We never planned this to be a climbing trip, or a trekking trip, or a surfing trip, it was always meant to be an overlanding adventure. That being said, we’ve been very lucky to enjoy an abundance of great trekking, surfing, and climbing over the past year. One of the many amazing places we stumbled across where we could enjoy one of our hobbies was Piedra Parada, a climbing area in the dry steppe east of the green lushness of the Lakes District. We spent four warm sunny days working our muscles and tearing our fingers up on the big walls of the incredible Buitrera Canyon. The routes were well-bolted and fun, the walls were enormous, the canyon was breathtaking, the air was warm, and the beer waiting in the fridge for us was cold. Once again we were very glad that we hauled that heavy climbing gear with us all this way.
We finally made it to the much-anticipated Lakes District in northern Patagonia. We had read accounts of other overlanders traveling through the area and knew that it would amaze, but nothing could have prepared us for the beauty. With its stunning azure lakes, crystal clear rivers, and temperate forests filled with the strange Monkey Puzzle Trees, the Lakes District far exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed a leisurely travel pace, spending our days fly fishing, hiking, and relaxing as we passed from one incredible lakeside or riverside campsite to the next.
After a slow week in the Atacama Desert we drove over one last pass and finally descended from the altiplano into the verdant hills and valleys of northern Argentina. In Salta Tim braved a dentist, we got our first taste of the Argentinian lifestyle, and thoroughly enjoyed the company and fantastic cooking of some great overlanders. As we headed south we passed through incredible landscapes of painted hills and green river valleys before arriving in the charming town of Cafayate, where we spent Christmas drinking good cheap wine and practicing our grilling skills. Before heading back over the mountains to Chile we spent a few days in Mendoza, where we went wine tasting like good tourists, and then got hit with one of the worst hailstorms we’ve ever seen.