Sunday, 28 April 2019

Trekking into the Autumn Colours

Autumn at the End of The World
Up early for coffee and some cereal and a bit of a relax, I was gagging for my first proper trek again in almost two months. At 08:15 head off from the hostel up to the Ruta 3 and then east.

Just over tte Arroyo Grande, follow the road that goes up to the Arakur Hotel nd at the curve in the U-route, the start of the trail to the Cascada de Los Amigos and Cerro Cortez. Arriving at 09:33, it was 5.8km up to here. The trail goes left and around the hill before continuing along the river (Arroyo Grande). Big easy trail although various parts with a lot of mud after the last 2 weeks of rain.

Frost on the banks of the Arroyo Grande.
Frost on the banks of the Arroyo Grande. 


The night had been cold and there's a lot of frost on the ground, so many of these parts are partially frozen making it a bit easier. The whole valley is still in the shade so nothing had started to melt yet, and that breeze, nice and fresh! The colours though! Unbelievable!

After 2km, I reach the junction in the trail where it splits to Cerro Cortez and to the waterfalls. The trail still good and open from here, and with yellow markers to show the way, still fairly easy and flat across an open grassy area. It soon brings me to the river crossing, a spot where there used to be an old beaver dam. The "bridge" is a collection of some big tree trunks but they're covered in a little layer of ice. This makes it all a bit more interesting as I have no intention of falling into the river early in the morning. With a combination of trekking poles and moving along on my backside, I get across without any incident i.e. dry.

Frosty valley in the early morning shade.
Frosty valley in the early morning shade. 

Continuing along the other bank, there's much more water where I also pass some horses grazing very contented. Only a bit further, the trail goes into the forest and starts ascending from where there's also way more mud on the trail. The trail is also serving as a conduit for the rain and some streams further up in the mountain. 

After a solid ascent, it flattens out a bit before descending to just above the river.
With a 90 degree turn in the trail, it also gets narrower and ascends into the forest along the little canyon where there's a stream from the waterfall. Then, into the canyon and ascending on alternating banks of the little stream of fresh albeit icy water.


Cascada de Los Amigos
The skyline is suddenly filled with high cliffs, only cut by the waterfall with a 10m drop of water surrounded by the warm autumnal colours of the Fueguino forest. Mostly in the shade, the little canyon is quite cold but luckily I brought my camping stove and soon have a mug of hot tea in my hands. Also get down to getting the noodle soup going which gives me some more hot sustenance while I enjoy the hypnotising landscape around me.

Just over an hour a half here before I start walking back around13:00. Obviously much quicker than the ascent, I spend more time taking photos with the sunlight now flooding the valley.

Reluctantly, I eventually leave the trail and follow the road back to the hostel, reflecting on a stunning day that started with pink clouds over the bay of Ushuaia and culminating in autumn coloured valleys basking in a mild sun before the will eventually take over completely.

Bosque Común valley in the sun.
Bosque Común valley with Cerro 5 Hermanos in the background. 


Trek Summary

1.  Hostel to trailhead: 5.8km
2.  Trailhead to junction: 2.1km
Junction to waterfall: 3.2km
3.  Waterfall to hostel: 11.1km

Coordinates

Trailhead: 54°4626.5S 68°1537.5W
Trail X: 54°4540.1S 68°1508.0W
Waterfall: 54°4441.4S 68°1556.9W

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