Day 3: Avilés Valley

For our first full day at Explora, we decided to go on a recommended hike to the Avilés Valley. Before heading out, we started with our traditional breakfast of cappuccinos and omelettes. When we met our guide, Mica, she asked us two questions. One, are you afraid of heights, and two, do you have sandals for a river crossing? We knew we were in for a fun day.

The first Explora Cappucino always hits

Breakfast sunrise

The start of the hike was about a 45 minute drive away. The manager of the guides, Geraldo drove us. We felt pretty important until we learned that at this location, the guides are also drivers. Mica told us she will receive her physical drivers license on Tuesday, so until then Geraldo has got us!

The first two kilometers were flat as we made our way into the valley. We had a view of Painting Mountain and the Avilés River as we ascended up the sides of the valley. The weather was forecasted to be cloudy all day, but they were wrong. It was warm and sunny the entire day… and eventually crystal blue skies.

Avilés Valley greeting staff

Guide Mica leads the way

Looking back toward our starting point in Chacabuco Valley

The first portion of the hike had long stretches of uphill. We eventually made it to the highest point of the day, which not surprisingly came with great views.

Looking ahead further up the Avilés Valley

Hello Oscar!!!!!

Patagonian hiking brochure

Painting Mountain above our two forthcoming river crossings

At the halfway mark, we walked on a suspension bridge to cross the river and head to the other side for the hike back. We found a shady spot for a soup break before continuing towards another river crossing, this time on foot. Because the past week had been rainy, the river was a bit deeper and faster than usual. Mica led the way and we all crossed successfully.

Indiana Jones suspension bridge

Contemplating successful bridge crossing in greatest hiking gear ever

Preparing to ford the river

Contemplating why I didn’t bring sandals and when feeling would return to my feet

We headed back to the Chacabuco Valley and started the decent to the valley floor. There was another suspension bridge to cross the Avilés River one more time. We made it back to the car for our celebratory Fantas and beer. In total, the hike was 10.3 miles with 1,900 feet of elevation gain.

Nearly back to the Chacabuco Valley

When we returned to Explora, Mica helped us pick our explorations for tomorrow. With the help of a satellite phone on the hike, Mica also secured us a hot tub to relax and recover. We even had time to stop in the gift shop and found a Patagonia sweater with the Explora logo (it’s an Explora Miracle!) in Jo’s size. A good end to a great day.

Planning for tomorrow (and beyond)

A bit of sun didn’t ruin hot-tubbing

1 Comments on “Day 3: Avilés Valley”

  1. Beautiful scenery. So fun that you take us alongl Glad to see there are side ‘rails'(ropes) on those suspension bridges! Noticed that in some of the valleys, it looks like rivers of water have washed through – is this a fairly normal water year for the area? In some of the photos there seems to be a fair amount of ‘green’. What in the world is in Matthew’s paint can bucket? And somehow I’ve never pictured Matthew in flip flops! So glad Joanna found the sweater of her dreams, but sorry about the sunburn. ouch! (Is the building behind the hot tub where you are lodging?)

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