Monday, March 11, 2013

7 lakes

Today's agenda is to drive north through the Ruta de los Siete Lagos, 7 lakes route, which will go past San Martin and to reach Junin de Los Andes by dark.  This is part of the Circuitos Grande.  As we head out of town on Rte 237 we pass the Rio Correntoso, the world's shortest river at 984 feet, flowing from Lake Correntoso to Nahuei Huapi.  Further north, we see lake after lake, surrounded by heavy forested mountainsides.  The pristine surroundings are void of power lines, boats, signs and houses.  The paved road quickly ends as we see workers building guardrails and stone walls.  In a few years, the road to San Martin will be a regular highway;  for now, we bump along through the dust for about 30 km feeling adventurous.  We stop to check out rivers and streams, and run into the couple from San Leandro by the side of a trail.  By late afternoon we reach San Martin, a resort and ski town as lovely as the guidebooks say, built around a central square. The buildings are modern and cohesive, giving it the look of a well planned resort town.  The streets are quiet until 5 when the stores reopen, and suddenly throngs of cars and people appear!  We have our daily helado, Ray gets his fishing license while I check to make sure the fishing guide, Dario, he has booked is legit, and we head back out to complete our journey.

The terrain changes from thick forests to desert scrub brush then to grasslands with fields of cattle--grass fed beef perhaps?.  The town of Junin de Los Andes is small and primarily residential, workers' shacks then newer apartments and small houses.  The paved road ends and we turn onto a dirt road for about 10 km, and reach a wooden gate of Spring Creek Lodge.  It is an oasis among the dry landscape, set along the Chimiquien River.  The bright blue cottages sit on green grass and framed by mountains on both sides, with Lanin volcano at the end.  The hosts are attentive and dinner is superb- pumpkin muffins stuffed with eggplant purée and followed by huge steaks.  We are surprised to meet a couple from Palo Alto, both educators, and also supporters of POST no less!  We share travel adventures and give them the name of the bistro in Buenos Aires.  Either it is a small world, or the Bay Area is filled with adventurous travelers, for we never fail to meet others from Silicon Valley when in faraway places.


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