Liz and I signed up for Earth River Expeditions' trip to the Futaleufu River in Chile Dec. 22-29. Founder Eric Hertz pioneered whitewater rafting in this remote area in the early 1990's. http://www.earthriver.com/why-earth-riv ... ng-history
Weather did not cooperate for rafting the Futaleufu but Earth River plans several other activities during the week. Map of the area:
During the one good weather window of our week we managed the ambitious hike to Lago Obsession. The trailhead is through the Peuma Lodge's land, so you need to be staying there or arrange permission as Earth River has.
Zoom view to the glacier above the lake.
The lake is out of view in that notch but you can see the stream cascading out of it at left. You can also get an idea how steep the top of the hike is.
This was a sketchy stream crossing.
The wood is very slippery after so much rain earlier in the week.
Here's one of our guides Colo walking past an uprooted tree stump.
Cross sections of these logs are often made into decorative tables.
About 2/3 of the way up we take a break near the cascade.
Alexa from L.A., guide Teal (Eric Hertz' son) and Liz
Zoomed view of waterfall higher up:
Liz and guide Pauli ascending:
We finally made it!
Mountains behind the lake, as it clouded over after a sunny morning:
Alexa at the lake during a sunny break which illuminates colors in the water.
Our guides brought inflatable kayaks, which Liz was the first to try.
Then I took a turn.
I kayaked around the left corner to see where the lake exited.
I headed back soon as there was a light current toward the exit.
Overlook of the area I kayaked during a sunny break:
The growth high on the tree at center looks like fungus but in fact is a very hard tree cancer.
"Gummy bear" fungus:
Ropes have been installed in several places. Bob from Colorado descending here:
Footing was often treacherous. The prior day was the only one of the week with no rain, allowing the trail to dry out a little bit. By the time we finished with the hike there was a light drizzle. On the way back to the Uman Lodge we saw this vacation home overlooking Lago Loncanao.
Ours was the first Earth River group to hike to Lago Obsession this season. We were their second group and the weather for the first group was worse so they did not get to do it. Thus our guides took the inflatable kayaks up the trail and stashed them for the summer. They will eventually haul a standup paddleboard up there too!
Lago Obsession's setting was quite reminiscent of Crypt Lake in Waterton Park, Alberta, where Liz and I hiked in 2013. viewtopic.php?t=11023
But this Carretara Austral region of Chile sets a new standard of remoteness. It's cut off from the rest of Chile by your choice of a light plane flight or a 9 hour ferry. The largest town of Futaleufu has a population of about 4,000. So to no surprise we saw no other people on the hike.
The hike itself is quite grueling. It climbs 3,600 vertical feet in 3 1/2 miles with variable footing and both Liz and I had a couple of blisters by the end of it.