Hike to the top of Cerro El Roble

Colourful leaves of the Roble Beech Tree (Nothofagus obliqua) Last weekend we did a beautiful hike to the top of Cerro El Roble, with 2222m the highest peak in the coastal mountains near Santiago de Chile. We started our hike at 1650m – just above the clouds with the first spectacular panoramic views to the West to the Pacific ocean and to Cerro La Campana sticking its peak through the clouds.  To the East we could see at the horizon over a sea of clouds the Andes mountain range with its highest peak,  the Aconcagua (6960m). The easy trail climbs up to Cerro El Roble and passes through the northernmost forest of Roble Beech trees (Nothofagus obliqua) which were still beautifully late-autumn coloured. The climb to the top was then rewarded by most impressive panoramic sights from the El Roble mountain.

New gallery from Laguna del Laja added

Laguna del Laja National Park End of March we visited together with our friend Guido from Switzerland the Laguna del Laja National Park near Antuco in the Bío-Bío Region some 500 km south of Santiago. We spent the long weekend at the Antucalhue Cottage right at the entrance to the park. On our first day we explored the park along the main dirt road that goes around the Antuco Volcano and along the Laja Lagoon. The volcano and its lava flows dominate the views of the park together with the massive mountains and glaciers of the Sierra Velluda. The natural Laja Lagoon itself, the Laja River and the waterfalls all suffer from the current drought in large parts of Chile. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the drive and small hikes through the sparse landscape. On the second day we first climbed part of the trail towards the Sierra Velluda which was mostly hidden in low hanging clouds on that day. The trail led through native Coigüe and Cedar forests to beautiful views of the Laja River valley. In the late afternoon we enjoyed observing two shy couples of torrent ducks in the rapids of the Laja River. Enjoy the picture galleries and the panoramic views!

A&A Photography updated to TTG CE4

The Turning Gate The A&A Photography webpage is now powered by The Turning Gate Core Elements 4 (TTG CE4) Web Publishing Suite. TTG CE4  is a collection of plugins for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom that allows high-quality publishing of web pages and photo galleries directly from Lightroom. I started using TTG in 2012 with version CE2. The latest version CE4 provides very powerful publishing tools for desktop and mobile devices, high-quality gallery slide shows and improved support to social networks. I took also the opportunity to upgrade the slide shows to 1024 pixel resolution and introduce an improved naming scheme for the images. Hope you like it!

New gallery from Pumalín Park added

Santa Barbara beach
Here comes the picture gallery behind the Happy New Year 2015 post. We visited the northern part of the Carretera Austral (Ruta 7) between Christmas and New Year. We spent most of our time in the Pumalín Park, a private natural sanctuary founded by Douglas Tompkins. We camped in the park and stayed a few nights in the beautiful cabins at Caleta Gonzalo where we also celebrated the New Year after having climbed the Chaitén Volcano in the morning. We knew the area from a visit in 2007 before the volcano erupted in 2008 and were impressed to see the transformation the volcano has brought to the environment and landscapes. We then continued along the Ruta 7 to the South, turned East to follow the Futaleufú River to Argentina and eventually turned North to return to Chile via the Ruta 40, the north shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and the Cardenal Antonio Samoré Pass.

New picture gallery from Southwest USA added

Delicate Arch
This picture gallery is a selection of pictures from our three week-tour in the Southwest of the USA through the states of Arizona, Utah and Colorado in August and September last year. We did an amazing round trip of 3077 miles starting and ending in Phoenix and visited 28 national and state parks, national monuments and other landmarks. Among those the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Petrified Forest National Parks and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park were our favourites. Furthermore the spectacular sandstone rock formations of The Wave and the Secret Canyon near Page were the two absolute highlights of the trip. Enjoy the pictures and panoramas!

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015
We wish you all the best for a Happy New Year!

We spent a great week in northern Patagonia – mostly in the Pumalín Park. Despite a lot of rain we enjoyed the nature with camping and hiking but also stayed a few days at the beautiful cabins of Caleta Gonzalo. The picture was taken on the rim of the caldera of the Chaitén Volcano which had its last major eruption in May 2008. We knew the area from before and could witness the massive changes this unexpected eruption has introduced to the landscape and the nearby village of Chaitén. We continued on the northern part of the Carretera Austral, crossed to Argentina near Futaleufú, and used Route 40 on the east side of the Andes to return to the North.

Help us to reforest Patagonia!

Reforest Patagonia

Chilean Patagonia is a world treasure, but forest fires and human intervention have caused the destruction of more than 3 million hectares in the Aysen and Magallanes regions. Reforest Patagonia is the largest reforestation initiative in Chile’s history. It is a non-profit citizen movement that mobilizes public and private support to organize initiatives that contribute to the care, education, recovery and value of Chile’s main national treasure: Patagonia. 

Help us to reforest Patagonia! We have started by planting 200 lenga trees (Nothofagus pumilio) in our own A&A forest in the Cerro Castillo National Reserve. If you want to contribute, go to our A&A forest and plant some trees.  Thank you!

During the recent planting activities in April 2014 and March 2015 more than 12000 lenga trees have been planted in the Cerro Castillo National Reserve.

New gallery Autumn Colours released

Araucarias and Southern BeechesThe plan was to drive South to look for autumn colours. Problem was, the first week of May is generally considered to be too early for that. But we had no choice. After an overnight stop at Ruedi’s Viña Chillán we arrived to our first destination, the natural reserve Huilo Huilo where we stayed at the spectacular Nothofagus hotel. We explored the park along the Fuy and Truful rivers through several hikes before heading towards Argentina. We crossed the Pirihueico Lake with the Hua Hum ferry and eventually spotted the first southern beeches (Nothofagus) with autumn colours when crossing an altitude of 1000 meters on our way to San Martín de los Andes. A day trip led us to Villa La Angostura and the Los Arrayanes National Park located on a peninsula in the Nahuel Huapi lake. On the next day we headed North following the Ruta 23 and returned to Chile via the Icalma pass. Shortly before the pass the first araucaria or monkey puzzle trees appeared. With their intensive green they nicely contrast the yellow poplars and the blue sky. Before staying overnight at the Suizandina we visited in the late afternoon the always spectacular Lonquimay volcano remembering how we got stuck with our little rental car in the fine volcano ash during an early trip to the South of Chile in 1999. Our sixth visit to the Conguillío National Park on the next day became the highlight of the trip. Autumn had apparently arrived two weeks early and the southern beeches and other shrubs together with the araucarias and the snow-topped volcanos gave us the whole spectrum of autumn colours we had hoped for. Enjoy the picture selection.