Trip November 2014
The Pumalin Park was for many years in question due to that an American couple acquired a huge quantity of hectares in the 90’s. Douglas Tompkins bought a large part and start protecting the flora and fauna of the place.
Many Chilean people were speculating that they were a sect and scary things were said. Nobody would believe that someone would really care about nature, for many was that Americans wanted to take over.
I grew up listening to stories but I made my own opinion and I was quite happy that there was someone out there caring of our beloved it Patagonia. Since we Chileans only had the tendency to take advantage of the resources and went it runs out we move to the next location to be exploited; for some big people to get richer and for the normal people to have a job and “parar la mesa” (provide food to your family)
The years went by and many people started to understand how things really work in our country. The only way for us to fight for something is by protesting and let our voices to be heard. The environmental conscience started growing and it got really strong mostly at the South of Chile.
Nowadays we care more for what is ours and we enjoy the beauty of this magnificent places by respecting nature.
Our visit started in Puerto Montt to Parque Pumalin (with direction to Chaiten) and from Puerto Montt you can take a bus with Kemel bus, this bus departs only one time a day at 07 am and the call it “ruta bimodal”. The route follows the famous Carretera Austral which its by road and by ferry, quite exciting ride with beautiful landscapes and the views are really breathtaking.
We arrived with the ferry to the entrance of Pumalin Sur, Caleta Gonzalo where you find cabanas and sites for tents. Then the bus continues to Chaiten.
We were so happy to stay here, we booked a cabana and could eat at the restaurant. All well decorated and maintained. We were not the only ones staying and we could meet other people as well.
There are many trails at this place and you can easy follow them, all well indicated. We did the Sendero Cascada and starts around the corner of the restaurant. It was an amazing path with some difficulty, some places get a bit rough but you are in nature and it takes over and gives you some few challenges but totally worth it (I am not tall and have shorts legs… me laughing)
We went as well to the Volcan Chaiten and this was a really good deal, very long trek (not that long in time but you walk all the way uphills) but at the end is very rewarding. We had to ask to some tourists whom where staying at the cabanas if they could drop us at the entrance of the trekking and they gave us a lift… very lucky because it is quite far by foot.
The path is really amazing, going up there and to see all the damage since the last eruption in 2008. You can see how the lava destroyed all what it was in its path without mercy.
Once down to the road we started walking with the hope that someone is going to come and offer us a lift but there was no soul to be seen. We walked and walked and no sign of a single person till we saw a car and he doubted to drive us and stopped the car a few meters in front of us. He is a German guy and has had bad experiences with taking people off the road. We told him that we needed to get back to Caleta Gonzalo where our base was and he was alright with us after finding out that we live in Belgium, so he felt much better about us and won his trust.
We went back for a warm meal and well deserved night sleep.
With this I want to thank Douglas Tompkins and his wife Kristine McDivitt who have worked very hard to leave their legacy and the good they have done for this remote part of the Earth. I can not thank you enough to both of you and the rest of the team.
Douglas Tompkins (1943-2015) A short film: A wild legacy
“If anything can save the world, I’d put my money on beauty” – Douglas Tompkins