If I was to craft my trip, I would have added a period where I could experience farmers life first hand. I didn’t go around actively looking for it though. Most of the websites that offer volunteer opportunities in farms are paid so I let it go.
As luck would have it, I ended up meeting a farmer while hitchhiking and they invited me to their farm allowing me to experience farmers life. The entire experience well exceeded my expectations and the fact that it’s not garnering any attention makes it even prettier. I have often romanticized cherry picking, living with farmers, eating from the farm, having loads of animals around, essentially living farmers life. Mallin was all of this and more.
How did I end up here:
I was hitchhiking from San Carlos de Bariloche to El Bolson and this lady offered me the last ride to my destination. Towards the end, she offered to host me and unfortunately it was the only time I had my hostel reserved. I took all the details anyway just in case I plan to visit her later.
I called her the next day and luckily she was around so she came to pick me up. By the way, I could have never located the place with the map that I was given (She had drawn a map for me on a little piece of paper).
The place has no signs, no billboards, no concrete roads either. It’s a farmers neighborhood. I was shown around their farm and was very impressed. It was the exact kind of place I like living in. We went cherry picking where I also got to see their horse and herd of sheep. Seriously, who owns a horse? I was flabbergasted more than once.
Other than staring at the starry endless sky, cherry picking, helping farmers with their farm in various capacity, and wandering about the dusty roads with no names, there’s this brilliant hike that one can do. It’s a multi-day hike but I went there only for a day as I had no tent and I really didn’t expect it to be so beautiful.
This place is about 10 km from El Bolson. There are buses but very far in between. You can take a cab or hitchhike to this place. But as mentioned in my last post, I wouldn’t recommend it unless one is volunteering with farmers or knows someone there. Staying in a hotel would be a completely different experience.
Hike Details – Cajon del Azul:
Entrance fee: Free
It starts at Wharton.
It’s part of Sendero Huella Andean which is a 577 km hike along Patagonia area. There are multiple refugios inside the park and from the occupancy, it didn’t look like they have to be pre-booked like Torres del Paine.
It was really beautiful and I definitely recommend it. While returning I met two forest rangers and they told me if you want to do the entire circuit it would take around 8 days.
My host family told me people generally go for about 3 days.
P.S: I returned with the Rangers to my starting point and it reduced my time by at least an hour not because it was downhill but also because they took all the possible shortcuts through the woods. it was the most fun descent I did in all of Patagonia. Keeping up with them was slightly difficult initially but the adrenaline rush kept me going.