Saturday, January 22, 2011

Refugio Frey or Refugio Heaven

Happy Birthday Howie!!

The view from Refugio Frey

Refugio Frey is iconic among visitors to Bariloche.  A mountain hut situated among impossibly gorgeous scenery on Cerro Catedral (Bariloche's main ski mountain), hikers, trekkers, and even supertrekkers (that would include Dave, but not Jesse) arrange entire vacations to make this hike.

It can be done in one or two days (you can camp or take a dorm bed in the hut, or you can enjoy the comforts of your hostel room, guess which we chose) and it is well worth it.

The hike up passes you over rustic wooden bridges, mountain streams, and endless wild flowers.

Fun bridge crossings

Full, flowing streams
And endless wildflowers
Along the way (or in fact on the bus to the trailhead) we met a number of other hikers who we walked and walked and walked with. Sometimes we hiked quickly, other times, a bit slower (hi Meital) but it didn't matter because with the good company and stunning scenery there was no need to rush.

Our hiking friends Meital and Michal.
(this is actually a celebratory, end-of-the-hike photo,
despite the fact that the bus station was actually another 3 KM down the road) 
After about 4 hours of hiking, including a perilous stream fording with the Refugio in sight, we had finally made it to the top.  And then, basking in the sun, drinking in the scenery, and thinking it couldn't get any better the barmaid came out with a round of icy cold, artisanal keg beer.  Were we are Refugio Frey, or in Refugio Heaven?  It may have been the best I ever had.  When it hit my lips - wow - speechless.
Artisanal beer on tap!  At the top of the mountain!
Supposedly, they bring it up by donkeys.
At the top we hiked around the lake and took some fun photos.  The walk down was still ahead of us.

The hike down took us along a lower route. More gorgeous scenery, including a troop of Chilean boys who ran past us shirtless.  [JLM: Mmmmmmmmmmmm (except for the fat kid pulling up the rear].

Jesse crossing the bridge, with the Chilean crew "patiently" waiting behind her.

The final tally was about ten hours on the trail including a lengthy lunch stop. We estimated it was about 20-25 KM, no supertrek, but hardly shabby.

100% JDMesh recommended.

The rest of the photos can are here, but before you go, here are some maco flower shots:




  1. another wow! i'll miss argentina, onto SA

  2. Are you doing a re-enactment of the Dirty Dancing log dance in that top picture? I sure hope so...

  3. @Sam - no doubt. Our photographer somehow missed the lift!!!


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