Bariloche - Trekking, Camping, and Eating...
26.02.2013 - 03.03.2013
Famous as a ski resort town during the cold winter months, the European-style town of Bariloche is a great bridge between the capital of Buenos Aires and Patagonia for all types of travelers. Set in the picturesque countryside with the steeple of its grand cathedral peering over the lake, its not a bad place to spend a few days. Whether you're there for the numerous treks, chocolate shops, or famous meat parrillas, its easy to spend a couple of days.
We decided to take advantage of the good weather by setting off on a 3 day trek called Frey to Jakob which we heard was both scenic and easy. Well... it was certainly scenic.
The first day was deceptively easy, and when we set up camp at the first campsite we checked out the route for the next day on the black and white hand-drawn map in the refugio. We set off for the second day early, and while the scenery was amazing, the route was definitely not what you would call easy. Part of the way included the need to scramble over the rocks, semi-bouldering with our gear-filled packs, but that wasn't even the worst of it. The harder part was coming down from the two passes on the steep slope, partially gravel-skiing and partially ass-surfing to the bottom. The good news was that as the trail was so deserted, at least I retained my pride knowing that no one was there to watch we wiggle my way down on my bum. Note-to-self: NEVER trust a hand drawn map.That having said, it was great practice as the other treks in Patagonia after were easy by comparison.
While recovering from said hike, we joined an easy day tour to the mountain Tronador and the black glacier, followed by a scrumptious Asado put on by our hostel. While seeing a glacier, especially a black one is always impressive, the highlight of the day was still the Asado, with several cuts and varieties of meat, combined with Argentinian wine and great company. Of course Luis with his oh-so-tough Nicaraguan stomach tried some of everything, included the grilled offal, and paid for it the next day on the two day bus ride.
On the down side: We tried to catch a bus to the south via Ruta 40, the supposedly scenic route. However in doing this we managed to hit a fair bit of bad luck along the way. First off, our bus broke down in el Bolson, a mere two hours from our start point. Yes, very Priscilla-like... And while the bus company put us up in a nearby hostel, it happened to have bed bugs. Even worse is that I didn't notice the bites until I was on the connecting bus, and had to sit in my bug-infested clothes for the next 25 hours until the next stop, trying hard to move as little as possible so as not to agitate the little assholes and incur another bite. Not fun...