Django told us about this gaucho trail from rio villega to cochamo. —

From rio villega your supposed to hitch hike up to passo leon — might be called passo manso on your map
(if you have a map). But if there is no car comeing, you basicly have to walk or organize otherwise... but really try to not walk that part, it's an imense landscape but it's not that much fun to walk along a gravel road. There is a camping pasarel that even has a restaurant and a little kiosk which sells wine as well, about 10km befor the boarder to chile.

Try not to cross the boarder without any stamps from the border control office! We arrived at the border around siesta time, called for someone but there was noone around so we crossed as we used to do it back home.

So you cross the border walk along a little dirt road to a crooked hanging bridge and that's about were the trail starts. Realy simple you walk down the rio manso till the second big river there you turn right and follow the river up to a big lake — lago vidal. We didn't meet a lot of people on the trail, but one time we came out of a forest into a huge opening of a beautifull valley, and there was Rodrigo, he seamed to be a bit puzzled to see us there and came over to talk to us. What wasn't really possible since neither of us speaks any spanish. He seamed a bit shocked about our plan to get to cochamo and after a while we figured out that in this valley we wouldn't find lago vidal, since this is el morro. We accidently entered the wrong valley and walked for over 1.5 houres in the wrong direction. Well this of course had nothing to do with our little self drawn map that we copied of google maps from a computer screen, then this part we didn't even think of drawing on to our map. We must have looked quite lost then Rodrigo offered to carry our backpacks back to the crossing were we turned wrong, with his horse.

The trails are basicly used for the farmers in the valleys (and there is tones of valleys) to bring supply by horse up to their farms. So actually you could take a horse instead. And cover a hole variete of terrain, from green fields to dusty trail to stone to mudd trails even little streams that found its way into the trail and follow it.

There is a step trail up to lago vidal were you'll find a little farm that can be camped at. It is a paradise like place and a really good spot for fishing, you just need to wait for the right time. Some how the farmer tried to explain us something and seamed quite upset that he couldn't make himself understand and the next morning when we left his wife as well seemd to be a bit stressed about our departure. Unfortunatly the farmer was gone to passo leon to get new supply and couldn't take us with his boat to the otherside of the lake. So there was nothing else left then walk. Our lunch brake ended up to be a sitting out time for the heavy rain that was comeing down in the valley we would have to get up to the next lake.

«we are sitting out the heavy rain, how fortunate it is so sunny!»

the weather here is absolutely crazy you can sitt in bright sunshine and there is heavy rain just a few hundert meters from you. so you wait till it's over and then go. once on the trail up to the next mountain lake, the trail turned more and more into forest, till you couldn't make out the way anymore. the winter had taken all old trails from the past years and with one machette it would take days to get to the other side of the forest. with one can of tuna left and a handfull of rise it didn't seam to be a wise choise to carry on. so we had to admit that we got defeated by the wild forests of patagonia. and yes, "no camino no pasar" means that there is no way throu in spanish! if we only knew! We were just the first ones to try this year, usualy there is a trail cut throu from mid december onwards.

defeated, frustrated, we had to get another challange to keep us going so we desided to walk as fast back to the passo leon as we could. After a 5 days hike one day 6h, then two days 8h and then 2 hardcore days with 10h and very little sleep, and 15 kilos on our backs, we managed to reach the camping were there was beer, cigarettes and friendly company awaiting us.

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