One last glimpse of the view from our hotel before we travel on to Chile today. I have to wonder what the view will be tonight. More on this breaking story tonight or maybe tomorrow.
Another reason we have enjoyed Outdoor Adventure Travel tours. There are only a maximum of 16 persons on a tour. Rick Steves advertised small group travel with a maximum of 28 people versus the typical tour of 40 or more. Obviously it costs a little more for small group travel, but really not that much more, and it is way, way better. One person was a late cancellation so there are only 15 in our group. We are by no means experts at this, but the key is to do what you enjoy, just like we all do in our RV adventures.
Recalling the bank employees protest we saw in Buenos Aires, here is one protest of the layoff off of employees in Bariloche. They beat the drums so loudly we could hear them long before we passed by, even though we were in the bus. Argentinians really get into their protests.
One of the towns we passed through was renowned as the gate to great fly fishing. The one statistic I do remember about the area was the record brown trout: 35 lbs.
Our timing was perfect as this was the first day of the fly fishing season, something that is akin to the opening day of deer season the States. I wonder if our resident Retama fly fisherman extraordinaire, Joe Massey, is down here, or at least wishes he was?
Soon the scenery changed and the land, those who sections we could see, turned gray. In 2010 a volcano in Chile on the border with Argentina sent an ash cloud miles into the air. The Bariloche airport was closed for six months. It took two weeks for it to circle the globe before it returned to Chile. It was big news in the US only for the day it erupted. But impact here lasted for months.
Photo after the ash cloud passed over.
A lake before and after the ash cloud. The ash was pumice which floats on water and completely covered the lakes. The huge volume of ash changed the shoreline of many of the lakes in the region.
The rain that fell on the lower elevations yesterday was snow up in the Andes. The really high peaks are further to the north, here they are in the 7,000 foot range, still high enough to cause the moist air from the Pacific to fall as precipitatation. It is springtime here, equal to the month of April in the northern hemisphere.
At the summit, the bus pulled over so we could take some photos. Here is Linda, the non-snow bunny, doing her best to keep her shoes dry despite my best efforts to get her to back up by stepping in the slush. She didn't pay any attention to me. Lucky for me she didn't as I can't imagine what would have happened to me if she had. Lucky Bob
The real reason we stopped, so we could take a photo of the welcome to Chile sign. Linda made sure she took a good photo of this one. It was difficult, but she did it. Good Linda.
Why she had such a hard time getting the perfect photo. Bad Bob.
These are not deciduous trees that have not leafed out yet. These trees are all dead, having been very close to the volcano and in the direct path of the ash fall. Even in death there is beauty.
Next up was the border crossing into chile. We were told absolutely no photos are permitted of the border crossing. As you might guess ,when I downloaded Linda's photos there was this picture. While technically speaking it wasn't a photo of the border crossing it did show a fraction of the huge backup of buses the caused us to wait about an hour to enter chile. Fortunately they did not notice Linda taking the pictures so she was Lucky Linda instead of Locked Up Linda.
The largest collection of Studebaker automobiles outside of the US is found in Patagonia, of all places. You'd have to be here to understand how significant that is. Otherwise you are on your own.
Chilean grandmother shopping for the evening meal. What can I say, we are having an absolute blast down here. Patagonia has far exceeded our wildest dreams and we have yet to get to the real Patagonia. To make it perfect Linda bought a hiking stick tonight, making her a real Patagonia trekker. Life as good as it gets.