Awaking to a beautiful, peaceful view of the lake right outside our tent,we quickly got ready to have a packed day exploring the circuit Chico. Our first stop was a popular mirador at Cerro Campanario where there were two options to get to the top, a gondola ride or hike up. So, why not get our first Patagonia hike in (plus it was the free option). Maybe a mistake…this was a rather steep incline, not made any easier by the dirt terrane, that definitely made us feel a little out of shape. The view at the top was spectacular and totally worth it though, getting to see a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountain range.
The hike back down was fun and kind of scary. In some sections we ended up getting a lot of speed going downhill in order to avoid tip-toeing and getting even more toe-jam (when your feet slide forward in your shoe while going downhill, causing the jamming of said toes) then was already happening.
Our next stop was a park on lake Nahuel Huapi, where we got to hike around, explore, and I think even pinched ourselves as we were in awe of the continued splendid scenery. After walking around snapping some pictures, we found a sunny spot to have a snack and relax under the sun, still with the gorgeous view . On our way back to the car, Uriah noticed some dry wood that was just waiting to be picked up by someone looking to have a fire (ME, ME, ME). Since we weren’t sure of the local policies regarding the taking of wood, we “stealthily” (in quotes because in order for us to fit the wood into Maria, Uriah had to break it apart which involved throwing the logs against rocks and other logs) tried to load up as much as we could. Quickly continuing on, before anyone could question us, we slowly drove onward. There was plenty to see just from the car, so we stopped a lot to take pictures and enjoy the scenery.
A little further down the road there was a small hike up to a cemetery that was on my map that we decided to stop into. This small cemetery was placed alongside a dried up creek bed. It looked interesting, going up the cliffside and into a canyon, and we were feeling on the adventurous side (when are we not?). So, we started climbing. A little more intense than we were expecting, given that we had no rock climbing experience beforehand. And by rock climbing I mean slightly having to climb up big rocks. We kept on getting to a stopping point, out of breath, and were amazed by the view, so we would decide, a little further, each time. We finally arrived to a waterfall and dusk started to near. At this point we actually needed rock climbing gear so decided to call it quits. We hiked back down to get back to the car at a decent time. Finding our starting point from the cemetery to the creek bed involved a little bushwhacking and I was started to get stressed being that it was nearing nightfall. Note to self: bring headlamps on every hike. We finally found our turn off and I had enough adventure seeking for the day.
On our way back to the campground we stopped by a small grocery store to grab a few things for dinner. We also stopped by the pharmacy to get some alcohol. Why? Well because we heard and saw that you could make a stove with a tuna fish can and alcohol to burn. It didn’t turn out so well and a couple of burns later I decided to leave the ingenuity to Bear Grills. Anyways, we went back to the campsite, had a nice cozy fire and some of my famous banana s’mores, then used the campground weefee (wifi) to skype with family (kind of odd skyping from a tent not going to lie).
The next morning was spent breaking down camp and hitting the road to continue our Patagonian adventure. The drive was beautiful and full of many mountains and then vast openness. Although sporadic, we passed a few kilometer markers with the birth years of loved ones where we stopped to take some gringo pictures.
Next stop…Los Alceres National Park. Happy travels from U and B!