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Old 02-06-2013, 07:00 PM   #325
csustewy OP
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Carretera Austral

We had been hearing about the Carretera Austral, known for its amazing scenery, ever since we started thinking about this trip. It was a bit of a conundrum for us, an elusive thing that just existed somewhere in the southern part of Chile; we honestly didn't really know where it was. Well, we found it. And WOW! what a place. The scenery was jaw dropping. Absolutely stunning. We will do our best to downselect the photos that we took, and just display some of the highlights here, but be forewarned that this post is picture heavy.


(entering the Carretera Austral near Villa Santa Lucia)


(reflections from afar (we found some even better reflections later on...I've already failed at downselecting))


(the TA loved it)


(it's official. We had found the Carretera Austral)


(Mike caught a Nalca leaf that was this big)


(some more austral flora)


(a nice little campsite outside of Puyuhuapi)


(so much water along the whole route. And it was often some amazing shade of blue, green, or somewhere in between)


(The retired bus lunch stop in Villa Amenguai. Those 2 bicyclists were German, probably ~70+ years old, and pedaling their way around the Carretera Austral for 10 weeks. We saw lots of bicyclists in the area, these 2 were by far the most impressive.)








(We camped outside of Coyhaique where we ran into Bill from Alaska. He has sailed and traveled the world over, and was good company for our evening camping and morning meal. Since he was headed north, we didn't have the chance to ride with him)


(Jill taking advantage of the public mate)


(the Carretera Austral was actually paved for a couple hundred kms around Coyhaique, the regional hub. It was still fun riding!)


(TA with Cerro Castillo)


(the colors of these glacial lakes and rivers are incredible! This light green was common, as well as light blues, and darker blues, and combinations of greens and blues. Yet all still somehow crystal clear)




(dead forest)




(nearing Pto Tranquilo)


(even when you look straight ahead, beauty!)


(and this was our view from camp just outside of Puerto Tranquilo. Not bad)


(we took a trip to visit la Capilla de Mármol = "the Chapel of Marble")


(la Capilla de Mármol)


(this dog lives there)




(the actual Capilla de Mármol (this island is the actual "Capilla", the rest was just on the tour))


(Sunset and reflections, Lago General Carrera)


(Cemetary on the way up Valle Exploradores)


(Perfect reflection in Lago Tranquilo, Valle Exploradores)









Jill made friends with the little kitty pictured above at one of our campsites just north of Cochrane. In fact, it spent a good bit of time in our tent. Once it started exploring, heading straight towards our inflatable air mattresses with its claws, it got the boot. Too bad we didn't have any kitten mittens!


(The bugs were so bad that helmets were worn at all times. Safety first. Man, those horseflies were unsafe.)










(Mike and TA waiting for the ferry at Puerto Yungay)


(It's about a 40 min ride, totally free, and even has a snack bar. We met some crazy Porteños on their way to boat to a glacier. Marcos, Maximo and Matias. Hope they made it...)

The other side of the ferry was, you guessed it, gorgeous. The road was in good shape, maybe because of how few vehicles come this way since there is usually no way out (except every once in awhile when a river can be crossed, but with questionable aduana services available). We did, however, see an awful lot of bicyclists since they can ride/carry their bikes from Villa O'Higgins into Argentina. Even with the backtrack, we were glad to see this stretch.






(camping at Media Luna, just south of Villa O'Higgins. "Wild" horses woke us up, mostly because one of them had a cowbell tied to its neck.)


(Fin de la Carretera Austral!!)




(Villa O'Higgins. Thankfully it has a Petrobras station (which is marked up to almost USD 2 per liter))




(Just sittin' on a bench in full motorcycle gear... this is how we admired the view to keep the bugs at bay. Between Villa O'Higgins and Pto Yungay)





After ferrying back from Villa O'Higgins, we decided to check out Caleta Tortel, at the other end of the dead end road. It was an interesting town, all built on boardwalks.


(we found a nice spot to camp on the way, and appreciated the sunset)






(the cats liked Jill here, too)






(Mike dropped a glove into the water. Thankfully (1) a passerby notice it happen and told him and (2) it was within stick's reach of an accessible place on shore...it just took some off-boardwalkin')

Then back up towards Cochrane we went.





the ultimate general store, Cochrane
(the ultimate general store in Cochrane)
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csustewy screwed with this post 02-07-2013 at 05:10 AM Reason: 1 more pic added
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