We rented a month ago a car to drive the Carretera Austral, in our way we have stopped in a city called Cochrane, I just wanted to drop you travelers a line about this nice city…..
Cochrane is located 334 kilometers to the South of Coyhaique and 1,983 kilometers from Santiago.
Cochrane has around 4,000 inhabitants and its surroundings present beautiful wild sceneries. One of its main attractions is the Tamango National Reserve. This is the only place where you can watch a population of huemules from a real close distance.
In addition to Lake Cochrane, (which on the Argentinian side is called Lake Pueyrred?n), you can also visit the Baker River waterfalls, the Northern ice fields and snow-capped Mount San Lorenzo.
In the summer, these are ideal nooks to practice fly-fishing, river rafting, kayaking, lake excursions, horseriding and watch the wildlife.
Rainfalls are usual from May to August and, in the winter, the low temperatures bring about snowfalls. These weather features turn Cochrane into the most visited destination in the summer season.
Regular flights leave from the cities of Puerto Montt and Santiago to Coyhaique and air shuttles may me hired there to reach the Cochrane airfield or else travel the distance by car or bus.
Here is our personal experience in Tamango National Reserve …
|The entrance to the park was $1500, let me give you some introduction I learnt from the information material provided by the reserve and the expertise of our guide …|
The Tamango reserve is one of the few protected areas where this species of endangered cervidae may be watched from a close distance.
In relation to the fauna, the most outstanding species are the biggest terrestrial mammals in Chile, that is to say, the Huemul (hippocamelus visulcus) and the Guanaco (lamma guanicoe).
The numerous population of huemules reaches the 50 young specimens, which spread across the area when they grow up. With their two horns, they barely reach 100cm of height and weigh about 70kg. Their fur is brown with golden or yellow shades and grey spots, according to season.
It is also possible to see foxes, pumas and chillas. Birds are bigger in number, there are 5 different varieties of ducks, apart from caiquenes, traros, eagles, cormoranes, pitios, etc.
The fact that this Reserve includes some forest areas in town becomes an attractive scene to be admired, specially in Autumn when the nothofagus finish their vegetative process and begins changing leaves? color.
|In the brook areas of Cochrane lake, there are small coig?e forests, which reflect on its waters. Cochrane river with its crystal waters of a wonderful blue color, it is a great scene to be appreciated all year long.|
All right end of intro, lets go into details…..
After touring around Cochrane, we crossed the urban shell and headed for the Tamango national reserve, one of the main attractions in the region. Populations of huemules in their natural habitat may be easily observed there.
We reached the entrance to the reserve, which is located on the northeast of Cochrane. This protected area was created in June 1st, 1967 an occupies a surface of 6,925 hectares. We approached the manager's office, located at the pier, in the southern part on the river bank. The forest ranger advised us to get to Tomasin's place in order to see the reserve and the lake. Those people would take us sailing to watch an area of the preserved natural environment from the shore.
That is how we retraced our steps up to the entrance to Tamango and took the detour towards the Tomasin house. Elvis Orme?o, one of the kids in charge of the fishing excursions and the guided visits around the reserve, came out to welcome us. Immediately afterwards, he invited us to tour the Cochrane river and Lake Cochrane. We looked for warm clothes, we put on our life jackets and got ready to set out. On a small motorboat, we sailed up the river which, along with the lake bearing the same name, represents the natural southeastern border of the reserve and the access to the city for all the dwellers of the coastline area.
We moved ahead slowly, leaving behind the reserve post that we could now see from the water, as well as the leafy coihues that cover the coastline. We sailed for half an hour up to the outlet, where the river joins the lake. In that section, the waters adopt a blue transparency that highlights the green moss and the phosphorescent algae in the rocks. The scenery was worth of a picture for its fascinating beauty, which I could enjoy at first sight as the small rapids and the low depths made us move cautiously. When we eventually reached the entrance of Lake Cochrane, we could appreciate all its grandeur. It has a surface of 173.75km2 and spreads into Argentina, where it is called Lake Pueyrred?n. This is one of the places specially chosen for fly-fishing and the Esmeralda Mountain Range can be appreciated from there. We stayed there for a while beholding the view and then turned around towards a small pier we had already passed by.
Once on solid ground, we walked along a trail up to a forest of lengas, coihues and shrubby ?ires where there are some cabins and a camping area. I was expecting to see the huemules.
It was getting late and a cold wind began to blow to tell us it was time to go back. Before I said good bye to the reserve, I promised to return in the summer in order to spot more huemules. Even if I have to camp on this beautiful site.
See ya next year in this amazing Place