Day 364 – Easter Island Day 1 – Rano Kau and the Orongo Ruins

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We secured some bikes from a location next to our campsite and biked toward the Rano Kao volcano and Orongo ruins. Along the way  we saw our first Ahu, a spiritual location where some of the islands deceased are buried. On top of the Ahu is where you can find the Moai (big headed figures). There was only one at this particular site. What we learned was that these Moai represented ancestors. They were not gods but actual inhabitants of the island and they all had different details carved into them to reflect who they were. As we biked around it was not uncommon to see spectacular views along the coast. Volcanic rocks peak out of the water creating channels where the water collects and airates so much as to make it white most of the time. We selectively pulled off the road a few times to enjoy the natural beauty …

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Day 363 – Flight to Easter Island

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The flight to Easter Island, as has been usual on LAN, was superb. The only problem was that I left my camping gas canisters in my bag and I got pulled off the plane. I took a little gamble thinking they would make it through in my checked bag but no dice. In retrospect this was an insanely stupid idea. I was crapping my pants at the prospect of missing the flight. The takeoff time was set for 9:00 and it was 8:45 already. I know once the doors are closed, it means I am screwed. As I was escorted out, the attendant was very coy about whether I would make the flight or not. She informed me that I needed to remove the items from the bag myself. I didn’t know how far the baggage area was and we had to wait for a transport to get there. When the …

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Day 362 – Valparaiso

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The interesting thing about Valparaiso is not only is it a Unesco World Heritage site for it’s architectural elements but it also provides a vivid, if not acid influenced street art. While I have conflicting feelings on graffiti art, there is no denying the immense beauty of the artwork found here. We started walking around the lower level of the city taking in the views of the surrounding buildings. One of those that stood out was the baby blue Chilean Armada Building. After walking around the lower streets and asking for directions for the upper tier of the city, we would find our way up to a very old turnstile. On the other side was a older gentleman collecting a fare for the rail/elevator up. Below is a video of that fun ride up. Once up top we took in the elevated views which, in my opinion, were not as impressive …

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Day 361 – Touring Santiago de Chile

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After a long bus ride from Bariloche and a little scare, I arrived to the Santiago bus station. The scare came about in the way of a customs agent strike which meant that being processed at the border was not guaranteed. We could have been turned away. Luckily, military had taken over these duties until the strike was over. We were instructed to bring all of our bags out of the bus and lay them across the ground. The dog on duty would then walk past them and sniff them out. My bag was searched because I carry lots of condiments while camping and the dog must have liked the smell. It pawed at a couple of other bags and those were manually searched. Unlike many of my other travel compatriots I don’t have a problem with bag searches. They are never going to find any drugs on me. The …

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Day – 357 – Day hike up to Refugio Frey

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I had been told by some friends that I should not miss going to Refugio Frey. In fact my plan was to do a 10 day hike in this area and make my exit through Refugio Frey. However, my plans were thwarted by inclement weather. Instead I decided that I would do a day hike into Frey. I took the bus to the drop off and the signage was pretty good. It is a well traveled trail and I see why I had been told this area was a must visit while in Bariloche. There were lots of things that stood out from this hike. One of the things that I enjoyed was the change in vegetation to fall colors. Another impressive aspect of the hike were the clouds that would hover above the lakes and in between the mountains. Yet you were looking down at them, they are wonderful …

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Day 352 – Seven Lakes & San Martin de los Andes

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After a few days rest from my hike, today I would go to the seven lakes and San Martin de los Andes. Since I had been told that this drive was exceptionally scenic, I was really looking forward to it. People that had return from it had raved about it. A group of us from the hostel pooled our resources and rented a car to head there.  The crew consisted myself, Urs, Gemma, Mary, and Graham. Aside from the mountain views above at the first pull off we saw this wonderful poochie. It was very happy to see us and extremely friendly. We gave it some love and it just melted. It rolled over on it’s back and eventually was so relaxed that it took nap in this position. After we were done enjoying the views we said goodbye to our little friend and moved on to the next pull …

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Day 348 – 350 – Backtracking to Laguna Negra

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Day 1 of the backtrack I had made the decision yesterday to backtrack to Laguna Negra since I failed to reach my intended campsite because of inclement weather. The weather was indeed better today but it was still overcast much of the day. The visibility was not as nice as I would have liked and there was still plenty of snow I had to make my way through. It made the trip back over the ridge much slower than on the first approach. However, I was happy to find the northern side of the mountain pretty dry. It’s funny one usually thinks of the north face as the icier side but that is coming from a northern hemisphere perspective. On the southern hemisphere, you want the north face. Still the drop down was rocky and my knees were feeling every creaky  step. I definitely brought way too much food with …

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Day 346 & 347 – Hiking to Laguna Creton

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Day 1 Today I left C.A.B pretty tired. Yesterday turned out to be more exhausting than I thought. Despite the fatigue, I was happy that I got myself up at a decent time unlike yesterday. I had at least 7 hours of daylight for today’s hike. It was expected to rain with the highest probability late in the evening. At least that is what the forecast said the day I set out. This morning the weather was pretty good though so I was hopeful it would last. One of the things I noticed in the day time was that the pile of rocks I ate on last night was probably part of the refugio at some point. There were roof tiles and some wood that looked like it supported the roof interspersed amongst them. The refugio’s wood had also apparently been used as firewood for some time. This is what …

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Day 345 – Hiking to C.A.B

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I must admit I was extremely reluctant to leave my amazing shelter. I slept in and enjoyed as much of it before taking off. I had what was about a 2hr breakfast. I poked around the shelter some more now that I had more light to look at things. I decided to consume some rice noodles that were in the cooler, as well as take a few bags of tea. In exchange I left some coffee tea bags, wiped down all the tables, benches, and swept the entire first floor before leaving. This is what that stuffed cooler looked like. All sorts of goodies. Today’s hike would take me across laguna negra giving fantastic views at every juncture. The stillness of the water perfectly reflected cerro negro. The part around the lake which I suspected was the easiest turned out to be a bit of a pain in the ass. …

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Day 344 – Hiking up to Laguna Negra

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Tonight I would camp at Laguna Negra. After a ridiculous amount of time staying put in Bariloche I am finally making it out on a multi-day hike. The last hike was really enjoyable but too short for my taste. I have planned a 10+ day hike making a loop starting at Laguna Negra and ending my trip at Refugio Jakob. There will be some off trail travel in the latter part of the trip and I have enough food provisions with me to last at least 12 days. This extra food is with me in the event I have to wait out the weather. This seems like the best weather/ash window I’ve had so it’s now or never. Winter has arrived and has already dusted the tops of the mountains with fresh snow. I still needed to pick up some last minute supplies so I headed to the supermarket and …

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