LandVest is honored to be the global marketing partner for the Patagonia Sur Portfolio of properties, an innovative project blending conservation, luxury real estate, ecotourism, community involvement and scientific research. Ruth Kennedy Sudduth, director of LandVest’s Residential Brokerage Division, recently visited Chile to learn more. This is the fourth blog from her trip.
Our 4×4 ride into Valle California was a more intimate look at backcountry Patagonia than the heliflight into Melimoyu. The charter plane dropped us near Chaitén, and we took the four hour, mostly gravel road trip east toward the Argentine border by SUV. Good thing, the roads are spectacular and rugged, winding through the mountains, by huge glacial lakes and under hanging glaciers. There are more cows in the road than oncoming traffic. This blast-from-the-past trek will change in character as the Austral Road is on its way to being paved, forever changing the character of Patagonia. We dropped into Valle California in the dark, but we could see the huge mountains dark against the sky, with the Milky Way within arm’s reach in the clear, dry sky.
Accommodations at Valle California are in luxury yurts (not a contradiction in terms), with glorious beds furnished with great sheets and wool textiles from a cooperative supported by Patagonia Sur’s community development foundation. The dome at the top of the yurt opens to a view of the night sky. Boardwalks link the yurts to the cincho, a local term for barbeque, in this case a very elegant contemporary blond wood pavilion with a huge fireplace, a long common table and comfortable seating area piled high with books. The chef and his very capable staff set up beautiful multi-course meals with great Chilean organic wines.
Our first day was a long, gradual walk through the valley, then up through a magical lenga forest, a deciduous forest with huge, 800 year old trees. The forest was magical, with the green filtered light, dappling orchids and mosses on the forest floor. As we climbed, the woods gave way to a hanging valley with a deep clear lake rimmed by cliffs. By the lake shore the Patagonia Sur team had flown up the chef and the “picnic” preparations by helicopter and greeted us with hot soup, wine, olives, cheese, sausages, salads and a yummy Patagonian dessert of peaches in heavy cream.
Our following two days in Valle California were filled with fly fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, and another flight up to a glacier, this time above Lago Palena, with a brilliant blue glacial lake below on a bluebell clear day.
The last night the gauchos set up a barbeque in the cincho with local lamb grilled on the fire, great wine, and a leisurely night of great food, laughter and storytelling. The night went on into the morning, with some groggy looks over the morning maté.
We were grateful for the beautiful country, the sense of community and inclusion provided by the Patagonia Sur team, and for the chance to experience a remote and beautiful part of the world that evokes the American landscape of 150 years ago. To spend entire days without a plane overhead, or a powerline, or a cell phone ringtone, where the water is so clean you can drink from the streams, with kind, knowledgeable people, what more could you ask for?
For more on Ruth Kennedy Sudduth’s Patagonia Sur experience, stay tuned for our upcoming blogs.
For more information on Patagonia Sur Ecotourism, please visit their website.
For more information on the Patagonia Sur Portfolio properties contact Ruth Kennedy Sudduth
at 617-357-0455 or firstname.lastname@example.org.