27/04/2015 I finally made it to Argentina’s Lake District with Villa la Angostura as my entry point. The lovely little town was covered in Volcan Calbuco’s ash and I enjoyed my lonely hike up to one of the nearby mountains, wandering through the bizarre looking landscape.
It was really weird to see the complete town including all trees, plants, cars and partly even people in the grey-brownish tone of the ash. Things seemed normal though and nobody was bothered by it. I headed out towards the mountains in the north for a nice hike followed by a stroll through the town towards the lovely lake side. Covering 19km in distance and 1500 Altitude meters, it kept me busy for the complete day; see the map for details. The hike was really enjoyable, offering fine views on the lakes before venturing into a forest. The ash here just barely covered the ground, but got much deeper as soon as I started the ascent to the summit. I actually had a hard time getting up at that point as every step forward resulted in slipping back through the ash for half a step afterwards.
When I made it to the summit, I was faced with another problem: The wind! In normal conditions it would be fine I assume, but I was quickly covered in ash that was blown at me and had to cover behind big stones a couple of times. Ash making it’s way through the forest below was a treat to observe, as was the landscape that was now presenting itself all around me at the highest point. I spent a good hour up there before starting the descent towards the forest, heading back to town on a different route through an even thicker forest.
The sun provided some great lighting within the forest and pictures can’t really do it justice. It was generally pretty hard to capture the moments there and I hope the upcoming video will provide a closer feel to the experience I’ve had. Following a rough path on my GPS, I arrived at a small waterfall and joined another trek that led me to an open view including another, pretty big waterfall. The landscape itself though is certainly not as impressive as in Patagonia for instance, but it was pretty special to have the aftermath of the eruption around at all time, making this hike pretty special.
Returning back to town around 3PM, I decided to walk a bit further towards the other end to check out the lake there. It would have been nice to take the bus down there, but there was just none! The extra km were certainly worth it though as the lake side was very beautiful with it’s beaches and tree covered cliffs. Luckily, I was able to hitch hike back into the center at least, giving my feet a well deserved break. A jam session with my Couchsurfing host rounded up the day just perfectly and I was already looking forward to my next hike in the Nahuel Huapi National Park close to Bariloche…
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