Lago General Carrera and Patagonia

Lago General Carrera

Lago General Carrera

After 2 days gorging ourselves in Coyhaique we left feeling fully restored, and carrying bundles of treats with us for the journey ahead. Before we left town we headed to the Aysen information center in the hopes of learning more about the famous Sin Represa battle. As it turned out, we got lucky enough to have an American woman as guide, to answer all our questions in English. Speaking about the topic with locals was wonderful, but being such a topic of interest and excitement for them, it was tough to follow what they were saying at times, as our Spanish is hardly good enough for hellos and “my name is”.

Chile’s water rights were lost during the reign of Augusto Pinochet, and many of the unspoiled rivers throughout Chile may soon be dammed by large corporations, one of which is Rio Baker, a river which we followed all the way to its delta. We rested at a refugio near the base, surrounded by several farms and rolling farmland, which will all be underwater if the plans to dam the river go ahead, which is a real shame. Not only that, but nearly 2,300 km of power lines are set to cross the country, right through fertile and untouched areas. There have of course been quite a number of protests against these plans, and I guess I can see the debate from both sides. It really breaks your heart though when you see the struggle of the old world against the needs of the modern world. You really wish there was room for both, but it’s tough to say whether there is or not.

Cavernas de Marmol

Cavernas de Marmol

From the refugio we headed towards Lago General Carrera, crossing many deserted river valleys along the way. The land was very barren, which I actually thought was very peaceful and relaxing. Coming from an area where there’s development and people no matter which way you turn, there’s something almost spiritual about being out in the open and completely alone like this. We spent Christmas Eve there along the shores of the lake, in a little place called Bahia Muerta, partaking in some of the local delicacies, Christmas staples like cake given a Chilean twist. Christmas morning we were up bright and early, thanks to the calls of a rather excited rooster very near to our tent. I guess it wanted to get to the present opening.

This spot seemed to have a wide array of people travel to it. We saw people come by in cars and even horseback. Seeing the old gentleman stride up on his white and brown horse, being followed by 3 scruffy looking dogs was a rather unique sight for sure. Dogs can usually be found all over the place, roaming freely about, and they’re very tame and sociable animals, almost like the cows we have back home. One cyclist told us he had been followed for over 100 km by two different dogs, which we thought was quite hilarious, rather to his dismay.

Waterfall near Coyhaique

Waterfall near Coyhaique

After our weeks out and about in the Chilean countryside, enjoying various local foods and delicacies, I had the strange image of rotisserie chickens pop into my head, much like you see at the supermarkets back home. As we roamed around the town of Cochrane one day, sure enough there on the counter of a vendor was a rotisserie chicken. Strangely enough, after both Felix and I had some of the chicken, he ended up coming down with food poisoning while I was fit as a fiddle. I guess there’s no accounting for luck. We ended up calling it an early day and setting up camp, before trekking the final 10 km to Refugio Rio Nadis the next day.

It’s one of the those places that you’re glad there’s no internet or T.V, or anything that could possibly distract you from what’s really important, that being the time spent with friends, and the beautiful landscape surrounding you on all sides. We surely enjoyed every moment of it.