Patagonia: El Bolson + Bariloche, Argentina
This place is sooo hard to write about – I’d rather just write a song… but that’s coming later.
For now, I’ll start with El Bolson. The town that founded hippy-culture in Argentina. This town is nestled between remote lakes and mountains a few hours south of Bariloche (the largest town in Argentina’s patagonia region). After crossing the Chile-Argentina border, I spent the weekend hanging out in Refugios (esstentially user-maintained mountain huts), on the Rio Asure. There were 12+ refugios to access from the Wharton trailhead.
There was a craft brewery at the trailhead, ran by an amigo from San Francisco. But I decided to wait on the beer until after… so up the trails I went, with 2 travelling companions. By the time we reach the last refugios +12km up the Rio Asure we had crossed wonderfully sketchy bridges, stepped over towering canyon walls, and sat on sheep wool benches.
The place was epic. The next day, I spent exploring the local artisan farmer’s market/fair while soaking in the quaint culture of the town before heading north to Bariloche.
BARILOCHE… it was legendary.
(If I wrote out everything that happened, It would be a whole chapter… watch the video for detailed stories)
Phase 1: Bariloche
(OVERVIEW – Bariloche is a Swiss, Germany, Italian settlement. So great chocolate, beer, and food… for cheap with easy access to amazing nature.)
- 7 lake drive – stunning. Like the sea to sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler… with patagonia flair.
- Several local hikes using local transit that were all breathtaking. One was rated Top 10 Hikes by National Geographic.
- Craft beer $4 CAD a pint. Birthday celebration for Itaai’s birthday! (new Israeli friend)
- Boxes of chocolate $12 CAD – in Canada they’d easily be $40+ CAD
- Local pasteries… to die for.
Phase 2: Refugio Frey
- Hiked through 3 micro climates to get there.
- 4 hrs – 1 way. All in my birkenstocks.
- Hiked in Sunday, hiked out Monday, THEN worked from 4pm onwards… love the digital nomad life.
- Free climbed / scrambled up a peak – after having a PROFOUND life experience. See video #2 below.
- Woke up to frost on my sleeping bag…. no tent… still sending it!
Phase 3: Shelter on the Lake – Los Coihues
- WONDERFUL FAMILY – open guesthouse for travellers… word of mouth only.
- Celebrated American Thanksgiving/Shabbat with them and other travellers.
- Deep philosophical conversations and other chats about the impact of media.
- Rock climbing. The father Dylan had set over a dozen local sport climbing routes in the area. He was a legend.
- 3 days of climbing, learning and supporting newbie climbers.
- Last day – 5:30am wake up, climbed a 5.11a (probably a 5.10c in retrospect)… 11:00am flight to Mendoza with window seat overlooking northern Patagonia mountain ranges
- Nearly missed my flight because I had no local cash for the taxi… luckily he took Chilean peso for me!!
- When climbing internationally. Either bring all your gear, or just the barebones.
- Life can be live in one moment, and should.
- Love and give your gift unconditionally.