The 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.