A bit of a waterfall theme
A Road Journey through Central Chile
The Seven Cups National Park
After Molina the road was slow. At first because of the many speed limits and then when it turned into a dirt track. It was hot, late, we had been driving for hours and we had no idea whether we would find somewhere to pitch out tents.
After many miles of gruelling driving through dust clouds and forestry plantations, we crossed a bridge and came to the first campsite. The ground was bare but the shade cast by the Eucalyptus trees and the cold showers were welcome.
When we packed the tent the following morning we found an unwelcome guest. A tarantula had made its home between our tent and the groundsheet. (Julie found her own pet tarantula a few days later)
We continued along the track into the national park and came to the first and largest waterfall (40m) known as the Fiancée’s Veil. The best feature, however, was the Seven Cups on the River Claro.
Seven Cups diagramme
The region was settled in the nineteenth century by colonists who felled the forest and cultivated the land. Since the area was declared a national park in the 1980s, the land is gradually being restored to native vegetation. Many of the tree species were new to Franco and me and the small arboretum was helpful in identifying them.
Cypres de Guaitecas
Angie, Franco and I descended the numerous steps for a better view of the cascades and somehow managed to lose Julie in the process. Luckily we found her again by the park entrance. After lunch we continued on up the valley to an area known as Parque Ingles (English Park). Angie was keen to stretch her legs and the park warden recommended a walk to the river.
???? - Nigel, any idea?
On the way we were very lucky to see a couple of Magellanic woodpeckers, hard at work drilling a large southern beech. The last time Franco and I saw these was on a rainy day in Puerto Williams, nearly a year ago. Despite my best efforts, the photo just doesn’t do them justice.
Magellanic woodpecker (male)
View up the valley
The river cascaded through pretty rock pools, just perfect for a swim on a hot day. Angie disappeared upstream, having scaled a small waterfall and Julie sat on the beach fully clothed.
It was time to head south once again. My genius idea to break up the trip was a stop at the Salto de Laja, as if we hadn’t already seen enough waterfalls for a lifetime.
Salto de Laja
The largest waterfall in Chile, just a couple of kilometres from the main road. Guess what ... one hundred and fifty thousand other people had also decided, that same day, to stop there for lunch. As we drove past looking for a parking space, we realised with horror that most of the locals make a living selling tourist tat at the entrance and that parking has become big business for touts.
… and all the people