Patagonia is a much bigger area than I realized. When I would imagine Patagonia before, I was really picturing Southern Patagonia, as in the stunning jagged peaks of Torres del Paine and Fitz Roy. But Patagonia extends quite a ways to the north, and includes the Lake Districts of Chile and Argentina, which we found to be pretty stunning in their own right.
Chile was rainy so we spent more time on the Argentinian side, in and around Bariloche.
We have been lugging around a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, hiking poles, proper hiking boots, etc. on this trip for the sole purpose of going backpacking in South America, specifically Patagonia, and we’d yet to use any of it. So it was about time.
Well. “Backpacking” in the national parks that we’ve looked into, including the one by Bariloche, is nothing like backpacking in Washington where we carry everything on our backs that we need and use our stove to cook something as exciting as ramen for dinner outside our tent. It’s more like catered hut to hut here. Technically, you cannot “wild camp” in these parks. Instead, there are Refugios, which are shelters run by a mountaineering group called Club Andino, and you can either sleep in or pitch your tent near the Refugio.
And, the Club Andino members will cook you dinner and even serve you wine! Dinner the night we were there was a choice of baked lamb and potatoes, or goulash. We opted for the goulash and it was the best I’ve ever had.
We’re now off — in a camper van — to Southern Patagonia, which is notorious for bad weather so we’ll be happy if we even catch a glimpse of Fitz Roy…