Friday, October 11, 2013

To the end of the road - La Arena

Last month we drive to the end of Ruta 5 which is the major highway which runs from the far north on the Peruvian border to Chiloe Island. We drove to the end of the road to see if there were ferries over to Chiloe. You can see on the map below - location C is where we live. Location B is Pargua that has the ferries over to Chiloe.

 If you zoom in on the map, you can see the ferries going back and forth. This month we took Ruta 5 to Puerto Montt and turned left  onto Ruta 7 to see its end and this is what we found. Location A on the map.
The ferry takes pedestrians, cars, and trucks, and even buses from La Arena to Puelche
Just across a river  but in order to get to the lower third of the country this is the only way unless you want to go to Argentina

The end of the road

The bay of La Arena

We thought this little power generating plant for the locals was pretty cool
tapping the power of a waterfall

The road was in the process of being paved but rock slides are common

On the  way back, we checked out this park

The undergrowth is very dense and all surfaces are covered with moss and lichens

Some of the german immigrants got lost and died in this temperate jungle

We took the 1/2 hr walk but this park is vast and some of the trails are 8 hr + hikes
Over 20% of Chile's land is in national parks- some are huge and very remote
The Alerce tree also known as a larch is an evergreen conifer
They can grow to over 200 ft. tall and the oldest living tree is over 3600 years old!
This tree is a protected symbol of Patagonia


  1. I almost got arrested at the park when the park ranger was giving us a tour of the gardens surrounding the ranger station. Since there were no Alerce trees in close walking distance, I asked him if there was a "little Alerce Tree". The ranger was kind enough to show us a little tree (seen above). I thought it looked a lot like a Cedar tree so I picked a little sprig from the tip of one of the small branches........ The ranger saw me do it as I was only 1 foot away and said "don't do that again"! OOOOOOPs international incident. As I was rubbing the sprig between my fingers to smell the sap he explained it took 40 years for that sprig to grow.
    I apologized and he said it was ok (we were not deported).


  2. Also the little HYDRO power generation site was really interesting. I liked that the Chilean government took advantage of the natural resource so readily available. Of course they over did everything about it (probably for distribution reasons), as I have seen similar stations that were privately owned that had a similar sized pipe and water outflow that were significant smaller.

  3. This story of you and the 40 yr old sap is pretty funny. Glad you didn't get kicked out. =)