Palena, Rio Tigre, a Peek at the Futaleufu, Dec. 22-23, 2017

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Palena, Rio Tigre, a Peek at the Futaleufu, Dec. 22-23, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:51 am

Here's a good overview map of our travels in Chile from Dec. 20 - Jan. 2.

Puerto Montt is the big city in the region (220K people) with regular air service from Santiago on LATAM. The yellow Ruta 5 is a toll road freeway from Santiago nearly all the way to the ferry crossing to Chiloe Island, where we spent the first day of our trip with overnight in Castro. Other roads are paved if in red but gravel if in purple. North of Puerto Montt is Puerto Varas where we joined Earth River Expeditions starting with dinner on Dec. 21. Across the lake east of Puerto Varas is Volcan Osorno, which we visited Dec. 30. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=12542

Patrick will undoubtedly recognize Argentina's Ruta 40 running from Bariloche to Esquel on the east side of the map. Note that the town of Futaleufu is just a couple of hours southwest of Esquel. This is how we hope to return to Futaleufu after the 2020 eclipse to raft the big river we missed this time.

Patrick will also recognize the border crossing at the top of the map going west into Chile from Villa La Angostura. From Dec. 31 - Jan. 2 we were around Pucon, about 2 hours drive north of the top of this map. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=12543

Chile and Argentina still do not cooperate much, so Earth River's access to Futaleufu is via a small plane flight to Chaiten, then a 2 hour gravel road drive. This season that transit is complicated by a major landslide Dec. 16 just north of Santa Lucia (see road intersection SW of Lago Yelcho). ... ndslide-2/ So on Dec. 22 we flew on the light plane to Palena, south of Futaleufu near the bottom of the map. And due to weather our flight was delayed from early morning to late afternoon, so we stayed overnight in Palena. It was a bumpy flight, uncomfortable for some of our group, but Liz and I were busy taking in the scenery. Cruise ship at Puerto Montt:

The plane emerges from a squall.

Glaciers and waterfalls as we fly over Lake Yelcho:

South end of Lake Yelcho, where we boarded small motorboats on the return trip Dec. 29.


Just after landing in Palena:

Liz appreciated the manicured trees at this house in Palena.

And the restaurant where we had dinner:

With our unscheduled location, Earth River decided to raft the nearby Rio Tigre on Dec. 23. Briefing here on a nice sunny morning:

The Rio Tigre was a nice Class II-III warmup for our group. Earth River has at least one kayak in the water to rescue swimmers if necessary.




We took out from this bridge.

We were only the second commercial group to raft Rio Tigre, as it's out of the way when you're based in Futaleufu and because it's a small tributary that was only raftable because water levels were high.

On the drive to Lake Espolon we stopped a couple of times to get a view of the Futaleufu River. Some bushwacking was needed to get to this view of Class V Casa Piedra.


This was the closest we would get to any Futaleufu rapids all week. We also stopped at a bridge over the river.

From this area we also got a view of Cerro Tres Monjas

We spent the next three nights at the remote and pristine Espolon Lodge. With hard rain every night the Futaleufu only got bigger. So Earth River arranged other activities in the area. Then we moved to the elegant Uman Lodge for two nights. With a break in the weather we got in a couple of good hikes including the rigorous one to Lake Obsession. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=12544
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Tony Crocker
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