In July 2011 I was looking through the Diary entries for the Patagonia Trip and found that I had not yet written up the notes for 14 December. To fill the gap I will try to recall what we did and use my images of the day to rekindle my memory.
We had a late start to the day after yesterday’s marathon drive across the Argentinean part of the South American continent. It took a while to get used to the stifling heat after our cold and very windy experience in the Andean foothills. We had stayed the night in the Touring Club Hotel de Trelew, an old building that is on Argentina’s registry of historic buildings. Built in 1898 it is in desperate need of a lick of paint, basic maintenance or perhaps some serious restoration. Through the 1930’s it remained one of Argentina’s most luxurious hotels. There is free wi-fi in the famous and busy restaurant, but I failed to get a reliable signal in our room. At 120 peso (c. £24) per night for a double room, it was a bargain.
As a bonus, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and Etta Place, after fleeing the United States, would stay here when visited Trelew on business – they had bought land and established a ranch in western Patagonia near Los Antiguos, where we were headed. They lived peacefully for nearly three years, becoming respected in the area.
We decided to check out a few spots that had been recommended by friends but would try to find a more comfortable hotel in nearby Rawson.
S2129 was a flat sandy area with dense low shrubs, with the buildings of Trelew Airport silhouetted on the horizon. We found Austrocactus bertinii in flower (I believe that the is the type locality for A. patagonicus, now a synonym of the earlier named A. bertinii), Maihuenia patagonica (very dehydrated), Maihueniopsis darwinii and, unexpected, as we had not done our home work, Gymnocalycium gibbosum, in fruit and in flower.
S2130, S2131 and S2132 were similar to the previous stop, but right along the Atlantic Ocean. M. darwinii, A. bertinii and G. gibbosum were again playing hide and seek amongst the shrubs both with lots of fruit and the Gymno still in flower.