I’m on the edge of beyond in Northern Patagonia, where the wind howls down the plunging valleys and ricochets between the imposing mountains, forests, rivers, and endless, barren steppes. Traveling through Patagonia is no small undertaking. Today I flew two hours south from Patagonia to an area renowned for its fly-fishing and remoteness. I have trouble pronouncing the main town’s name, Coyhaique.
A half-hour out of the tiny airport we spotted condors circling overhead. They are impressive birds of prey with 12- foot-wingspans. As I snapped a photo four of the elusive, wild Chilean Huemules crept out of the forest followed by four Elk-like animals. The paved road ended after an hour and we continued on a dirt road for another four hours, through sun, rain, snow and wind tunnels. No cities, no telephone lines, banks, cell-phone reception or billboards.
I’m not roughing it though. After a soothing soak in the Jacuzzi with a backdrop of the lake, ice fields and glaciers, I sipped Chilean Pinot Noir, dined on fresh water salmon and stoked the embers in the fireplace in my room at Tres Lagos (www.haciendatreslagos.com), a luxury lodge on the edge of nowhere. Tres Lagos means three lakes and it’s right in the middle of turquoise, black and dark blue lakes.
Think the area is unknown? Michael Douglas comes to fly-fish and get away from it all, Kevin Costner has a home here and Julia Roberts dropped in to drop out. I’ve been zip-lining through the forest canopy between 9 platforms, with glimpses of the lake, glaciers and the lodge below. One morning I went bushwhacking in a dense forest with the mountain guide and we collected morels.
The scenery is spectacular.
Every day has been, as they say here, a three or four-season day, warm sun, wind, rain and occasional snow. Patagonia is dramatic!