Conservación Patagónica:living amongst guanacos
Friday I arrived at Conservación Patagónica after nearly a week on the Careterra Austral. The ride down has been tough, and at times it did indeed test me, but it was a brilliant journey and one I am glad to have experienced. The first half passed through the wettest, densest forest I have seen. The second half carved its way through deep canyons filled with raging rivers of turquoise blue water, flanked by castle-like peaks and hanging glaciers.
Different from this common image of Patagonia, the future home of Patagonia National Park is not in an area of massive, Fitz Roy-like mountains. Those are visible in the distance, but the immediate area is dry steppe. The Chacabuco River runs through the bottom of a valley with the same name and guanacos are everywhere! I have never seen so much wildlife!
As a go about speaking with volunteers and staff, I am filling in the gaps in my understanding about Conservación and the Tompkins’ work. This is just one of many projects and they are the donors of the land, the Chacabuco Valley Estancia. Beyond that, they do not live here and are often traveling between this and other conservation projects in Argentina an Chile. Their work is impressive and they do far more than just this project. Reading a book yesterday, I came across nearly ten conservation Orgs that they have started, donated the land to or directly run in Chile and Argentina. They are running a global conservation project between the US, Argentina and Chile. It´s quite impressive work.
My time here will be as much about manual labor as it is understanding the depth of the Topkins´ work in these two countries. Today I go somewhere–I haven’t been told yet, nor what I’ll be doing– for the next five days. My rest days and ability to connect and post will be Fridays and Saturdays. I look forward to exercise and getting to know various parts of the park, as well as my fellow volunteers.
NOTE: Travel has made uploading my photos quite difficult and next to impossible. Most on this site are iPhone uploads. The ones that are taken with the SLR are untouched JPEG snapshots.