Flew from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires and stayed the night before flying to get to Esquel the next morning. Arranged to have dinner w John & Donna Green from Pittsburgh, a nice couple who we met and spent time with on the ship. They were at the Alvear Palace Hotel and we met them there for drinks and then a short walk to Fervor, a popular and elegant steakhouse that was recommended by the concierge. First, a note on the Alvear – a stately hotel with a great French restaurant downstairs. We were told to have lunch, dinner or tea there while visiting BA. We had tea there while in town before the Antarctica trip. It was like a four course meal! Very elegant and tremendous selections of tea, sandwiches, pastries and desserts. Champagne included. A good find, if you’re into that sort of thing. The Fervor steakhouse was a great find as well. Filled with local families and Argentine business folks, it would be the go to place for a fine dinner with an outstanding wine list and great atmosphere. Topping it off was our waiter who could have been the finest in all of Buenos Aires – handsome, knowledgeable and willing to make food and wine recommendations. He scored big on suggesting an excellent 2012 Malbec: Susana Balbo Signature. We all loved it. I would go back to this place again…. But beware, the steaks are large and appetizers are filling, dessert was apple pancakes (not what you think – it was delicious).
Got off to Esquel on Thursday, a 3 hour flight into a small Patagonia city (44,000 popn) that has been growing rapidly, mostly from Argentinians relocating for quality of life and tourism. A short drive to nearby Trevelin and we arrive at Patagonia River Guides home base. Greeted by Travis Smith and some of his staff. They have a great spot here that has seen significant renovation, with much care and details to make it a functioning fishing lodge. After brief introduction, a small plate and libations and we are off to Rio Pico with John Roberts, our guide for the next 3+ days. We choose the scenic route which involves a 3 hour drive and goes through some of Patagonia’s finest ranching country, scenic Andes views and crossing some great rivers on our way to Tres Valles Lodge where we are to stay for 3 nights. Tres Valles is a guest lodge and large cattle ranch (6,000 hectares – – that’s 15,000 acres for those back home). It is a phenomenally beautiful setting with the lodge setting above a large lake with spectacular peaks in background. There is a significant spring creek down near the ranch house but the water was low (despite that it did produce 14 large trout one afternoon). The ranch and lodge are owned by a French couple who visit perhaps only a month a year. The managers Simon and Guillermina are a very nice couple who have been there for 7 years. More on Tres Valles and our stay there later – we have to get to Trevelin to see the Boys…
It’s about a 2 hour drive south and east to Trevelin. Best way to break that up is stop and fish somewhere. We pulled to Lago Torres – a 100 or so acre lake in the middle of nowhere that has a large population of rainbow trout. We fished the edge of reeds and weed beds on the upwind side and caught many 18-24″ rainbows on damsel fly and other nymphs, scuds and dries. Headed into Trevelin Sunday evening and caught a rowdy crowd of Seahawks fans around the tv rooting for Seattle in their exciting 4th quarter rally and overtime win over Green Bay. Super Bowl: Seattle vs New England (Go Seahawks!). Sorry we missed the party this year Mike Gardiner….
More later – gotta get coffee, breakfast and off to catch fish…. ( 88 degrees in town today, sunny and warm…)