The Sierra Baguales, Patagonia

The long and winding road to Las Cumbres, Sierra Baguales, Patagonia, Chile.

The long and winding road to Las Cumbres, with the Sierra Baguales in the distance, Patagonia, Chile.

In March 2015 we made a second visit to Chilean Patagonia.  For two weeks we toured the region from the coast at Puerto Natales to the Argentinian border.  Our daughter Victoria had organised accommodation at some of the more remote estancias, and we were privileged to visit some areas that are rarely seen.  The Sierra Baguales falls into that category; approached along a broad valley formed from the Rio Baguales, this is a spectacular area that extends to the Argentinian border.  “Baguales” refers to wild horses, escaped from estancias at some point in the past and become feral. They still exist but are rare nowadays; the only horses likely to be seen belong to the occasional gaucho that passes through the area. 

Baguales River, Sierra Baguales, Patagonia, Chile

Baguales River, Las Cumbres, Patagonia, Chile

The geology of the region is interesting and includes veins of fossil shells and leaves.  Relicts of past occupation are sometimes found in the form of bolas, or boleadores, round stones with a groove running around them, three of which were tied together with rope or rawhide and thrown at the legs of prey such as guanacos or rheas, to bring them down.  

Shearing shed, Estancia Rio de los Chinas, Patagonia, Chile, with a backdrop of freshly-fallen snow, the first of the year.

Shearing shed, Estancia Rio de los Chinas, Patagonia, Chile, with a backdrop of freshly-fallen snow, the first of the year.

Mainly, though, we were over-awed by the grandeur of the landscape, with golden grass, craggy cliffs and a wide, fast-flowing river cascading over rocks.  Everywhere we looked there were rocks encrusted with outrageously-coloured lichens.

Colony of lichens on granite rock, including Xanthoria elegans (orange), X. candelaria (yellow), rock posy, Rhizoplace sp (grey) and several others.

Colony of lichens on granite rock, including Xanthoria elegans (orange), X. candelaria (yellow), rock posy, Rhizoplace sp (grey) and several others.  Las Cumbres, Sierra Baguales, Patagonia

There are more images from this region, and from other parts of Patagonia in the latest gallery “Patagonia 2015”

 

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