Friday, 11 May 2018

Where not only the forest is green

The forest trail

The forest is dense and there's a slight chill in the air and the only sounds are the leaves rustling in the breeze, water dripping from last night's rain, and the occasional scream of the little Chucao Tapaculo. I move slowly along the path in case I see one of the little Chucaos, only the volcanic gravel crunching under my boots. 

Am I in some remote and secret forest? Not at all, in fact I'm about 2.5km from the village of Ensenada near the shore of Lake Llanquihue, the 2nd largest in Chile. The forest is referred to as Valdivian forest, a type of rain forest here in Chilean Patagonia. 

Laguna Verde

The trail, albeit the short one of two trails, winds down a path to the side of Laguna Verde - the green lake. And you better believe it's green, very green. Certain times of the year the algae will make it appear even greener. 
Early morning at the lake is just spectacular, birds are only starting to move around and as the sun fights its way through the clouds, its rays hit the water through gaps in the forest that surrounds the lake...a large trout lazily and cheekily swims right past me almost at the water's edge. Here at the edge the water is crystal clear. 

Sun rays onto Laguna Verde

A little further along the trail and I reach a platform on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, a few meters from where there's a little "beach" between Laguna Verde and Lake Llanquihue. In total this walk is about 2-300m return but the tranquility and peace in the forest is tangible. 

Lake Llanquihue



Walking back to the parking area and rangers' office, there's a trail Los Pilleyos heading off to the left. Only 1.2km long but mostly dense and high forest with a short section along the eastern leg that's more open scrub and volcanic rock; also brilliant views from here of the snow-capped Volcano Osorno right there. 

Trail sign

These two trails are easy and a good relax in some amazing forest. I spent probably over 3 hours here, taking photos and birdwatching although afterwards it felt like I had been in some spa, totally refreshed!  At the parking area there's also a little shop for those looking for a hot drink, or cold one for that matter, and maybe something sweet like a cake catches your fancy. 



How to get there
Located in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, only 2.5km by road from Ensenada (which is 42km east from Puerto Varas). The CONAF (Chile National Forestry Service) who manage the national parks. 
Micros (20-25 seater buses) from Puerto Varas are 1,300 Chilean pesos one way to Ensenada. 
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