May 2, 2009

First Glimpse

A few 500km days driving through the middle of this grand country left me just on the outskirts of the famed and highly anticipated Patagonian lakes and rivers district. Finally!! Nothing but giddy grins and out-of -tune singing flowed from my mouth as the moto and I cruised up into the forested area of Primeros Pinos (1st pines). The sweet familiar scent of pine trees coated my nostrils and immediatly I knew this was going to be an amazing next few months.

Climbing up and around the foothills of Patagonia, down into valleys surrounded by arroyos, rios, trees, and the universal/unmistakable smell of fall. The first veiw of the Lakes hit me like Christmas morning, this is the place I´ve dreamed about for years...Lago Matetuwe, close to the much larger lake (Lago Alumine), was the chosen spot for my fly fishing career to get rolling. Unable to hide ear to ear smiles from all the onlooking vegetation I found an area to remove the helmet and like Gambits eyes, let it shine. The "pop" of one of Argentinas finest was heard echoing accrossed the eerily still lake marking the moment of a newfound love. A sound was returned by a screeling chorus of bright green and red parrots (patagonian conures) patroling the area for sweet pine nuts while practicing their ariel coriagraphy in groups of no less than thirty. With underpants rolled up and rod rigged, I waded out into the crystal clear lake casting the bright green float line out little by little, loving the feeling of the first casts over water. I must admit, I was a little distracted by the clarity of the water, resulting in a few unavoidable tangles...It was like peering down through a glass coffee table top, under which I could make out perfectly clear beads of rounded stones and shells resting on the lake floor, incredible. Casting continued under the warm southern sun, and I developed a partial thirst for the crystal clearness I was standing in. As I dipped my hands in the form of a cup and casually sipped on the crisp, sweet water I thought of the immense difference in how water recources are treated here compared to those of Argentina´s northern neighbors in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. I won´t elaborate too much, but I would hesitate to wade into most streams, rivers, or lakes sporting a fully sealed BIO suit in those northern countries, and the fact I can sip from the source out of a straw here in Argentina, is quite a grand difference. Argentina gets an A+, they know what natural recources are and strive to protect them. Buena onda. Contributing to the very slim percentage of pollution they do harbour, I put the rod down for a while, shed my clothing and dove in for my weekly bath. (I guess I´m not that toxifying though, as I have continued to drink the water without falling ill). I flopped about doing my best impresssions of the fish I plan on catching in upcoming weeks, and was startled when a few passing hikers rounded the corner to find me doing some Qi Gong breathing excersises stark naked on a boulder half submerged in the water, oops! I figured it proper to clothe up, and practice a more "socially accepted" activity, in this case flyfishing... : ) No bites on the day, but the pure pleasure of being out there set the bar to a new high. The sun had began to set, the rod & flies put away, and it was time to find camp for my first night in Patagonia. A picture perfect sunset to end the fairytale of a day, in what I have started to call "Paradise"...

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