Carretera Austral Beginnings

Carretera Austral Beginnings

After fun climbing with our friends in the deserts of Argentina, we pointed Koru back west, excited for what lay ahead. The famous Carretera Austral was coming next to take us into some of the most remote parts of Patagonian Chile. With another visit from Matt’s parents to look forward to and famous world class hiking and fishing in front of us, our eyes were glued to the windshield approaching the border as we were greeted by the beautiful mountainous landscape.Entering back into Chile near the town of Futalefu, we became entranced by the beauty of the area and the famous river by the same name, Rio Futalefu.Arriving at dusk, we found a quiet spot next to the river outside of town only to wake up and quickly understand why the Futalefu River is world famous among river rats and the occasional site-seer driving the gravel road that leads to the Carretera Austral. It is stunningly beautiful from every angle.We quickly left camp and headed into town to buy a fishing license to start exploring the many rivers in the area. This stretch of our journey had Matt’s excitement at an all-time high with the fly rods assembled for the foreseeable future. Our first stop was not to disappoint giving Matt his first Patagonian trout. Heading to multiple spots that day, the fishing was better than dreamed.However, Koru decided to keep us on our toes because something caused the serpentine belt to break along this little traveled road. Fortunately, we had a spare on-board and we continued driving and fishing within minutes.The road proved to be narrow with blind curves everywhere, as one local found out. Utmost focus was necessary while driving here, not only due to the road, but because many of the locals seem to value their road safety less than we do. For us, it was another reason to go slow and stop often.The abundance and diversity of the rivers here astonished us and exceeded expectations. While in this part of the Chile we must have crossed at least 20 rivers/tributaries representing completely different watersheds.Arriving in Villa Santa Lucia on March 5, this is the town where we officially intersected the famous Carretera Austral. We had the opportunity to bare witness to the devastating effects of a massive land slide through the town that nearly buried it completely in December 2017.Turning south, we were greeted with pavement as we kruised onward through the smooth and winding road, over one-lane bridges and through endless mountain landscapes.Heading towards the city of Coyhaique, we had to stop and honor the Wyoming area code, holla! Our goal in the next couple of days was to arrive in the last large city (~70,000 people) in southern Chile, Coyhaique, where Matt’s parents would be meeting us.Prior to meeting them, we planned to explore as much as we could. National Park Queulat was a quick detour from the road and we headed in to check out the famed beauty.We walked through the jungle for quite some time feeling the clouds descend overhead wondering it we would even be able to see the hanging glacier. Coming to the overlook at the end of the trail, we both stood in awe as we stared at our first glacier and it was an incredible sight to see.At the overlook we shared tea with a local Chilean family that was taking in the views as well. As it turned out, they were also overland traveling in a big Mercedes camper named Margarita.Leaving the park, we spent 2 more days driving through magical landscapes full of temperate rain forests, mini land slides, fjords, rivers, farmland and more. Everyday was unique with beauty around every bend.Finally, the time came to meet up with Matt’s parents as we hopped and skipped into Coyhaique.

4 thoughts on “Carretera Austral Beginnings

  1. Is there a professional photographer traveling in the back of your VW? I’m really looking forward to meeting Tripod Smith! Will there be a book? A slideshow and book tour? You have opened up huge opportunities for yourselves in the future. Can’t wait for the next issue of Kruisin Koru.
    You two are an amazing inspiration to those of us you can only travel with you in spirit…
    Take care out there . Hope to see you in 2018 or 2019!
    desde su tio viejo en Colorado

  2. Wow, words can’t really begin to describe the
    natural beauty witnessed by you two. The picture of the waterfalls coming out of the glacier is simply spectacular!

    Chile continues to beckon…

  3. Hola amigos..qué lindas fotos que nos demuestran la maravillosa naturaleza en el país de Chile.
    Increíble la foto en la cual se puede apreciar el inicio de una inolvidable aventura.
    Son muy famosos los glaciares, espero algún día visitar éste sitio..cuál es la mejor época del año para hacerlo?..invierno o verano..o primavera?
    Tienes toda la razón en conducir con mucho cuidado y despacito en este tipo de vías..y me imagino que la mayor parte del tiempo tomaron medidas de seguridad y protección..
    Un abrazo grande y ansiosa de ver la próxima parte de Patagonia y sus glaciares..

    Con cariño

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