On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
I need to pose some questions to the On The Road peeps:
- How would you feel about moving After Dark from 10pm to midnight?
- Would that work just as well for most of you?
- Work better for some of you?
- Would it eliminate After Dark as something you read at the end of the day?
- Would you only see the midnight After Dark in the morning along with the regular On The Road?
- Anything else I should be asking related to a time change?
Please answer in the comments. Thank you! ~WaterGirl
lashonharangue in Chile
Continuing south from Ventisquero Yelcho we took a short detour off the Carretera Austral to Futaleufú. This is a small town that has become an adventure destination for white water thrill seekers from around the world. Since we didn’t fit that demographic, after a night stay in a cabaña we headed back to the Carretera Austral and made our way to the tiny port town of Raúl Marín Balmaceda.
Unfortunately that involved a ferry crossing in the smallest vessel of our trip. Unlike the others it was not roll on roll off. It had only one ramp. The ferry had room for just one other truck and our SUV. There was no place to turn the car around near the ferry ramp. I had to turn around about 200 feet up the hill, and back down onto the ferry using the side mirrors (the back was filled with our gear). I managed after several attempts that included some jerky stalls trying to work the clutch.
When we didn’t want to camp we usually found a hotel or cabaña using the internet and Bookings.com. We have a neat wifi hotspot device that we pay a flat fee for cellular based internet access regardless of carrier or country we are in.
We arrived in Raúl Marín Balmaceda and it was pouring rain. The village is built on a sand bluff above the surrounding water. It had about four streets and none seemed more than about three blocks long. Unfortunately there is no cell service there and we had no reservation. We started driving around looking for a lodging sign and saw a man walking down the street. In our broken Spanish we asked about where to stay. It turned out he had a lovely cabaña available next door to his house. Yay!
The next day the weather had cleared. We and another couple took a nature tour in a small boat with a local guide. His English was very limited but my understanding was he had been mostly living off the land until the road and tourism had recently arrived. The boat drove around the estuary and we spotted lots of animals.
These critters seemed curious about us too.
This one seemed to want more personal space and had their own rock.
The next morning we caught the ferry back (the ramp was much easier on this side) and headed down the Carretera Austral to a private campground in Puyuhuapi just outside Parque Nacional Queulat.
The main attraction of the park is the hanging glacier Ventisquero Colgante. This is from the start of the trail.
By the time we had hiked to an overlook the clouds had moved in and there was intermittent drizzle. This was the best photo I could manage. It was a wonderfully fun three hour hike, but crowded with other people.
Paying for things could at times be an interesting challenge. Sometimes we could use our plastic. Sometimes we needed cash but didn’t want to carry too much so periodically got Chilean pesos out of ATMs. The banks in these remote towns are resupplied with cash brought in by boats that don’t come every day. We were getting low on cash but discovered the ATM at the one bank in Puyuhuapi was out of cash. So we drove over a low coastal range to Puerto Cisnos where the ATM at the one bank there was sitting in the middle of the closed lobby being repaired.
So we turned around and drove back over the mountains (pretty drive though – the tops of the mountains still had snow). We headed south to Coyhaique where we found a campground in someone’s backyard. After two nights in town and resupplied with cash we drove to Villa Cerro Castillo.
We arrived on a late windy afternoon. This is the view of Parque Cerro Castillo from the private campground where we pitched our tent.
View along the trail up to Cerro Castillo the next morning.
We hiked part of the way up. The guide book said the trail above here was a bit of a scramble over loose rock. So we made our way back to the village and ate dinner at a great little BnB overlooking the river just down the road from our campsite.