Parque Aiken del Sur
I told you about Puerto Chacabuco a bit yesterday. We hiked a private preserve owned by the Loberia Hotel in Chacabuco. The trail was about 5 miles long and was developed about 3 years ago for touristic reasons. It was a wonderful walk inside a rain forest.
The country of Chile is long and skinny. Chacabuco is in the lower regions (you can see Torres del Paine on the bottom). It is a harsh but beautiful place. Chile had a source of white gold, or sodium nitrate. Chilean Saltpeter was so valuable that Chile went to war over it with Argentina and Bolivia over the rights to the mining areas. However in 1909, German scientists found a way to manufacture nitrates and within 5 years the Nitrate Towns of Chile were ghost towns. They are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Chilean President Pinochet used the town near Chacabuco as a prison and there are still unexploded mines in the area. We didn't go there!
These leaves are like the Papyrus Plants we used to have in my grandfathers yard in New Orleans. In Chile, they are huge! The cooks wrap meats in these leaves and smoke the bundles in underground pits.
Here are some of our group hiking, Frank is in the white shirt.
The Traveling Basset decided to hike with us as well. He was tired so he was resting in one of the trees. Those short legs, you know!
The stream that ran through the forest was crystal clear. You can see the tannins from the forest floor debris and trees tinting the water a reddish hue.
The basset sits on a seat carved from one of the fallen trees. You can see how old the trees are, this was a huge trunk.
believe it or not, this is the best photo I have of that bird. He was fast, fast, fast, but blue, blue blue!
This as an Arryan tree. The branches and trunk are cold to the touch. Try it, other trees were all warm.
This fluffy moss grows every where. It looks so ethereal. It is used as a stuffing in mattresses and coats to keep you warm. When it is dried, it is an excellent fire starter if you ever find yourself stranded in the Chilean rain forests.
We could hear the Old Man's Beard Waterfall long before we could see it. The trails wound around the stream and when the trees opened, there it was.
The flora was so beautiful, this is the springtime in the Southern Hemisphere.
It was so beautiful when the sun was out.
Here you can see our guide and the Basset among those leaves. And you can see just how large the leaves really are!
You know I wanted those boots! I considered knocking him down and heading for the bus!
This was the lake outside the visitor center.
Such a beautiful place.