The siete lagos trip was at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to visiting the Lakes District in Argentina. But, since last June, most of it has been covered in ash.
Volcan Puyehue erupted and spewed the fine gray powder everywhere. The volcano is in Chile, but thanks to the prevailing wind, Argentina got the worst of it. We decided to go see what we could see and turn around when things got bad.
Even though we didn’t even make it half way down the route, I think we may have actually visited more than 7 lakes. All them perfectly fine, but only a few worth visiting for more than a few minutes. Most of them don’t even have picnic sites, much less space to spread out and enjoy an afternoon on the lake.
We made it as far south as Lagos Faulkner and Villarino before we decided it was just ridiculous to continue on. There actually is (free!) camping on these lakes and we spotted one camper enduring it. A few die-hards were even going out fishing.
The roads were all open, and we were still 50 kms north of Angostura (the center and worst of it) but we just didn’t feel like dealing with it. Maybe on a day with less wind, things would be better.
We turned off the main road and drove around to the other side of Lago Melinquina to look for a place to camp that we hoped would be shielded from the wind and far enough out of the ash zone. No luck there, either.
By the time we made it back to San Martin, the winds had brought the ash all the way to town. Everyone was walking around wearing surgical masks. We stuck it out for the night and made plans to move on manana.
New plan: go back to Chile.
FYI – you can buy surgical masks at the local farmacia.