Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay (Episode 3)

Here is Sue's version of today's events:

Saturday 12 December

We had a long and comfortable night in the tent, despite having to blow up the Neoair several times. A mouse (Martin) was eating chocolate at midnight!

Soon after 8am, a brew went on and we breakfasted on muesli and tea in the tent, having another brew to use up the last of the gas whilst we were packing up the tent. There was some high cloud today.

We left the campsite around 9.30am, and on the walk back down, met lots of people coming up; all Chilean, and including four horses, two with riders each leading one loaded with gear.

It was a peaceful walk out, seeing a female Magellan woodpecker, and a new variety of lady's slipper, tiny and pink. It was interesting for us to see how people carried their gear in; some carried their tent in their hands, others had rucksacks front and back, and one group even had an upright shopping trolley on wheels!

Martin recounted his vivid dream from last night, which entailed cycling to Mike and Marion's house in Patterdale, only to find them fully occupied by two rows of guests at a house party. Al Hinkes was the waiter. Martin was totally ignored and had his bike and all his gear stolen. Then, the car that he was using to get to the police station in Kendal ran out of petrol! That bit was quite close to home, as we have a nearly empty fuel tank in Sparky, and the return trip will be touch and go!

On reaching the park office, we deposited the form to let the authorities know we had returned, and had a conversation with a young ranger. He explained that although last winter there had been very little snow in Vilches Alta (around 1200m), during some winters there is 2 metres. He also told us that very few English come to the park, but more Germans, as the first stop on their trips, having stayed at Casa Chueca.

During the final 2km to where our car was waiting, we saw a large hairy spider crossing the track, this time with a round reddish body; he wasn't keen on having a boot placed near him to gauge his size, rearing up in defence! Just beyond, a small snake (perhaps a foot long and half a centimetre wide) slithered quickly in the other direction. Both were keen not to stay on the track for too long!

Back at the car, we detected an earth tremor as we sat in the front seats with the doors open. Then, lunch of tinned herrings in curry sauce, peanuts and chocolate before we set off back to Talca.

Due to the need to conserve fuel, we free-wheeled all the way down the dirt road and further whenever possible, only engaging the gears for less than 10km out of the 50km journey! Just before San Clemente, where we hoped to get fuel, we were stopped by the carabineros! All documentation was fine and we were on our way within 5 minutes. 

Thankfully, Sparky made it to the petrol station and it was with relief that we drove the remaining distance back to Casa Chueca for around 2pm.

We were soon back in our room, Rapa Nui, organising a bag of washing, followed by a relaxing afternoon in the warm sunshine. I used the pool and we chatted to Amanda, an Australian travelling for 4 months, and enjoyed a mug of tea. The lizards are zipping about on the terrace and the birds are tweeting in the surrounding foliage.

The grounds here were worth exploring. The land slopes down to the Lircay river and a winding path leads from the pool beneath fruit trees, to one enclosure containing a pair of pheasants, and another containing geese, rabbits, chickens and ducks, a tree house, and a suspension bridge built across to an island. There is also a miniature go-karting circuit of about 300 metres, complete with traffic lights, above which a platform gives a view to the snow-covered Andes above the trees.

Cold beers on the terrace preceded dinner outside, of soup, stuffed tomatoes, mashed potato and pumpkin sauce, with salad. There is a more international clientele here tonight, with two French, Bernard and Heidi from Germany, some Chileans, Amanda the Australian, and an English couple from near Staveley in the Lake District. They told us about the state of the Lakes following the recent flooding, and although their house is fine, it sounds like a nightmare, with Keswick and Kendal severely damaged, along with roads through the Lakes.

We headed for bed when it became a little too cool to continue sitting outside, after 9pm.

Today's pictures:
Chaos at Camp
The Magellan Woodpecker 
A Mirador View
Back at Casa Chueca 

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