Dick and Jane's Travels

A Travelblog (click on any picture to enlarge -- then click again to make it even bigger)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lake Crossing (Chile to Argentina)

By the time we got here, at the end of long day, the Argentineans had turned out the lights -- so we’d like to thank Wikepedia for this bird’s eye view. Unless you're viewing under a microscope, better click on the picture to see it (and all of the pictures in this blog) at a decent size

Cruse de Lagos: The Lake Crossing from Chile to Argentina

Visited November 23, 2006

(Are you even more lost than this blogger? If so, check out a map by clicking here:)

Who would have thought that you could cross the Andean Continental Divide by boat? But that’s exactly what we did on what turned out to be a very cold and long day in the Chilean spring. Actually it took three boats and four busses — but after 16 hours of travel, you tend to lose count. Spring and summer travelers make it in one day; fall and winter trips take and even longer and even colder 2 days. (No comments, please, about wimpy, warm-blooded Texans.)

Our first stop led us over this wooden bridge to see the Saltos del Petrohue (the waterfalls of the Petrohue river) formed by Volcano Orsono.

We started on a 6Am-ish bus that backtracked to Puerto Varas and then headed 40 miles into Chile’s oldest national park, Vincent Perez Rosales. Park Rosales includes three volcanoes and the entire Lago Todos los Santos. (In fact, the “Lake of All Saints” was created by volcanic activity. You plug a valley with lava and let the glacier melt. Nothing to it, but don’t try this at home or you may become one of the lost Santos yourself.)

Falls Guys

Our first stop –a 10 minute photo op -- was at the waterfalls of the Rio Petrohue just before the western edge of the long lake (Todos Los Santos). At the Saltos de Petrohue, green waters froth through lava channels molded by the volcano Osorno in 1850. Here’s a couple photos of the Saltos with Orsono’s angry peak obscured by clouds (and my photo cropping):

Here’s a photo of the water, no doubt greened by chemicals washed down from the volcanic rock.

Where are we? On the Buuuus

The red lines mark the 4 bus routes; the dotted black denote the 3 boat rides

When we’d had enough of the falls, we bordered our first boat of the day to sail across Lago Todos los Santos. The weather started getting Chile (sic, very sic) but the worst was yet to come. (Can we say the same about these puns?) Here’s Jane getting ready to board the 300-passenger catamaran that took us across Lago Todos los Santos:

The sun was still shining and Jane was still smiling – but the day was still young.

Most of us stayed inside during the crossing and watched the lake through the waist-to-ceiling windows of the catamaran. Occasionally we’d all dutifully tromp out to the decks to take pictures of waterfalls such as this:

By lunchtime, we had reached the eastern end of the lake, stopping at the grandish (and perhaps only) hotel in Puella for lunch. By this time, the weather was turning ugly and obscuring our view (as well as driving us into whatever shelter we could find. Even the customs office seemed appealing). Soon we were on another bus (very much like a school bus with similar creature comforts) for our journey over the continental divide. I’d like to say it was highly scenic, but, in fact, it’s a stretch of road with the park entrance sign:

Truth in Naming

At Porto Frias (so well named!), we bordered a small boat to cross the similarly well-named (and temperatured) Lago Frias. Here’s a photo which will do the work of a thousand words about how much fun we were having and the great views at this point of the trip:

A Blest of Cold Air

Soon we were on another bus for a very short trip to Puerto Blest where we caught a much larger boat to cross a section of Lago Nahuel Huapi, an incredibly beautiful Andean lake. Here’s a view of the edge of the boat in front of some spectacular scenery (considerably lightened by the camera’s electronics):

Here’s another shot of the eastern end of Lago Nahuel Huapi taken at Puerto Blest:

After the boat ride from Puerto Blest to Puerto Panuelo, we boarded a final bus for the half-hour trip to our warm hotel in Bariloche, Argentina.


Typical bottom-of-the-blog stuff
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Where are we now?
Click here for an interactive map of Chile.

Click here for an interactive map of Argentina.



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