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Published: January 31st 2018
It rained last night in Coyhaique, which laid a cover of white across the tops of the mountains. A new look. It was sunny when I left. The temperature dropped from 10 degrees centigrade down to 1.5 degrees as we climbed up over the pass. I was warm. The gravel road was soft but wide and safe. We went up into the clouds and rain, then dropped down into a valley with sunlight and a rainbow. Spectacular. The mountains often form part of a national park or reserve. The valley bottoms filled with a lake or a river, or the wide flat privately owned land used for pasture and grazing (cattle, sheep and even some vicuña -- or one of those llama type animals). Otherwise, tourism is the biggest industry, with the small towns advertising lodges and tours.
It is midsummer and groups of young hitch hikers gather at the exits from towns, competing for rides. I am surprised at the number of people traveling this way. Always a couple of people, most often boy/girl. They usually give me a wave, absolving me of the guilt of not being able to take them. I know. I used to hitch-hike.
It was early in the afternoon and I had been feeling pretty good about my ability to stay upright and get through the sticky bits when I hear a familiar BMW engine sound and a pack of 5 riders, some 2 up, blow by me on the gravel. I felt put down, and then I remembered why I travel alone -- its too easy to get caught up in competition, and it stops being fun.
Tonight I am at a lodge at Puerto Guadal, on the shores of the largest lake in Chile -- General Carrera. It is a bright turquoise -- a completely different color to the blue lakes and silt filled rivers I had been used to. It must have something to do with the glaciers which come down from the West. My little hut is set on the hillside, looking down at the lake. Across from me mountains and glaciers rise out of the blue. Never had a view like this from the front porch.
PS -- I was able to find my photos from the Futaleufú day. You can see them if you return to that previous entry.
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