Argentina & Chile,

7th March - 28th March 2010

[15 - Soto's farm

towards El Leon]

  A Gaucho (Huaso) on horseback.

At first light on day five of the Gaucho Trail, Lago Vidal Gormaz as viewed from Soto's farm is shrouded in mist.


Saying goodbye to Amelia, Soto's wife.


Harald greets Amelia and Soto, the latter in his 90's.



Dinner in the humble abode of Soto and Amelia, an existence without electricity but with the light of peace and happiness.


Thursday 25th March

We awoke with the valley and lake shrouded in mist and fog. The farm animals had played havoc with our food and gear since our arrival. The previous day, chickens had trooped over just as we moved away and jumped on the table where we had left some bread after lunch, pecking at every last crumb with ruthless efficiency. Dogs devoured Ralph's honey whilst running off with Sybille's knickers and Ralph's gaiters, whereupon canine-lover Xandra came up in defence of the beasts, suggesting it was the cows. Cows indeed! Cows would sooner fly to the moon! The owners' dogs, previously welcomed by the dog lovers in our group, were now being chased away after lurking just outside Ralph's tent entrance, still after his gaiters. With visions of not having anything to wear the next day if I left my clothing to dry on my bungee cord washing line, I got up to retrieve my stuff, less they be torn to shreds by morning. Clovers made a racket and the dogs barked all night chasing after them.


Setting out from the farm of Soto and Amelia, the landscape was still shrouded in early morning mist.



The route heading south from Soto's farm took us along the Rio Torrentoso, which we crossed by bridge just before it joins the Rio Manso.



Heading away from the Rio Torrentoso towards the Rio Manso, we encountered a Gaucho (Huaso) on horseback.



Stopping for lunch near the Rio Manso at a site which might have been our overnight stop had we not set up camp at Soto's the day before. By the way, that's another Gaucho on horseback!

Ralph Kelson, our Brazilian amigo, a man of the bush.


Lunch on day 5 near the Rio Manso, heading north east towards El Leon and the Argentine border.

Elena had arranged for us to pay $5000 (Chilean pesos) each for the dinner and some food for the day's walk - rolls, eggs and cheese. We set off around 10h00 and within 15 minutes, the mist began to lift. We descended down the valley into the forest with the Rio Torrentoso, which flowed out of Vidal Gormaz, to our left, later crossing it via a large blue bridge. Just as we emerged from the forest into a clearing, we encountered a Gaucho on horseback, though it was apparent the nervous animal was still being broken in. We found a clearing surrounded by mountains and forest, which might have become our overnight stop had we continued beyond the farm of Soto and Amelia. Here we stopped for lunch and enjoyed the food we had been given by Amelia that morning, washed down with some of Kelson's glorious coffee. Just as we left the clearing to pick up the trail again, more Gauchos on horseback appeared, including a woman. Sticking to instructions Kelson had received earlier, our trail had reverted to the northeast, such that we would be following the Rio Manso upstream and to our right.

Pedro, known in other circles as Patagonian Pete.

Ralph heads off for a crap...and returns via the same route; That's Pedro in the middle doing his best to impersonate a Gaucho.


Gauchos providing directions towards the Rio Manso.


Kelson finds another waterfall, the rest of us trudging through yet more mud, yes, glorious mud!




Heading northeast towards El Leon along the Rio Manso, we located a site near a farm where we set up for the night on day five.

The cool waters and rapids beckoned invitingly as they roared below. We found a spot a spot to stop for the night just before a farm (not far from the GPS location we had set up). It lay about halfway up the Rio Manso from the spot where we had lunched earlier and  El León, our final destination on this leg of the hike. With ample space to pitch our tents and water just off the path, we settled in and prepared dinner, diving into our rations once more. We would lose the sun before long as it slid behind the towering peaks to the west. The roar of the Rio Manso persisted regardless. We found a path to a stream just below the campsite, where we rinsed our clothing and bathed. Wood was collected for a fire which we made in the midst of the clearing. Whilst the group played cards and chatted, I crawled into my tent, yet slept restlessly.

Kelson finds his spot (and ours) in the sun.


Din-dins on day five as the sun disappears behind the hills to the west - making a fire.


Enjoying that pasta - Harald; Andre is of the opinion that that pasta can be rescued after all; Sibylle in reflective mood, wondering if she should have had more pasta.


Xandra enjoying her pasta whilst wondering if the dogs have been fed; Hoodies unite! Sibylle and Clare.


A loving couple - Harald and Sibylle.


Patagonia, Argentina & Chile

[Intro-Pre Trip] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [GPS Tracks]

Other Tour Group photos (Picasa):  [1 - Kelson & Elena]  [2 - Ralph]  [3 - Harald]

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