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!!

Lessons Learnt:

  • 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.

THERE ARE 55 EPIC PHOTOS HERE AND 5 VIDEOS… So slow down and enjoy!

This video is as authentic as it comes… ^^^ 

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