A private park proposing to visit and explore the incredible environments of the area.Isabel McKay from Patagonia Green was expecting me at the entrance of the small urban center called Aysén. The two of us were going to tour the Southern Aiken Park, a natural reserve granted in concession to a Chilean private company. We crossed the Presidente Ibañez suspension bridge and headed for Port Chacabuco along Route 240 up to km#10. Before we took the detour to the park entrance, it had already began to rain heavily. The changeable weather and the humidity give origin to the lush embellishing vegetation characteristic of the region. The park guide welcomed us at the visitors' center located at the entrance. Southern Aiken is an educational tourist area spreading across 250 hectares bordering Lake Riesco and the waterfall marshlands.
The lake surface occupies 14 km2, with quiet waters of a wonderful blue coming from the glaciers, where sport fishing of salmon and trout is practiced. The entire scenery preserves its singular wild condition. The native forests, the natural meadows and the lake environments may be toured along three main circuits: the river path, the lake path and the waterfall path. Encouraged by the rain and with an interpretation guide in hand, we headed for the waterfall path, a short easy hike to explore some natural environments. After crossing meadows with calafates, michay y chilcos among other bushes, we got deep into forests of typical species such as myrtles, tepas, lumas and notros.
Every now and then, we would hear a chucao taking shelter from the rain or a hued hued, a small bird part of the local fauna. Under the protection of real green tunnels, we would follow the roar of the water, which would escort us. As we walked on, we would appreciate the graphic signs and posts that explain the phenomena inside these ecosystems. We passed through some marshlands and, through bridges and platforms, we got deep into the most humid area, on the shores of the Barba del Viejo waterfall. The topmost of the path was this magnificent 22-meter-high cascade emerging amidst beautiful lichens, ferns and moss with all its strength and giving origin to the waterfall marsh. Its violent current ended up charging our energy, which we absorbed along the 570-meter-long path. At the end of the tour, we were soaked to the skin but happy to have dared into the adventure of these natural tours that display the exuberant flora and the richness of the Aysen region.