hippie towns and hiking
11.03.2011 - 15.03.2011 18 °C
I happily left Bariloche and made it a bit further south to El Bolson. This town is known in Argentina as a hippie community where everyone makes crafts and homebrew beers and sells them at a big market held 3 times weekly. The main reason I came was to hike the the Hielo Azul circuit- the Blue Heaven circuit. Luckily, Beatrice, who I met at Jakob Refugio, also planned to hike the same circuit, so we met and shared a taxi to the trailhead. She´s been travelling and hiking for 2 years and has been to a lot of places Miri and I will go to on this world trip. She worked in a corporate job for many years, then bailed out and started travelling. Says it was the best decision she ever made.
The hike around Hielo Azul was the least spectacular so far of the trip. Maybe this is why they give it such an over the top name. The weather also was mostly cloudy, so perhaps this took away from some of the views. Day one was a long climb up to the tree line at Refugio Hielo Azul. I loved the Refugios on this hike, even though I always camped near the Refugio in my tent. On day two everyone staying at the Refugio climbed up to the Hielo Azul glacier and checked out the views from this alpine viewpoint. I haven´t seen the blue ice such a big glacier since New Zealand. We continued back down the valley and past another Refugio all the way to Refugio Cajon del Azul, which is situated at a deep gorge in the River Azul. The path there was VERY steep and not much fun, but again the Refugio was very relaxing with friendly staff and free tea. I really loved the free tea at all the huts, since the weather was always cloudy and a bit cold. I love that this refuge was called ´cajon´. I´m not sure of the proper meaning, but Í´ve heard ´cojones´ used a lot in movies and I´m pretty sure it´s not the same picture they´re going for with this refuge name. On the last day we walked down river to a 4WD track and back to the road where we called a taxi to take us back to El Bolson.
The more southward I travel, the more I notice facilities are diminishing. Already in El Bolson there is no internet cafe with skype. I also can´t upload pics here, so hopefully soon I can share pics of the hikes around Bariloche and Hielo Azul. I feel like I´m headed more and more into the wildnerness. The strange thing is nearly every cafe and hostel have free wifi. I feel a little out of touch because most tourists have i-phones and netbooks. I feel like I´m using smoke signals in these rickity old internet cafes.
Today I´m off to Los Alerces, my last stop in Argentina before crossing back into Chile. Now transport starts to becomoe a challenge since buses don´t run frequently and not many tourists are around these days.