Junin de los Andes – Lanin National Park

I arrive in Junin de los Andes in the afternoon and circle the central plaza, find a parking space in front of a popular looking sidewalk café, sit down to a beer.  My table looks out at the peaceful plaza which is heavily treed with paved paths crisscrossing it.

While enjoying a beer rrom my table looking at the Plaza in Junin de los Andes.
Enjoying a beer at my table looking out at the Plaza in Junin de los Andes.  I see old Ford Falcons every day.

I research local camping and decide on the municipal campground, only a few blocks away, located on an island in the Chimehuin River.  I finish my beer and make a loop around the plaza checking out downtown and then head to the campground.

Not a very good photo but wanted to show the campground is right on the river. I could have cast a line from my campsite.
Not a very good photo but wanted to show the campground is right on the river. I could have cast a line from my campsite.

There turn out to  be two campgrounds on the island, one private and one municipal.  I settle in at the municipal campground right on the river.  There are several serious looking fly fishermen in waders and a group pulling a drift boat from the water.

The fishing looked pretty good, rainbow and brown trout.
The fishing looked pretty good, I am told rainbow and brown trout are plentiful.

I notice that it is pretty dusty, and a fine coat begins to settle on everything.  I am told by one of the other campers that this is volcanic ash from one of the volcanoes, probably Villarica, that erupted in February and March of 2015, just across the border in Chile.  I remember experiencing this kind of ash after Mt. Saint Helens in Washington erupted back in the 80s.

I make the 10 minute walk off the island and back downtown to look for dinner.  I am amazed at all of the strange birds I see along the way.  Someone tells me that one kind of bird I am watching is a Bandurria, or black faced Ibis.

Locals call it a Bandurria, I think it is an Ibis in English.
Locals call it a Bandurria, I think it is an Ibis in English.

I also see large groups of what look like parrots to me, sitting on wires and posts and living in holes in the sides of buildings but wasn’t able to take a clear photo.

I couldn't get a shot of the parrot like love birds but this guy held still for me. So many strange birds.
I couldn’t get a shot of the parrot like love birds but this guy held still for me. I see so many strange birds that I have not seen before.

The town is really pretty.  Street signs have salmon or trout on them and there are flowers blooming everywhere.

The town is very pretty, even the street signs are nice.
The town is very pretty, even the street signs are nice.

It really has the feel of a tourist resort centering on fishing.  There are many outdoor outfitters and prices seem to be slightly higher here.  Some nice looking restaurants, the most popular are the many offering eat-in or take-out barbecue with whole animals staked over fire pits and fresh river salmon.

The city hall and nice gardens gardens really made this town nice.
The city hall and many nice gardens gardens really made this town pleasant.

I wander into a produce market and my decision is made.  I walk out with vegetables for a stew and a salad and a bag of apples.  I could really eat well and economically here.  I will have to do the preparation myself but it will be worth it.

My kind of store, produce and wine!
My kind of store, produce and wine!

Back at the campground, while I make my salad it seems every campsite is preparing there camp barbecue fire.  In Argentina you can almost set your clock to 9:30 p.m. by the smell of barbecue and wood smoke.

Great produce, great prices, dinner.
Great produce, great prices, dinner.

 

In the morning I head west toward Mamuil Malal Pass to visit the 12,293 ft. Lanín Volcano and Lanin National Park.

The Lanin Volcano near the border with Chile near Junin de los Andes.
The Lanin Volcano near the border with Chile near Junin de los Andes as seen from Mamuil Malal Pass.

The road through the pass crosses the Andes to Pucón Chile.  The last 25 miles of the road on the Argentina side is unpaved and runs through Lanin National Park.

I leave Route 40 and drive up toward the border with Chile to visit Lanin National Park Just across the border from Pucon.
I leave Route 40 and drive up toward the border with Chile to visit Lanin National Park Just across the border from Pucon.

I stop at the trail head to the Lanin Volcano about 2 miles short of the Chilean border, it is around 40 miles beyond the border to Pucón.  On my previous trip to Patagonia by motorcycle I stayed overnight in Puócn.  Pucón is a very nice tourist town, next to the Villarica Volcano, and is very close to here.

Once again I am rewarded with the scenery.  I stop for lunch at a picnic table alongside a beautiful but noisy river.

I stopped for lunch in the national park at this riverside picnic table. Beautiful area.
I stopped for lunch in the national park at this riverside picnic table. Beautiful area.

I am in a forest of Auracania trees, or in English, Monkey Puzzle Trees.  The road through the park is pretty rough and rocky which surprises me since Wikipedia said it was paved on the Argentine side.

The Monkey Puzzle Tree or in Spanish Araucania is typical in this area. If you look closely you will notice a coating of volcanic ash on everything.
The Monkey Puzzle Tree or in Spanish Araucania is typical in this area. If you look closely you will notice a coating of volcanic ash on everything.

Just short of the Chilean border I arrive at the trailhead for the mountain and across the road from the access road to Lago Tromen.  Out of an over abundance of caution I decide not to leave the truck and camper un-attended in the trail head parking lot to hike to the volcano.

After a visit to the tourist information center I backtrack my way to Junin de los Andes, and then on south a short distance to San Martin de los Andes, what I will consider the beginning of the lake district.