Day 8: Lago Gutierrez

Today is our last full day at Explora. Because the weather forecasted rain in the morning, and clearing up in the afternoon, we requested a bit of a late start. We left at 9:30AM with two other people in our group, and of course, Mica who was now our driver as well!

Look who got her driver’s license!

Rainy pre-hike calisthenics

The parking lot for the trail was the same as Los Avilés – the hike we did on the first day. Heading in a different direction, this hike does not go through the valley, but rather southeast along some ranches and then south up to Lake Gutierrez. It was indeed raining and a bit chilly, so we geared up and set out.

Aside the Chacabuco Valley

Snowing at elevation

Heading up to Lago Gutierrez

As we hiked along, there were periods when the rain stoped and the sun came out. The light hitting the mountains in the distance made for a great view.

Rain gear vs Patagonia palette

This Puma is clearly looking for an exhibits curator job with the Natural History Museum

Clouds breaking over the valley

Lake Gutierrez is the largest lake in the Cocabucha Valley. The windy day created some decent waves.

Loudest lake in the Chacabuco Valley?

Hiking to Lago Gutierrez lookout

Snow incoming

We hiked up along the lake until we found an overlook. We stopped for our tea and muffin break while enjoying the view. It also started snowing! It wasn’t sticking at our level, but we saw the mountain tops start to get covered. Since it was cold and windy, we didn’t stop long and started back down the same path. We warmed up as we were moving and getting down the mountain.

Tea time location fit for a condor

Last day… Good bye Mica! 🙁

Heading down from Lago Gutierrez lookout

One more photo in the wild

Once we made it back to the car, we had our celebratory Fanta and headed back. Last night, we only signed up for one half-day exploration so we had time at the hotel before leaving tomorrow. After eating lunch, we visited the museum on the property. It explained the history and development of the area as well as sections on things like geology, flora and fauna, and climate change.

Clear view of Cerro Tamango back at Explora

Wait, is this Westworld?!?

I guess this is the best we’re gonna do in the Puma department

One thing we knew we had to do was go to the hot tub and relax after a week of hiking. As we left, someone told us that a puma had just walked past the restaurant. Unfortunately, we missed it by about 15 minutes. We continued with getting ready for the night and to leave. As we were making our final gift shop purchases, we heard rumors of a puma walking near Case Viscacha. We quickly checked out and looked around and spotted it! It was a little far from us, but we were able to see it clearly before it went into the woods.


Mica said this is either an adult or a juvenile in “bad shape”… Puma burn!!!!

Having completed our checklist for the trip, we went to the bar to have a drink and relax before dinner. Tomorrow we leave early to get to the airport and start the journey back to Chicago.

2 Comments on “Day 8: Lago Gutierrez”

  1. Yay! Got to see a puma! (I’m not an expert, but doesn’t it look a little heavy? – lol! ). Hope you have safe travels home – looking forward to hearing all about your time there.

  2. What an amazing week you’ve had! Your photos are superb and I love to see the long and winding roads (please don’t start singing that song!!!), and the suspension bridge was something else. Hope you’ve recovered from all those miles of hiking. Didn’t hear you mention blisters, so I guess you’re both ok. I’ll bet you’re already planning your next trip too!

    We had a great fortnight in Courchevel Le Praz, having sun, wind, snow , rain and low cloud with bad visibility, so every type of weather really. Dave Beattie sends his regards to you both.

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