Basically any trip that takes me out of my safe zone is an opportunity, a few years ago, it had to be directly linked to any of my sports, just like snowboarding or wake boarding, but lately I was expanding my horizons, running, climbing, cycling, playing airsfot, camping, off roading, horseback riding, etc. or a combination of all the above are reason enough to say, “lets go!” specially if it is outdoors and away from the city.
Our destination was “La Josefina” a giant ranch, a paradise of mountains, meadows, lakes, rivers, bays and forests in Santa Cruz almost on the border with Chile.
When you are surrounded by mountains with snow you feel inside an epic dimension, feeling so tiny in the midst of that immensity.
Getting to La Josefina, you first must fly to Calafate. This city wears a decade of bad name, we all know that the shenanigans of the presidential family began there, I always had a phobia of that area and basically never found any reason to go, but that changed everything . Out of the airport, just when you get to the parking lot the view is amazing, being so far south dawn was at 9:30 AM, so by the time we left the airport, the sky had magical colors and mountains on the horizon looked very nice, and then was when I realize that… “I’ll have to take the camera often”
In Calafate we went by the horrific hotels Cristina built with our money, the city wasn/t very different from the rest of Patagonia I already knew, the center piled with buildings and the “suburbs” surrounded with small cabins pretty disordered, almost like in Bariloche or any other town.
We spent some hours in the town doing errands… We had to order everything methodically, grocery shopping, fuel, materials for the work (Philip’s father went to this trip in order to advance the new cabin being built), our bags, etc etc, was something surgical, taking into account that everything that comes to La Josefina reached by boat, all you had to do to make each garment van , everything was studied, but it was a lot of preparation for everything, I went to this trip more like a tourist so I got some freedom and could go taking pictures while everyone worked, but when they asked me to do something, help, of course!
The trip on the route had a arid landscape, traveling north we reached a village called three lakes, then load some gas and ripped the gravel, the sky was always quite cloudy and it seemed like sunset all the time, the provincial “route” was always up and down the shut seemed we were on the way to nothingness, as the road disappeared after a mountain plain, film appeared. It was getting dark, hence the provincial route goes through different ranches and you have to get off to open the gate to move forward.
Finally we arrived at a friend’s place stay, I do not remember the name now, and it’s where they usually stop to sleep to continue the next day, gauchos where very nice and they had cooked a lamb, so we ate. One of the gauchos had something in his teeth, 3 of the 5 people we were in the group were dentists and they all drew their artifacts dentists surgery, that mouth was a mess, I regret not having taking some photos of that haha.
The night was in a room where we were 5 in our sleeping bags in bunk beds, rarely heard people snoring so loud. The next day we were near where our boat was, so we continue traveling the same route with some epic landscapes and crossing some small rivers.
Arriving at the boat we loaded our things that we had and we engaged in one of the trucks and we went down the lake, all this was a lot of work! But I’m making the story shot, so well is not eternal. The water was turquoise lagoon is obviously defrosting and was quite choppy, every so often a wave passed over us and we were quite wet. It was cold, but we were warm and high rubber boots to get on and off the boat when we approached the coast.
Josephine was different from the other ranchs that had passed, it was less arid with most forest, with higher mountains and more snow, we were a little further north and more glued to Chile, so I had a certain logic to it. Upon arrival was Hugo waiting, a Chilean gaucho 65 years old, tanned, full of stories and very curious about life in modern cities, people that live insolated from civilization they are usually not friendly with city people, he was friendly and funny enough to chat.
Josephine was not nearly as rustic as I had painted, the new cabin that was building looked very good and the old cabin had hot water and beds up to 6 people, but also had its good rustic style.
The days passed and there were any number of activities, every time Phillip is here, he walks or rides any area that he’d never been before, this time there were no horses available so all the hiking and hunting that we did was on foot, very good training, one gains much air getting used to walk around. One day Philip’s dad left us, it was our idea, on a bay that was in front, the day when we left was already ugly and walked all day until 6 pm, much enough rain wind, we did a couple of fires for cooking and keeping warm, amazing views, was a good way to spend energy these walks.
Another day we caught a calf, there animals are loose in the wild, if you want meat you have to hunt. That calf fed us all week, there was good culinary art in that family, Phillip’s dad spent hours making roasts, stews or BBQ, waiting for dinner was crazy good haha.
The day before leaving we hiked up into the mountains that were outside the house, we got all the way up to where the snow started. Philip could not think of better idea to go down the river bed coming down in the groove where the two mountains joined, all of stone, stepped cliffs , cold water and ice quite at first looked like fun, but slowly the cliffs were more pronounced and gradually it began to see more and more pronounced and at times it seemed that we had no place where to get off, especially knowing that we could have gone down where we went. Every so it was fun, I’ll admit, the stones down and collapse, but at times I started to bargain with God, I told Felipe “If we hit our heads here, no one is going to come up looking for us …” In so we went down to the cabin and were expecting roast rib, way of eating on this trip.
PS: Going back home.
Special thanks to @scandinavianarg