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lake district
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Sunday, 17 December 2017

We temporarily leave the ruta 40 to drive to the "lake district", to the west, across Argentina and Chile, where we have to fill up our LPG tank needed for our stove.

4WD au lac 4WD au lac

We cross the first mountain range, before the Cordillera, which is only 1600m high. That doesn’t prevent the temperature from dropping. Once at the snow-covered pass, we see our first Araucarias, thousand-years-old coniferous trees, endemic to this region. After a short walk on the highs of the snow-caped Batea mahuida volcano and its frozen crater lake, we drive along Alumine lake and camp next to Moquehue lake. It’s very cold, and we have to cook all our vegetable if we don’t want to have them confiscated by the Chilean customs the next day. Cooking and cleaning the dishes with gloves is not really handy!

col enneige col enneige cratere gele cratere gele

araucaria 2 araucaria 2 araucaria 1 araucaria 1

Eventually, crossing of the border was easy, but as soon as we are across the Cordillera we find ourselves under a heavy rain! Climate seems really different on the western side of the Andes, and the green landscape reminds of Switzerland, indeed most of the houses and made of wood. We treat ourselves with a dinner in a french-Chilean restaurant and a breakfast of big pieces of cake, and we go back to Argentina on a ferry across the lake Pinhueico.

chili chili gateau gateau

chili 2 chili 2 ferry ferry

Second border crossing without any trouble, we are almost disappointed that they don’t check the car...

We arrive directly in the Lanin national park, and have the excellent idea to leave the main road and take a one way track to the shore of the lake Queni. The track is heavily damaged, there are many trees collapsed and low branches, thankfully we have our machete! We go through, but after 10 kilometers the trail becomes impassable even by foot (unless we wish to cross a cold river). We stop here and won’t reach the thermal baths 4 kilometers further...

lanin 1 lanin 1 lanin 2 lanin 2

We later drive back to the Ruta 40, which route has been modified to match the scenic “7 lakes road”. Indeed, for 200km, we drive along a series of lakes, between snow capped mountains and broom... It’s very pretty, we almost feel like using our kayak but the water is way to cold. We rather climb the mount Falkner, which overlooks the lake Villarino where we parked the car, but the last meters are made hard to pass by the thick layer of snow.

route 40 route 40 lac aux genets lac aux genets

gue gue lac queni lac queni

falkner falkner

The route of the 7 lakes ends in Bariloche, capital of trek, ski and Argentinian chocolate, where we’ll spend a few days.


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