Blogs from Aisén, Chile, South America

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South America » Chile » Aisén » Cerro Castillo March 5th 2019

Poet, novelist and travel writer William Graham holds a BA and MA in English and a MS in Communication from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He lives in Stowe, Vermont. His most recent travel book is Border Crossings: Travel Essays and Poems. “Patagonia.” The word conjures up images of jagged Andean peaks, fierce winds, gauchos and vast emptiness. The adventurer Bruce Chatwin put it best: “The word 'Patagonia', like Mandalay or Timbuctoo, has lodged itself in our imagination as a metaphor for The Ultimate, the point beyond which one could not go.” I followed the siren call of this stunning region of Chile on a recent trip to the Aysen region of Patagonia. The origin of the words “Aysen” and “Patagonia” are themselves worth mentioning. The best guess is that the word “Aysen,” a spar... read more
Glacier Flowing from the Chilean Ice Field
Hiking in Patagonia Park
Snow Capped Andes

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Aysen April 10th 2018

Terwijl we de spullen in de auto aan het laden zijn komen we er achter dat een van de achterbanden plat staat. We zoeken de krik en andere spullen op en willen net aan het wisselen beginnen als een aardige man aanbiedt het te doen in ruil voor wat geld voor sigaretten. Daar zeggen we geen nee tegen. Met een half uur vertraging gaan we op pad. Het is nog even billenknijpen, want we moeten de veerboot in Hornopiren halen die maar 1x per dag gaat. Het is een uur rijden over de onverharde weg, en natuurlijk zijn ze ook nog aan de weg aan het werk, zodat we daar ook nog oponthoud mee hebben. We komen uiteindelijk een half uur voor vertrek aan, niets aan de hand dus. We moeten eerst tickets kopen in het ... read more
En daar is de zon
De Alerce
Pumalin Park

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Guadal January 31st 2018

Motorcyclists are allowed a day off. Photographers are not. The wonderful organizers of my trip (Ride Adventures LLC from Oregon) had decreed January 31 as a rest day. So I slept in, ate a good breakfast and worked on the blog. I decided to walk the mile and a half to Puerto Guadal, the closest town, for lunch. I aimed for the restaurant run by the mother of an employee of my hotel. I then visited the local supermarket for snacks and water, and started to wander back. It struck me as I walked around that this village was special, squeezed between the lake and the mountains. It had a small one of everything -- butcher, baker, hardware store, hostel and a gazebo on the main square. There was a lot of pride in the way ... read more
Entering town from the South
Southern entrance, if you are walking
The stream along the edge of town

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Guadal January 30th 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 ... read more
Carretera Austral (Rte 7) South of Coyhaique
Carretera Austral
Hitch hikers pretending to be Walkers

South America » Chile » Aisén » Coyhaique January 29th 2018

Today I was invited into someone’s kitchen for lunch. I arrived at Villa Amengual (some 90 km South of Puyuhuapi) around lunch time and drove round the plaza asking for gas. The tanks at the station had run dry in Puyuhuapi last night before I could refill, and I was running low. I walked up to a little grocery store and a woman called out from inside asking what I wanted. “Nope, no gas to be had. Are you hungry?” “Yes!” “Come in and have some lunch. We have some soup on the stove, and the ñoquis are ready.” “Sounds good to me, where do I go?” “Hey, come into the kitchen. We are all in there and we can talk.” So I did. The road had been awful – a wet slippery gravel climb through ... read more
Early morning at Puyuhuapi port
Entrance to German Hostel
Men working on blasting out new road

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puyuhuapi January 28th 2018

The river runs from the Chile-Argentina border down to the Pacific. Blue and clear, it had become a raging torrent when my road joined and followed it Southwest through the mountains. What was unexpected was to find a large group of rafters and kayakers going down it. That looked really scary. I followed them down to where they took out. The organizers and some of the clients were Americans. They didn't seem to have lost anyone. The road out of Trevelin into Chile to Futaleufú was deep gravel. After a brief 10 km pavement respite, it was gravel again until I reached the Chilean equivalent of Argentina's Ruta 40. It is called the Carretera Austral, Ruta 7, and runs North South through this broken up part of Chile. It was paved when I turned onto it ... read more
West of Trevelin, livestock country.
River Futaleufú, the best white water in the world
Glimpse of the River from the road.

South America » Chile » Aisén » Queulat National Park February 15th 2017

Les fjords de la Patagonie australe Le voyage en bateau se passe super bien, même Matou a dormi comme un bébé. Le matin on se réveille au milieu de nul part avec un grand soleil et des dauphins autour du bateau.. De quoi bien débuter la journée! En chemin, nous faisons plusieurs escales dans des petits ports cachés au fond des fjords. À chaque escale, les locaux viennent faire leur marché à bord et remplissent leurs barques du ravitaillement nécessaire en fruits, légumes, bières et sodas. La côte donne l'impression d'être déchiquetée avec des dizaines de fjords bordés de forêts denses et surplombées par quelques montagnes et glaciers. C'est beau, c'est beau et on en profite toute la journée jusqu'au coucher du soleil ! Nous arrivons en soirée à Puerto Cisnes après 23 heures de voyage ... read more
Bosque Encantado
Bosque Encantado
Chargement

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Río Tranquilo January 6th 2017

After my amazing time in Futaleufu, finally there was a bus to move on. I went to Puerto Rio Tranquilo, a tiny town further south along the Carreterra Austral in Chile. It rained a lot still so I did not do all the things I wanted to do but I did get a morning of sun for visiting the marble caves. The rocks on the coast of the lake are marble and with the erosion of water, some caves formed leaving the beautifully polished rock exposed to the sun´s reflection on the water and onto the white rock surface. the water is blue transparent so it was really gorgeous to see, it had to be done with sun and I got it so I was happy! The return on the boat was painful for the butt ... read more
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South America » Chile » Aisén » San Rafael Glacier March 10th 2016

We were at sea again all day today cruising the Chilean Fjords at an average speed of 15.3 knots in unrelentingly bleak conditions. After a pretty late breakfast we completed four laps of the promenade deck. Four laps of the deck equals one mile. We are trying to do a bit of exercise despite being cooped up on the ship all day!We think there is an unwritten rule that you are supposed to walk the deck in an anticlockwise direction. That is certainly what the majority of walkers do. However, there always seem to be a couple of walkers swimming against the tide!! We reached the San Rafael Glacier in the middle of the day and spent quite a while admiring its alluring blue face. Our Location Guide, Ryan, was providing commentary over the ship's PA ... read more
View of the Chilean Fjords
Triple waterfall
San Rafael Glacier in the mist

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Chacabuco March 9th 2016

Overnight we sailed 283 nautical miles at a average speed of 18.3 knots and at 09:54 we arrived in Puerto Chacabuco where the weather was much more promising than it was yesterday. Bernie looked into using a private tour operator here, but had difficulty contacting them so decided it might be best to book the ship's excursion to Northern Patagonia and Coyhaique City. We drove from Puerto Chacabuco through forested landscape to the Simpson River Reserve and a little further along the road to the Virgin Waterfall. After a brief stop at the waterfall we continued on to Coyhaique City. While the first mountain and valley were quite lush and forested as we continued inland the landscape became much drier and harsher. Coyhaique is the capital of the Aisén region and actually sits high in the ... read more
Cruising to Puerto Chacabuco
Meredith's bench
Two boats in port




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