Esquel is only an hour away from Los Alerces National Park via the local bus. We left at 8:00 one morning excited to spend a full day exploring the park. The park straddles the Andes and the western portion, which resides in Chile, is actually a rainforest. However in Argentina the park is dry, especially after a hot and nearly rain-free summer.
We chose to do an eight mile round trip hike up the mountainside through a Cypress forest with a goal of seeing Lake Futalaufquen from the top. We walked through the hot, arid forest kicking up dust with every step. We were surprised to find that the trail wove through huge sections of bamboo groves. In Oregon I’m used to seeing bamboo sprouting vibrant green leaves all year round, so to be surrounded by towering dried-out stalks with brittle, feathery leaves was a really unique experience.
The View From Up Top
It was so hot and dry on the mountain that we were actually surprised when the trail crossed a river with running water. The red flowers offered a pretty pop of color to the otherwise brown and beige landscape.
Lake Futalaufquen, Clouds + a Cat
After the long hike we recharged by the lake and were delighted by the spectacular cloud formations above. Later we walked four miles on a path along the edge of the lake to another beach area. We happily indulged in a few treats from a little tienda at the end of the trail and relaxed on the shore with our new pal. I named him Cloudy.
When the bus returned to pick us up at 8:00 PM we were tired and happy. What a great day in Los Alerces National Park, Patagonia!