05.02.2010 - 17.02.2010 21 °C
After 2 nights on the bus, and 1 day in Bahia Blanca, Rob and I arrived in Bariloche. A smallish town in an amazing national park. Skiing is the main attraction in winter, Making it quite a prosperous place.
The first thing that bit me about the place was the cold, After over 6 months of being hot, i was suddenly reminded how it felt to shiver. Bahia Blanca had been scorching, maybe 35C, so the 10-15C in Bariloche felt bloody freezing!!! We found a hostel (Hostel Santo Antonio) 15 cold minutes walking from the town centre. The first day we just explored the place, arranged to go camping.
Next day (or so, i cant bloody remember what day it was can I! . . . What day is it today??) we took the bus, then walked to a campsite by lago Stefan, camped there, cooked over an open fire. If anyonbe EVER tries to convince you that gravel makes a comfortable base for a tent, just walk away and never talk to them again.
We cooked our porridge for breakfast, found out that the trail we were going to take was closed (Normal SA bullshit) so started to walk south along a different trail that would take us to Rio Villegas. About 6 hours walking and a 10 min hitchhike we started looking for a place to sleep, off the gravel track in a beautiful wooded creak we found a steep scrable top a grassy rock ledge. Fresh water, plunge pools and an amazing view, out of site of the road, perfect. . .
Breakfast, poridge again, but this time with milk. We walked for between 3 and 4 hours, crossing a glacier blue river and several streams, through woodlands, open grasslands, past isolated houses to an area next to the river, with plenty of wook for cooking and shade from the wind and the little rain we got.
The last day we "swam" in the ice cold glacial melt river, well, more of a jump in and get out as quickly as our semi frozen bodies would move. Walked back to the track and hitched back to the road.
Bariloche was PACKED, peak Argentine holiday season was hampering our chances of getting a room. We couldnt get a place anywhere. We needed to sort our priorities, we found the nearest all you can eat.
That night we had to camp on the grass verge of a carpark. It was the best nights sleep we had in a tent, as we found a pile of hay to make a matress from. SWEET.
Suzie caught up with us. We went for a walk up the local ski piste's. The three of us decicded to do a one day hike up a valley to lagoa negra. We had been told the walk would take us 3-4 hours. After three hours of comfotable walking through open pine forest along a river, we were faced with a ahrd two hour climb to the top. We had no option but to get to the top for the night. The climb was steep but rewarding, as the scene around the lake at the top of the mountain was amazing. A small glacial melt lake, edged by two snowey peaks, a pass behind, and a refugio on the shore. The refugio was amazing. A smallish bar/pub, serving beer (some made at the refugio), pizza, snacks. Lit mostly with candles and playing some relaxing funky tunes. All suprising at the top of the mountain.