Laguna Blanca – Cerro Alcazar

Map laguna blanca
The Laguna Blanca is a small lake high up in the mountains west of park El Leoncito.

The laguna Blanca is a small lake high up in the mountains west of El Leoncito national park and the small town of Barreal. After a good night in the municipal campground, battery charged and water tank filled, we start the gravel road towards the mountains. Along the way we have to stop and register with the mining company that owns the road to the laguna. We are given a briefing on the conditions of the road and others things to know. We are the only vehicle in the past week to go up there. The road is more or less flat for about 40 km from the pavement, then it winds endlessly up for about 30 km and becomes a 4×4 track at some point. It is steep and narrow, with loose rocks from the winter rock slides. Maintenance is supposed to start in a week from our visit. We managed quite well. We get to the laguna in the early afternoon and the wind is blowing fiercely. We decided to go for a hike but between the altitude of 3150 m and the cold wind we have to turn around after a while and look for a sheltered spot along the lake shore where we can wait for dinner time. The wind keeps shaking the truck all evening as the temperature drops. I expected the wind to stop in the evening but it keeps blowing all night. When we get up it is only +6 degrees in the camper – I am guessing + 2 outside. Just the same I bundle up, take my camera bag and tripod, and start walking along the lake for a suitable spot to take sunrise photos of Laguna Blanca. My idea of snowy summits reflecting in a calm lake quickly vanish since the wind hasn’t really died down at all. I decide to hike up the sand dune to get a different view which in the end is quite pleasing.

Once back from Laguna Blanca we spend another night in the municipal campground of Barreal, charge the battery again, and buy groceries at the local supermarket. We treat ourselves to an ice cream, well deserved after our cold and windy night at the Laguna Blanca. The next day is the drive home through the city of San Juan. We wouldn’t leave without stopping at cerro Alcazar, just north of Barreal. It is a very short drive from the pavement and a beautiful geological formation. Once again I trudge uphill loaded with camera gear, to find a view point. After about an hour I come down to the truck for a well deserved breakfast. Until next time, for new adventures. Stay tuned!

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