Bus came at 11:15 and when it arr there was just enuf space for 7 of us waiting! Whew! Fabulous scenery...really bummed that my camcorder is not working on computers so I can download/offload pics. Mari and Bon both take some but not from bus. Lakes and rivers are a deep blue to light aqua color, mtns mostly forested by 2nd growth it looks like, and many snowcapped...even glaciers. So beautiful it's hard to describe and even pics don't do justice. Guanacos we see, and puma - don't see - did not even see many birds perhaps because it is our 'May' and too early? They say fishing is terrific, loads of trout, I think non-native and salmon.
I enjoyed every minute of the bus ride...on gravel road, only a few Chile/Arg. tourist/backpackers, most are locals on this minibus (29 passengers). We asked driver about transport, he only knew of his route to/from Cochrane, nothing about travel via Pto Guadal around lake Buenos Aires/General Carrera (same lake but each country gives it's part of lake a different name, ha) and back to Chile Chico. We're hoping to circle the lake via road. Driver was going to let us out at Cruce El Maiten when we got no more info at the pto Rio Tranquilo. However, when we arr at Cruce it would be another 10 km to Pto Guadal...no bus, just hitch. We had read in LP and gal at tourist office in C.C. said that you could get transport daily to Chile Chico from Pto Guadal. Bon & Mari did not like idea of perhaps hiking the 10 km w/ packs (it's 3:30pm) and even bus driver recom going on to Cochrane tho he didn't know for sure about buses to C.C. So on we went, Jake planning to go indep. S. to O'Higgins instead of returning to CC.
We get to Cochrane at 5pm and the driver, Claudio, of Buses Don Carlos was extremely helpful. He drove us around to where Jake could get ticket on to O'Hig, called someone to get info when we found out no buses to CC until Thur (we need to get there tomor!). His contact said it would cost us 150,000p ($315 US!) to take us there. Wow! Then he called the number in LP for Hosteria Huemules - Don FKemel (067-431-212). He did all the talking for us and made arrangements - he will take us to Cruce El Maiten by 11am tomor where a private car will pick us up and take us to CC for 80,000 ($168 US). A costly trip but at this point apparently our only option to get back to Loa Antiguos where we already have tickets for bus down to El Chalten lvg on the 16th! Jake's bus doesn't lv until Thur from here to O'Higgins so he'll have a day to relax and ck out this area. O'Hig is the 4th largest glacier field in the world! Maybe he'll get a pic of it?!
There is an ongoinh controversy in this area regarding damming the rivers to generate electrical power. At the present time all the rivers in this part of Patagonia are free flowing and the surrounding countryside is pristine!Dam Protests in Patagonia Patagonia & Development Most Recent June 2011 Dam News Most Recent June 2011