Bariloche to Parque Nacional Los Alerces

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Flag of Argentina  , Chubut,
Monday, October 31, 2011

So already a day late we managed to leave at the late hour of 11am. In fairness to us we weren't being lazy, we were getting some fantastic advice from Pablo about where to visit/eat/stay in Buenos Aires – totally worth it. 

We didn’t have an exact driving plan for the first day.  We didn’t know if we would be staying in El Bolson, which was the next town, or going all the way to Parque Nacional Los Alerces – we were just going to decide on the way.  Before leaving Bariloche we got a picture of the Ruta 40 km 2030 sign, our starting point on this famous road for our Patagonia drive.  The scenery from the start was gorgeous and we were back in the mountains which as anyone who reads our blog will know is what we’re in to.  We got to El Bolson pretty quickly and to be honest weren’t really blown away.  It’s a cute enough place and there is amazing mountain scenery surrounding it, but being the hippy capital of the area it was full of people 'spontaneously’ playing guitars in the street – not really for us.  So we had a really tasty lunch from a market stall and left!  We took a little side trip off the 40 to visit Lago Puelo, and picked up a couple of hitch-hikers for the short ride.  They couldn’t speak English and as our Spanish is poor there wasn’t much chat but we were excited to get involved in the supposed hitch-hiking culture of the Ruta 40 – and on day 1!  Lago Puelo wasn’t too interesting – beautiful of course but they are obviously doing some works around the lake to make it more touristy – adding walkways and food places I guess – which meant that half the view was obscured by building works.    

Back on the route, and the scenery for the rest of the drive that day was absolutely amazing.  Unfortunately, because I was half asleep for part of it, there are very few photos (wasn't quite on the ball) but we will certainly remember it for a long time to come.  We came off the main road to drive towards the national park and hit our first bit of gravel road.  We’re not too sure how much of the journey will be gravel because they are in the process of paving the whole road, but part of the ‘charm’ of travelling down Argentina is supposed to be the slow going of the gravely roads.  We made a bit of an error on the way down to Alerces because we passed through the town Cholila which is close to where Butch and Sundance had their homestead and we didn’t actually bother to seek it out and have a look!  In my defence I hadn’t read about it in the book until after we went past.  Kevin on the other hand had read it but hadn’t registered where it was or bothered to find out/mention it! Oh well we were in the area which is interesting in itself.  

We eventually got to the Parque Nacional Los Alerces and after a bit of driving found a free campsite by Lago Verde and were the only ones there.  We therefore got to test how to put up the tent for the first time without looking stupid in front of other people when we went wrong! It was actually quite easy and was up in 5 minutes.  Looking forward to a few nights in the tent although with the crappy mats we bought it may be interspersed with a few nights in a bed!   
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