Hiking in Pumalin National Park

The base of the Michinmahuida glacier

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Pumalin National Park is the biggest private park in Chile, and was founded by the American Doug Tompkins. The park has a remarkable forest-conservation of the 2889 km2, which cover temperate rainforest, clear river, seascapes and farmland.

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In 2008 volcán Chaiten erupted, and kept the park closed for two years. A big effort to rebuilt and make new hiking trials after the eruption has made this park a stopover for us. In total the park has 11 different trails, that is free to hike for everybody. The downside for us is that it is not allowed to wild camp inside the park, but there are organized campgrounds for 5000 pesos per person per night. Instead we drove outside the park every day to wild camp at the local beach in the small town Santa Barbara. 

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Fishing with the locals, but I released this tiny one again

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We also found out, that a lot of other travelers camp here, so we were lucky to meet up with some our friends from Christmas. Spending the evening with Josh, Jenna, Camille and Ryan around the campfire.

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This time we introduced them to the Danish “Snobrød” (twisted bread)

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We hiked three trails in total (1) Laguna Tronador, (2) Sendero de Alerce and (3) Ventisquero el Amarillo. Laguna Tronador, where the trail was 80% wooden steps. A hanging wooden bridge lead across the Tronador River, and we hiked to the end of the trail, where we reached an amphitheater lake.

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In total 8,5 km, but with a rise of 500 meters in elevation

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Sendero de Alerces is a very short and flat trail, just 1,5 km including a small loop that took us through an ancient alerce grove. The alerce trees can reach an age of 3000 years.

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In the old days the bark was used in the caulking of boats, which left the tree to die slowly. Today cheap estopa has substituted the use of the bark, so the alerce trees will be preserved.

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Ventisquero el Amarillo, was the number one hike on our list here in Pumalin. In total we hiked 22 km and climbed 300 meters in elevation.

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We hiked to the base of the Michinmahuida glacier – with our new sunglasses (the old ones got stolen in Puerto Montt)

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Getting really close

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We don’t have glaciers in Denmark, and getting so close to one is amazing

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The only hazard was all the horse flies, that was chasing us – these were big and bite hard

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We have ever felt so popular with all those horse flies circuiting us during the hike. At the end it was just two much… we plugged in our headphones listening to an audiobook and trying to ignore the horse flies, but it still hurt, when they bite you.

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We decided not to hike the trail Volcán Chaiten, because it has to be a clear day to get a view of the volcano, and we just had one clear day. In general all the trails are very well maintained and just beautiful built through the dense forest. We have now started our adventure in the southern part of Chile called “Patagonia”, a remote area that was not connected to the rest of Chile before the construction of Carretera Austral in the 1980’s. More about traveling south on Carretera Austral in the next post.

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