Our next big destination was Pichi Traful on Lago Traful which we reached about 70 breathtakingly beautiful kms later. The lodge is still there and has been expanded and now is being run as a Christian youth camp so it was all licked down and we were bit able to tour the grounds (no comment). We had spent Christmas at this lodge and at that time it was being run by a German family who had immigrated to Argentina after WWII
. As it turned out, the dad was in the infantry and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. My dad was in US Army infantry 101st division and fought in the battle of the bulge (i.e. these two men could very well have been trying to kill each other in WWII. The only other guests at the lodge over christmas were a French couple...the husband fought in the French resistance in WWII and a Japanese contingent composed of a grandson of Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese imperial Navy during WWII--he was on a hunting expedition and proudly showed us the arsenal he had in the trunk of his car. As you might imagine, this was a very interesting holiday with some pretty special memories. My mom and dad really got along well with the Kuhlmans and I got along great with the Kuhlman's son who tried to teach me how to tie flies and fish for the trophy trout that were (and still are) abundant in Lago Traful.
OK so much for the trip down memory lane. We drove down to the Lake and had a picnic lunch and did some birding with Mary adding 9 new species to her life list. After lunch we headed down the road to SMA and walked around the tiny village (about 6 X 2 blocks of "downtown").
We headed out on Rt 40 northbound for SMA, a drive of about 150 km of mostly paved road. This is the same road I took with my parents in December 1969. Just a few miles from Villa la Angostura we passed over the Correntoso River (the "shortest river in the world" at about 300 m between Lake Correntoso and Lake Nahuel Huapi. We took a short detour to the parking lot of the Hotel Correntoso where I had stayed all those years ago. It is an amazing lodge where the rooms start at well over $200 a night,