Hiking Alone 101: Llao Llao Park


Llao Llao Park. A state, national or county park I do not know and I do not care for what it’s worth. I do know that it is fairly close to my studio and I wanted to go for a hike…alone! Oh what horrible things would await me in this forgotten land. Pumas? Anacondas? Rapists? Hepatitis? Sure that I was in for a wild afternoon I packed smart. A camera to document the rapings, a map to plan my escape, a water bottle to sustain me while running from baddies and sunglasses, because it was bright as s@#$.

Upon entering the park I was met with a different sort of threat. Children, families literally bursting into songs (and I mean literally), picnics and smiling park rangers. The park is a popular attraction for those who visit Bariloche, receiving daily bus charters and guided tours. It is about as intense as the ballpit at McDonalds, or perhaps less intense when you factor in the chance of catching gonorrhea.

There are several trails that wind through Llao Llao that lead to various lake beaches, lake viewpoints and interesting trees. So much of the park felt familiar. Various evergreen trees, glimpses of deep clear lakes and imposing mountains. But it is the little differences that distinguish this place from the Pacific Northwest, like bamboo.

Now you may find yourself in the ignorant camp of thinking that bamboo only exists in China with the pandas and at Ikea in the garden section, but there are several species of bamboo and they grow everywhere. I continually find bamboo in different countries and am always surprised to see it. “Bamboo?! What the hell are you doing here?” I say. The bamboo does not respond. Nonetheless, I enjoy it and am lucky because Llao Llao park is loaded with it. In fact, the majority of all the trails are made into a sort of tunnel by it. Dirt path for a floor and a collapsing canopy of bamboo overtop. It tends to provide a very Indiana Jones* experience, as you constantly push pieces of bamboo away from your face to reveal new places. (*The Indiana Jones reference is especially poignant because Indy enjoyed fighting Nazis and Bariloche was once known for harboring several high ranking Nazis after the war)

And so I walked, hola-ing to every one that passed. I found it especially fun to hola the people who are obviously from the U.S. They expect a familiar ‘Hello’ and chat about how crazy it is that two folks from a country of more 300 million people could possibly end up meeting here.

The hike itself was very pleasant. Perfect temperature, beautiful scenery (as indicated by the pictures) and a few interesting exhibits, including the Arrayan tree. The Arrayan, or Chilean Myrtle as it is also called and as I prefer to call it, only grows in this part of the world; between the southern parts of Chile and Argentina. It is a very old tree, ranging in color from grey to bright orange and it sheds it bark as it grows, blah blah blah blah. They’re rare and they look weird, that’s enough for most people. But, I took the appropriate pictures and peeled some of the bark off. Whatever I can do to help.

I enjoyed a quiet lunch of Lays potato chips and Orbit gum, (spearmint flavor) before turning back to the studio. On my way out of the park, I stopped to hide my bamboo walking stick which I had grown quite fond of and hope to use on future endeavors. While hiding it-which took nearly five minutes-I noticed a very interesting stump with knots and cracks that even the most unimaginative person would recognize as a sunrise or sunset image. I’m sure that it says something about you whether you see a sun rising or setting. Perhaps those who see it rising are infused with optimism and the promise of a new day. They see that this dead piece of tree will one day fertilize the soil and provide for new trees, fulfilling the circle of life. Alternatively, those who see the sun setting are basically cold hearted bastards.


~ by Hutch on January 12, 2011.

2 Responses to “Hiking Alone 101: Llao Llao Park”

  1. Nothing like a new country to give you a fresh perspective on the unsettling depths of your cynicism. Keep it up buddy no one does it like you.

  2. Glad to see that you’re getting out and about… after your cold and then your computer mishap. Hope all is well and that you have that darn thing back up and running soon!

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