Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ensenada to Ralun

Windy night with a few showers. The wind was strong enough that it caused the waves from the lake to sound a lot like we were by the sea. When we woke up, it was overcast but fairly warm. Erik was feeling a bit better, so we decided to start the day with a short, easy ride to Petrohue, which was about 16 kilometres away. Many people that come to visit this area cross over to Bariloche through a combination of buses and ferries. Petrohue marks the first leg of the ferry route, across Lago Todos Los Santos.

We left the panniers in the truck at the campground. It felt really good to ride again and even better to ride without the extra weight.

After about 10 kilometres, we came across a park with some waterfalls and took the opportunity to do a walk around. From there, it was a 6km ride through volcanic sand and gravel to Petrohue. Petrohue was a bit smaller than I expected, and there were few people around since the ferry runs only once per day and, from the looks of it, today's departure had already occured. The one restaurant on the lake was closed, so we were going to have a quick snack and head back but decided to see if the restaurant in the one main hotel was open. Good choice. The hotel turned out to be surprisingly upscale, with a decent looking menu. The food was delicious and the view was stunning. It was an easy spin back to the campground and then time to get cleaned up and hit the road again. Erik chose to clean up in the lake. I opted for the hot shower.

Our drive today took us south, along the Carretera Austral, a project started by the Pinochet regime to open up southern Chile. When I first read about it, it was incomprehensible to me what could be so difficult and expensive about such a project. I guess that's because I come from the prairies. These are no prairies. We are effectively in rainforest country and in the lower Andes. The forest is so dense that it would be impossible to walk through. There was a paved road for the first 30km south of Ensenada, and then it was a narrow dirt road with very little traffic. We weren't sure whether we would camp tonight or grab a cabana, but we knew there wouldn't be restaurants where we were going, so we stopped at one of the supermarcados in Cochamo to buy some groceries. Fresh cheese, bread, a tetra box of wine, cookies and chocolate. We continued down the gravel road only a bit further but realized we still had another three hours ahead of us at the pace we were driving, so we decided to turn around and check out our lodging options. We settled on a nifty little Cabana near Ralun. It was in some rainforest just off the highway. When we arrived, we were greeted by some friendly little dogs. They have been hanging out with us in our cabana for most of the evening. Erik made a fire, even though its warm enough tonight that we don't really need one. So we have the door open, to keep things a bit cooler and also so the dogs can come and go when they hear something interesting outside.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home