Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Los Alerces National Park

Entering the Park
The ride from Trevelin started with a hard climb on an unpaved road. Afterwards, we reached an empty paved road, in which we enjoyed very much to ride. The entrance to the national park Los Alerces was quite expensive (50 AR$), especially as some people enter the park just to pass through the 70 km long road. We still chose to enter, as we were told this is a very nice park, and as the alternative was the windy and busy Ruta 40 (the famous road crossing Argentina from south to north).


To utilize better the money we had to pay for the park, we decided to stay there for one more day and hike a bit. At the entrance stood 5 people, whose sole job was to charge money from people and give a free map. They refused to give us any information about hikes, and sent us to the rangers´ station which was 2 km off road. There we received another free map with description of hikes, from a man who wasn´t trying to be very helpful. We ate lunch there, and saw some weird kids, apparently on some agricultural course, who were taking out pieces of grass while jumping and laughing. From there we continued to a free camping site, that didn´t even have a bathroom.


When we started to cook, a huge bus arrived with 5 Argentinian guys, who were very polite and apologized for camping near us.


They invited us to look at the inside of the very old bus, which was converted to a camper van. It had 3 single beds and a double bed, a refrigerator and an oven. They invited us for Parillia (BBQ), but we were asleep by the time they started cooking.

We planned to take a 3 hour hike called Laguna Escondida (the hidden lagoon), and according to the map, registration is obligatory for that hike.


We tried to cycle to the rangers to register, but it was so far away, that we gave up and started the hike without registering. It was an hour climb until the lagoon, where we lunched and rested a bit.


The way down was even faster and passed through a Mirrador with marvelous view of the park.


When we finished hiking and got back to the bicycles, we found out that we didn´t have the key to the lock. So we started walking toward the camping, in hope that we would be able to hitch hike there. After walking more than half an hour, and not getting near the camping, a car stopped and took us. In the car was a nice Argentinian couple, being on a road trip around Argentina. On the way back to the bicycles, we managed to hitch hike quickly with another couple of who we suspected were illegal immigrants who planned to work in the park, but we didn´t quite understand what work this was exactly.


When we finally got back to the camping with the bikes, the guys from the bus were getting ready to go out fishing. We used the few hours of day light left for fixing 4 tubes and changing a punctured one (Amit), and cooking (Shoham).


                     Shoham & Amit

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