Tales from today, preserved for tomorrow.

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Fence Removal on Tamango

Sunset / Moonrise over Los Alamos campground.

I was pretty lucky, in my opinion, to spend my first week volunteering working on trails. The other 2 primary objectives of the volunteer group is fence removal and invasive species removal. Fence removal was what we were tasked with on week 2. I can’t imagine how much work it was to install hundreds of miles of fence 30 years ago in this area, but I can imagine it was ten times harder than what we had to do which was still tough.

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Trailwork in the Valle Aviles

Mouth of the Aviles Valley.

Patagonia is home to an incredible number of relatively untouched terrain, and the Aviles Valley is no exception. Our goal for the week was to join the senderistas to extend the trail as far as we could in a few days work.

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Lagunas Altas Trek

Overview of the Lagunas Altas trek.

To be a national park, there must be trails for visitors to enjoy. The first official trail of the future Patagonia National Park is the Lagunas Altas trek. It’s a spectacular walk and is definitely unknown at this point. I don’t know where else I would be able to hike for 3 days on such a beautiful trail and not see a single human. At least one writer for the International Business Times put this hike in his top 5 of Patagonia, and also acknowledges that its a hidden gem.

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Getting to the Valle Chacabuco

Conservacion Patagonica is a conservation group based in San Francisco but primarily concerned with protecting stretches of land in Patagonia. The Chacabuco Valley is just one of these areas which will be eventually donated back to Chile in hopes that they can set examples for future preserves for the country. The Chacabuco Valley was previously sheep farms with hundreds of kilometers of fence installed that drastically reduced the roaming capabilities of herds of guanaco and other animals. Our goal during my time here was two-fold: remove the fence to assist in the restoration of the area back to its natural state, and construct trails for visitors to this future national park to enjoy.

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Volviendo a Chile

Time had run out on my short trip to Brazil and I was on a flight back to Chile. It was early morning on the 15th of February, my 47th day in South America. Though I had 2 weeks until I officially started volunteering at the Valle Chacabuco and future Patagonia National Park, I wanted to get there a week early to do some exploring around this relatively untouched area of Patagonia.

Kevin C had told me about this little town in Chile called Pucón that, though touristy, is a great center for outdoor activities. Seemed like a perfect place to spend a few days before I had to head south to Aysén.

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