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near Cochamó, Los Lagos (Chile)
This is one of the best walks that one can imagine.
In the hostels of Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas you hear some rumour and some tale about Cochamó, but it is considered as a far and difficult place, where only few dare to venture.
The trail to La Junta is actually a bit harsh, in that for most of it you walk on wet terrain, or actually in the middle of mud and even water. But you are rewarded at the final arrival at La Junta, in the midst of a first-class granite scenery, for which the place is also dubbed as the "Andine Yosemite". You should not be satisfied with La Junta, however: namely, it is only the "base camp" for very rewarding walks to Cerro Arco Iris (the one that I did, and which will be the subject of a neighbouring track of mine) or, on the other side of the valley, to the Cerros Gorilla and Trinidad, the most beloved by climbers.
I was there in late May, that is, in advanced autumn. The refuge at La Junta was closed and the only people whom I met were the family living at the cottage where you register, and some shepherds with horses and sheep.
You may also wish to read the information provided at
Reading the description and turning on the labels in
a 360° showing the valley from above, you get a thorough acquaintance with the region.
PHOTOS AND DOCUMENTATION: WORK IN PROGRESS
Leave the main road and take the traack to the valley.
Both are unpaved.
Followed by a little lake.
First crossing of a little river.
Hikers are reported to get sometimes lost here, by turning left into a side valley.
Due to water erosion, here the path at times seems to have been manually carved.
It would be forbidden to camp at other places than La Junta, but I arrived here with darkness, and I stopped accordingly since it was difficult to push on with the sole aid of the headlamp.
Perhaps the best moment of the trail.
This is the location of the 360° panorama that I took.
A truly spectacular spot, which alone would be worth the walk.
Recommended restaurant, with some rooms. Here I met the poet Flóridor Pérez, who was born in Cochamó, and had been invited by the alcalde for a visit to the local school. He had been long in prison under Pinochet, and his Cartas de Prisonero (Letters of a prisoner) had been a best-seller during the previous months in Chile.