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Driving out of Los Angeles is an experience. There are really two routes east - take the main highways south of the San Gabriel mountains or take Newhall Pass, that separates the San Gabriels from the Santa Susana Mountains, and take the route north of the mountains. The former guarantees bumper-to-bumper traffic for 2 hours while the latter adds an 50 miles to the route but empty roads. We take the high-road. @atypicalcontent Sunset over the Prado in Taos, New Mexico. After a week of storms where over 40” fell, the sky cleared and gave us a show. We made our way to the mountain and checked in with ski patrol for the required backcountry passes. The mountain has a couple of high speed chairs and a nice gondola that takes 15 minutes to the top. Tom was leading the way and made the call to take some of the lower chairs, this netted us first tracks on most of the aspects we hit. The morning went by in a flash of powder. Deep and steep pitches, tight trees, and endless possibilities everywhere. There is so much sidecountry that earning our turns was unnecessary. Lap after lap we found first or second tracks on most everything. Kiroro was great. Kiroro is one of the special places in a special place. It is a backcountry focused area with lift access, tons of snow, a consistent fall line, and endless features to ride. With time being precious, our Aussie host, Liam, hooked us up with a 22 year old "volunteer" from the States to take us around the mountain. Tomahawk Tom had been riding Kiroro everyday for the past two months and knew the ins and outs. @ridealldamnday A story about a Yuki Ona is being written. @hopihillsfarm My morning started unlike any other. Snorting, scratching, clapping, and weezing kept on popping into my sleep and I could not understand why. Oh, that's right, I'm sleeping in a barn... someone hit the snooze button on the goats. Read on in the Blog! @atypicalcontent

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Argentina
Villa Angostura lake view
Nahuel Huapi Lake

MC and I have had a decade-long love affair with Argentina. We’ve gone to the far northern Bolivian border, south into Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, and visited Buenos Aires many times. And each time we visit we come back with a new adventure or story to tell. During our last Patagonia fly fishing trip we heard stories of a plague of biblical proportions that springs up in these areas of the the Andes every 40 years or so. We were engrossed, grossed out, and a little frightened.

Fly Fishing Patagonia
Traful River Fly Fishing
Traful River Running Fast

Fly fishing Patagonia is an adventure worthy of difficult travel. And like our last trip through northeast Brazil, we were up to the challenge. This is big-mountain country with 10,000 foot snow-capped peaks everywhere and even some that top out well over 20,000 feet close by. Hundreds of rivers and streams with almost no one fly fishing them. Local browns, rainbows, and cutthroats about eight to ten inches are the trophies for twenty-minute hikes. With a little more efforts some fish might even be worthy of a picture and a story, but mostly this place is good for the soul.

Bariloche
Nahuel Huapi Lake from Bariloche

Argentina has some of best waters in the world, which are relatively easy to get to. The most popular launching point for fishing the tail waters of the Patagonian Andes is the town of San Carlos de Bariloche – a lake town of about 100,000 with international flare, a well-known ski hill (Cerro Catedral) and a history of WWII Nazis.

View of Bariloche from the Eastern Side of Lake Nahuel Huapi

Getting there from Buenos Aires is an easy 3.5-hour flight. Options are plentiful and reasonably priced. The airports are good by north American standards and Bariloche itself is a quaint town on the shores of the Nahuel Huapí lake – a 90 km long glacier lined lake that anchors its namesake Argentinian National Park.

Once in Bariloche, getting around is straight forward and a memorable experience. This area has some of the most beautiful unpaved sections of the Pan-American Highway left which meander through the mostly untouched Patagonian steppe. El Ché Guevara as a medical school student, started his motorcycle journey on these roads.

Pananmerican Highway
Road 65 near San Carlos de Bariloche

The town itself might not have spectacular architecture or a well planned city center, but it does have great character, a cool vibe with local restaurants and some nightlife. This area of Argentina was partly settled by German immigrants and some of the older homes have a certain Bavarian flair. The lake dominates the town and has some spectacular views.

Bariloche is not an end-of-the-earth place like the smaller towns to the south like El Chaltén. It’s very much on the beaten path and even has some of that tourist kitsch that normally turns us off. But the natural beauty and unspoiled wilderness more than makes up for these shortcomings. 

Torres del Paine National Park
Close to the Chilean border at el Chaltén, Torres del Paine

Part II

AC / Argentina / On Patagonia and the Tales it Tells – Fly Fishing Patagonia Part I

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