead.  We talk about Julia and how she seems to smile from the inside and seems sweet.  It is interesting how smiles can be authentic and come from the inside-out, or be affected in that someone might have a smile on your face, but talk negatively - hence a mismatch between what is being said and how it is delivered.

We pack our stuff with the intention of spending some time at the Hidden Lagoon.  This means backpacks with reading material, guitar and camera equipment.  We find the trail marker a few kilometers from El Aura and park the car on the road.  At the beginning of the trail there is a map and description signpost.  We start up the steep incline and are surprised how steep it is!  We are accompanied by horse flies, and we can hear their constant buzz (much like a large mosquito) and we swat at them as we walk.  We pass some large trees that are old Coihue, bamboo stands, and some excellent viewpoints (miradors) of Lago Verde and the glacier in the distance.  It is beautiful!  The path is well marked as you can see in the photos.  We take short breaks along the way for some water, but we want to keep moving because of the horse flies.  At one point we need to walk on some logs that have been placed in a wet area of the path.  Harvey goes first and I follow, but I step into a muddy area and start sinking and losing my balance - Harvey reaches out to me, and unfortunately I grab his hand and press his bad thumb.  He is howling in pain.  I feel terrible.  We continue on silently.  It takes us 1 hour 10 minutes to make it to the Laguna, most of which is this steep incline.  This is rated easy or moderate?  Whew! 

Harvey is ahead of me and reaches the lake first.  He says that we are not alone. I wonder...then he points to the cow in the water!  And now we learn that there are even more horse flies around the lake!  We put down our backpacks, go to the lake and splash water on our hands and faces.  We sit on the grass and eat one sandwich....then we high tail it out of there!  It is a pretty lake and isolated and at another time I can see that it would feel exceptionally peaceful.  But today, the chorus of horse flies buzzing around our heads are just too much!  We have no desire to be their lunch!  Thank goodness we are wearing pants and long sleeves so we are protected, because they do bite!

The return trip is mostly downhill and we sometimes walk down sideways to put less strain on our legs and knees in some especially steep sections.  We make it down in 50 minutes.  We get into our car and still hear of those horse flies has gotten into the car!  We open the windows and it is gone.
Back at El Aura we walk into the restaurant and have a cold Argentinian beer and eat our second sandwich.  The oreo cookies are yummy.   After dropping our stuff in the cabana, we walk down to our lake (Lago Verde) - notice the adjective "our".  Off-season is a great time to be here as we are the only ones on the beach!  There is a beautiful breeze and no horse flies!  The sound of the water lapping and the breeze through the trees is now what we hear!  So soothing.  We have the intention to read, but we lie down on the beach, and we each take a nap.  When we wake up, we put our feet in the water. 

Our photos from today!
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