Windy Camping in Patagonia

Cold mornings are a good time to write while still tucked in bed. This morning I write from the canyon camp next to the visitor’s center of Cuevo de Las Manos, Argentina in Patagonia. It’s chilly but more, it’s windy. Today, not dangerously windy. It will be possible to hike down into the Canyon and visit the cave and wall paintings.

The visitor’s center to Cuevo de Las Manos visible from our camp.

Two nights ago, we camped at Lago Pasados where we encountered our first dangerously strong winds. We had been warned by Darren and Kathryn, a couple we visited with in Los Antiguos, also traveling in a pop-top. They recommended Ruta 41 over Ruta 40 to travel between Los Antiguos and Lago Pasados because while it’s a rougher road, the scenery is superior. But they said there was a night they had to sleep with their tent top down and even lower the jack-legs to keep from rocking from the wind.

Ruta 41 in yellow, our windy camp was next to the lake on the west side.

Ruta 41 is not a National highway like Ruta 40, it’s a maintained gravel road between Los Antiguos and Lago Pasados then after Lago Pasados, it’s a 4×4 track. It hugs the Argentinan/Chilean border. It is also the solution to the notoriously flat and scenery-less terrain of Ruta 40 in this section. We were amazed by the views from Ruta 41 from our windows and I even had the opportunity to take a bike ride along the Ruta.

A fork in the road while biking.
Our red truck on Ruta 41

In Los Antiguos where we started Ruta 41, we picked up Olek, a hitch-hiker we had met in Rio Mayo many miles previously. He was headed in our general direction on Ruta 41 so he hopped a ride with us. Olek, a Russian, has been traveling for 1.5 years, hitch-hiking through Africa and South America. Even with all of his previous travel, the windy camp of Lago Pasados was a challenge for all of us.

Shattered glass from the windy night camp next to Lago Posados. We were so happy we collapsed the pop-ups when the wind started getting bad or we could have lost them…
Olek and Mike fixing Olek’s wrecked tent. Video of the tent snapping on link below:

With wet weather predictions and shaken by the big winds in camp last night at Lago Pasados, we decided to head towards Ruta 40 instead of taking the 4×4 track from Lago Pasados to Parque National Perrito Moreno. Especially after German travelers in a monsterous modified fire truck said the terrain was very rough with ledges and very large rocks to navigate through areas of erosion if we went forward on Ruta 41. They said they did it, but only because the weather was perfect. Now, that was changing.

So, here we are in Cuevo de Las Manos in less wind and weather about to see the caves with painted handprints from 10,000 years ago. We continue to pick our route by recommendations along the way by fellow travellers and ioverlander.