From Pucón, our route took us south along the Chilean-Argentinian boarder, jumping back and forth between the two. We got our first taste of Argentina during a couple days of driving and bush camping, and then spending a couple days in the town of Bariloche.
As soon as we crossed the boarder into Argentina, the landscape became more mountainous, and it seemed to be quite a bit more arid. What jumped out at us the most, were the monkey puzzle trees, an endangered evergreen also called the Chilean pine, that we read about in the book “John Muir’s Last Journey: South to the Amazon and East to Africa.” During 1911-1912, John Muir, at the age of 73 and traveling by himself, embarked on a 40,000 mile journey to see several forests of rare trees in South America and Africa. He originally attempted to travel to the Amazon in 1867-1868, but was stopped after a severe bout of malaria, after which he traveled to the Sierra Nevada range in California.
During his time in South America, he traveled 1,000 miles up the Amazon River, found forests of the Brazilian or Paraná pine (auricaria angistofolia), and traveled overland to Santiago and into southern Chile to find forests of the Chilean pine (araucaria araucana), before heading to Africa to see the Baobab trees and the headwater of the Nile.
There were a few drive days in a row for this leg, so most of our pictures are of the pretty scenery.
When we arrived to Bariloche, I unfortunately got sick and spent most of the time sleeping in my tent. We don’t have any good pictures to share, but from the one day we did go walk around a little bit, I can tell you that this town was beautiful, surrounded by a big lake and breath-taking alpine views. Everything about it felt German. Bariloche is known for its chocolate (which definitely rivals German chocolate) and was full of German-style beer halls. All in all, a very scenic little tourist town.
Along with lots of wild llamas, we saw so many Rheas (Darwin’s or Lesser breed) wandering around out in the fields as soon as we crossed into Argentina. We don’t have a picture to share yet, but they’re similar to an emu in size and appearance, can’t fly, and are powerful runners.
We also started seeing hawks everywhere. They were mostly the Chimango Caracara hawks, pictured below. What struck us most about these guys is that they are so docile around humans and often came right up to us while looking for food.
Along the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi (the lake that Bariloche is on), there were many geese that we identified as the Ashy-Headed Goose.