March 7th, 2013
Velocidad de Turista
I think the title of this blog applies on several fronts. Whenever the weather is a bit grey and dreary, the getting-out-of-bed time seems to slip further and further toward noon. Today was no exception. We just lounged about not wanting to get up, partly because I couldn’t get the heater going and the van was very chilly.
We were hoping to do a hike in Los Alerces that climbed up this mountain with a fantastic view of the mountains, however, it was pretty clear right out of the gate that the day was not meant for that. It was pretty grey and drizzly.
We headed over to the ranger station to get the 411 on the trails. There was a boat cruise we had read about that sounded fun, so we wanted to do that. Unfortunately, we have outlasted the tourists and they don’t run it very often this time of year. Bummer. He was moderately helpful and pointed out a couple of hikes that we should do. His Spanish was surprisingly understandable; maybe my Spanish is improving?
We first stopped at a short hike to go see some prehistoric rock paintings. They were seriously unspectacular. Dudes? Really? The best you can come up with for future generations to remember you by is a squished rectangle.
The Alerces is a famous tree that grows really slowly and is somewhat like a sequoia, just a lot smaller. We were going to hike the loop where we got to see one of the oldest Alerce trees. Sounded good for a rainy day hike.
We were out of drinking water and there was a small store at the park center so we stopped in. The woman was very chatty. They had some playing cards so I suggested we should buy some since it was raining and the memory of the day playing park map trivia was still pretty fresh in my mind. The woman turned out to be a complete crook. She wouldn’t sell Susanne a single deck of cards; she could only buy the two deck pack, despite the fact that there were single decks sitting right there.
I think we are a both a bit tired at this point. Had it been earlier in the trip, I’m sure I would have gotten to hear some of the “pay attention to me” Spanish again, but Susanne just shrugged and bought the cards and water for some ridiculous price. Whatever.
We headed across the park on the dirt road. Since we had nothing really scheduled for the day and weather was limiting our options for fun, I drove the road really slowly. 25 kph tops. Truly “Velocidad de Turista”. It was a rough road, so Susanne was quite elated by the new-found, very slow transit speed over the bumps. Just to let you know, they did have some speed bumps on the bumpy dirt road.
We got to the trailhead and there were a bunch of cars there. Obviously the ranger was directing what few people were left in the park to this hike. It was a pretty forest hike with some nice lake views. Nothing outrageous, but it was good for two low energy travellers on a rainy day. The tree was a tree. It was about 24” in diameter and looked like almost all the other trees there. I took a picture just so I could post it in my blog and bore everyone to death. Now I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture of the cave paintings.
We continued at the velocidad de turista all the way to the other end of the park where we found a nice camp area along the lake and set up for the night. It was raining and I was glad we had paid $24 for a deck of cards. Plus the bonus was that I was kicking Susanne’s ass in rummy. We’ll see if it holds; the game doesn’t end until we are wheels up in BA. She has a history of big rallies. Maybe I’ll feign an injury or something.
Tomorrow off to El Bolson, hippie capital of Argentina. Supposed to be nice.
Ciao for now