Chile: First taste of a new country

Route: Trevelin – Futaleufu – Palena – Corcovado

In my quest to avoid ruta 40 a bit, I headed for the small town of Trevelin, south of Parque Nacional Los Alerces (i.o. to Esquel at the ruta 40).  From Trevelin, there’s a ripio road going south directly to Corcovado.  But there’s another option, making a small loop through Chile.  It’s much longer of course, but I would get to see the valley of the Rio Futaleufu.

The first 10 km out of Trevelin, there’s quiet a bit of traffic on the ripio road, but then it thins out.

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The snowy tops of the Andes, always a stown throws away.
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There was a mountain bike race going on on the road towards the Chilean border. Must have been more then a hundred participants, among whome the owner of the campground in trevelin where I stayed the night. He was pretty far behind 🙂

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Rio Aluminé.

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After crossing into Chile, I’m back on asphalt for 10 km until the small town Futaleufu.  This is actually the first town that I like a bit here in South America.

But not enough to stay 😉

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From the border to Futaleufu, the Chileans constructed a smooth paved road. After that, it’s the same ripio as in Argentina. Same thing would happen a bit further south, before entering Argentina again. The last stretch is asphalted. It’s as if they want to show off towards Argentina ? Why otherwise only pave the ends of the road ?

I  camp along Lago Espolon, a bit south of town.  It’s two kilometer of the route, and a steep 14% climb.  The camping seems to be closed, but a friendly farmer let me camp on his land, right next to the lake.

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I couldn’t choose between this picture and the next, so you get to see them both :-).  I camped at the shores of this lake, just outside Futaleufu.

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The suspension bridge to the farm and my private camping ground for the night.

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Another lake awaits me next morning, Lago Lonconao.  I’m enjoying it while listening the Lance Armstrongs ‘The Forward’ podcast.  He had a really good podcast of the Tour de France as well and it’s nice listening to him while riding.

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High tide on the lake ?

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A bit over half way between Futaleufu and Puerto Ramirez, there are a lot of wild camping options.

At Puerto Ramirez, I’m almost back at sea level here, I take road nbr 235 towards Palena and back to the Argentinian border.

This little loop through Chile is definitely worth it, very beautiful scenery, but the Chilean roads are STEEP.  With every hill you’ll get to tackle a 13 / 14% climb.  The odo meter even shows higher figures sometimes.

Oh, and you can not take fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat or honey from Argentina to Chile.

Vice versa, no problem.

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Roller coaster ride, from one steep hill to the next.

Back in Argentina, it seemed the Chilean road engineers suddenly constructed the roads here as well.  It keeps going steep up and down.

I hop some fences and pitch my tent in the forest 15 km before Corcovado and am joined by cows and horses.

Next day, I reach Corcovado ten minutes before siesta time.  It’s always a struggle to avoid being held up in towns or villages for hours because the shops are closed.  And I need the provisions, as it will be another 2 days to the next village, Rio Pico.

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