Epic trekking between the snow and the colors of autumn to lagoons in northern Neuquén to fulfill the most beautiful dream

The incredible landscape towards the Epulauquen lagoons in the north of Neuquén, pure wild and dazzling Patagonia. Photos: Martín Muñoz.

These days, after the last snowfalls, the Patagonia He gives away his most beautiful landscapes painted in white. And in the north of Neuquén, photographer Martín Muñoz had a pending dream: to travel 60 km from Varvarco, where he lives, to the lagoons of Epulauquen to walk among the snow and the incredible autumn colors of the forests that surround them.

I had already been in the summer, in the spring, in the winter. And in the fall too, but she had never been able to register the beauty of the white flakes with colors that vary from green to reddish and ocher tones in these months of the year. Last week, after waiting so long, was able to unite those two wonders for the first time. And the result in the form of photos and sensations could not have been more beautiful.

The clouds are reflected in one of the Epulauquen lagoons.

Highways cleared the route and they were able to arrive

Martín and four three friends from Andacollo were there last week. They took the opportunity to reach the lagoons that Highway machines had cleared Route 45 of snow so that ranchers could pass with their animals.

There went Martín with Pipo and Chino Bravo, Mere Retamal and Antonela Morales heading to that wild corner of Patagonia of supernatural beauty.

They crossed the Route 45 bridge.

“I had hoped for a long time to find this landscape, the mix of autumn colors and the early snow that brought us autumn,” he says.

«The north of Neuquén has unique natural landscapes, but even more so when nature gives us this combination of colors with a snowy landscape. “It’s something that can’t be explained,” she adds.

“It was never given to me”

The photographer had been waiting for this moment for years. «I never saw those yellow and reddish tones of the lengas, the oaks, the ñires among the snow. We were able to arrive with this group of friends and be able to take those beautiful images,” he says. “It was an outstanding debt in the album of my photographs of northern Neuquén,” she adds.

«We arrived because they let us in to take photos, the lagoons are closed for now. “Snow fell and the roads were covered,” she clarifies.

Pure magic. The colors of autumn in the lagoons of Epulauquen.,

Between chained lagoons and legends of fabulous buried loot

When access reopens, which will happen in November, where a true treasure awaits those who venture to explore the Epulauquen lagoons.

The five friends walked to the lagoons and the paths that connect them.

And not only because of the legend of the fabulous loot hidden by the Pincheiras, Chilean guerrillas at the service of the Spanish Crown in the last battle for Independence that was fought here, in the heart of northern Neuquén.

Also for that wild paradise that displays all its appeal in yessix chained mirrors of crystalline water in this stretch of autumn, for the walking trails that unite them between lengas, ñires, ferns or wild flowers depending on the section, the waterfalls hidden, trout that make fishermen sigh, the walks among the flight of condors, herons and Patagonian woodpeckers.

All that and so many other wonders, for example, a surprising erratic block, as the immense rock is called that the glaciers, in their retreat some 12,000 years ago, dragged to the fourth lagoon, La Chaquira. .

How to get to the Epulauquen lagoons

The wonderful lagoons of Epulauquen. Photos: Martín Muñoz.

If you are tempted to go when the lagoons reopen, if Neuquén Capital is taken as a reference, it First is to travel 400 kilometers to Chos Malal along Route 22 and connect with the mythical Route 40. to reach the first capital of Neuquén, pure history and those mountains that surround it at the end of a long straight line and that announce that you are about to enter another world.

And if before the oil storks caught your attention, the Chinese space station that emerges in the middle of nowhere and the irruption of snow-capped peaks in the landscape, what follows is to enter the rugged heart of northern Neuquén and its world of muleteers on horseback in front of their sheep and goat pines in search of meltwater and pastures on the slopes, the flight of the condors, the small chapels, the noble people, fortunately isolated in their purity, as Don Isidro Belver often says, the priest that Don Jaime de Nevares sent on a mission in the 70s, time turned into a historian and he never wanted to leave here again.

Already in Chos Malal (there are two YPF if you want to fill the tank and carry water for the mate) you have to continue traveling along route 43, which is paved until Las Ovejas. At 5 km (95 from Chos Malal) you have to turn onto provincial route 45, which leads to the lagoons. From there it is about 40 more km.

The battle in the Epulauquen Lagoons and the hidden treasure

«On January 14, 1832, the definitive battle against the Pincheira brothers took place in the Lagunas de Epulauquen at the hands of the Chilean general Manuel Bulnes. This battle, called “Las Lagunas” or “Coyamuelo” allowed the actions of this gang to be definitively eradicated. Some consider that this was the last battle against the royalist army in Argentine territory.«wrote the doctor in Geography Luis Bertani.

The best view: facing the lagoons.

«The treasure that the Pincheira brothers possessed, they say, was left somewhere in Epulauquen. Some maintain that the only ones who really The male brothers knew the location of the treasure and it would be hidden in a natural cave near the Epulauquen forest.demolished by the brothers to save it permanently,” he added.

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