Parque Nacional Huerquehue
February 27 Parque Nacional Huerquehue
We spent a day at Parque Nacional Huerquehue, a small mountain park that is not far from Pucón and has Araucaria (monkey-puzzle) trees. We hiked up to a sort of uneven plateau with quiet mountain lakes dotted about it. Clouds came up from the valley below and hovered just above us, but it did not rain.
It was quite a surprise to see the wide variety of wild Araucaria trees, compared to all of the garden trees we had seen so far. Tiny seedlings, full-grown trees with huge trunks, trees with branches on one side only, trees like umbrellas with branches at the top only, and many of them with lichens covering the trunks.
The trail up the escarpment had side trips leading to a couple of falls coming down from the plateau. This one is Cascada Nido del Aguila (“Eagle’s Nest Falls”).
Also beside the trail was a variety of Araucanian flowers, including this Estrellita del Bosque (“Wood Star”).
Near the bottom of the trail we were surprised to see a large arrayán tree. Although there is a national park dedicated to this species near Bariloche, we had not visited it, and now we rather wished we had.