Parque Nacional Los Alerces
February 19 Parque Nacional Los Alerces (El Dedal)
Esquel and Parque Nacional Los Alerces are in a part of Patagonia that is less accessible to tourists, so the facilities are not as fancy as they are elsewhere. However this was still an Argentinian bus, so people didn’t bring their chickens on board or anything like that.
We hiked up this hill to El Dedal (“The Thimble”), which to the best of our knowledge is the tiny pimple on the ridge just to the right of the centre of this picture.
The lower part of the trail was in the forest, and the understory of the forest was a thick layer of colihue bamboo. This is impossible to walk through, so we were forced to stay on the trail. This bamboo is unlike Asian bamboos in that its stems are solid and not hollow.
The bamboo thickets are the home of the Chucao Tapaculo. In most areas only their loud chuckling calls give away their presence, but in Los Alerces, at least for us, they were very friendly, almost posing at the edge of the trail to have their pictures taken.
Here is a link to a page with recordings of the Chucao’s call.
Because the bamboo lining both sides of the trail was so impenetrable, when we met this horse on the trail there was a stalemate. Neither of us wanted to walk past the other, so we had an involuntary leader for about an hour.
This was at the high point of the trail, and it does have a certain resemblance to a thimble, so it’s pretty certain to be El Dedal.
Villa Futalaufquen is at the right-hand end in this photograph of Lago Futalaufquen. Our campground, Los Maitenes, was in the light green patch of trees at the lower right-hand corner of the lake.