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El Bolson 4 Day Trek ” Around Cerro Hielo Azul “ March 26, 2007

Posted by Jason in Argentina, Patagonia, South America, trekking.
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After relaxing and enjoying all that El Bolson had to offer we decided to get our packs back on and see the mountains around el Bolson.  The trek would be over 4 days from Refugio to refugio in the region of Comarca Andina.

We began by getting a taxi at about 12.30pm to Camping Dona Rosa where we began what was supposed to be a 7 hour walk!  We now wish we had started a little earlier!

Jason crossing the “perfectly safe” bridge

The beginning of the walk starts at a rickety old suspension bridge with wooden slats near camping Hue Nain.  It has several of these missing and others rotten and cracked which made things rather interesting!!  The lonely planet trekking guide description being “this is a perfectly safe bridge”!!  Obviously it has deteriorated much since this was written, or their definition of “perfectly safe” is somewhat different to ours!  

After this crossing we headed up hill through beautiful forest with view points across the El Bolson Valley and over to the mountain Cerro Piltriquitron that over looks El Bolson.                        .

We made the refugio by about 7pm.  Refugio Hielo Azul (meaning blue ice) is nestled below the mountain Cerro Hiel Azul in some trees below the cirque.  A beautiful spot, and the refugio is amazing.  Hand built by the family who run the refugio, made of wood from the surrounding forest.  We had dinner at the refugio and tried their homemade beer!!  Where else would we want to be!

On Day 2 we did a day walk up to the top of Cerro Barda Negra which over looks Cerro Hielo Azul.  This was a good 7 hour walk and scramble up polished rock and beside a stream before making our way over snow fields to the summit.  The view was amazing in all directions.  We could see Hielo Azul and its Glacier pouring into the valley below and the snow capped mountains stretching into the distance beyond the Chilean border.

Chez had much fun sliding down the snow and throwing snow balls on the way down! I think i fell into her ambush as she had the snow balls all lined up to be thrown at me!

We were glad of the home made cervesa when we returned to the refugio!

Next morning we headed off to the next refugio, Cajon Del Azul, a traverse through forest and past pretty lagunas and a steep descent into the next valley.

The Refugio was no less picturesque than the last and  also brewed their own beer, fantastic!  It seems anyone who is anyone around El Bolson brews their own beer, can´t be bad! The refugio is like an oasis of green fields within the forest right on the edge of a high spectacular gorge.

We had a fantastic meal here  and camped beside the refugio.

The following day we made our way down the valley back to El Bolson.

A truly beautiful area of the country, friendly people and great beer!  A different type of trek than many we have done with the paths less harsh and a forested landscape.

This was to be our last trek for a while, while we chill out and recover before hitting the trail again in Peru.  Foolishly, Cheryl has agreed to be my “Guide” on the Nahuel Huapi Traverse that she completed last year and so we are off to Bariloche to do another 4 day trek!  Hurrah!     

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