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Southern Patagonia 2019

At the end of November 2019, a group of AGS members headed to Patagonia to explore the diverse habitats. This tour focuses on the extreme south of the region, with visits to both Argentina and Chile.
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The tour kicked off in Rio Gallegos. After checking into the hotel, our plant hunters were keen to start exploring the native flora.

Next was a long drive across Patagonia. A few stops along the way brought sights of amazing flowers and an armadillo.

On the fourth day, they explored Seno Última Esperanza, Puerto Natales, where they saw Anarthrophyllum desideratum and guanco (camelid native to South America).

Next, they visited Laguna Verde. It was quite a tough walk up, but they were rewarded with superb views and the beautiful, green netted flowers of Chloraea magellanica.

Torres del Paine

With excellent weather, it was time to explore Torres del Paine National Park (in Chile’s Patagonia region).

Sierra Baguales

The next destination was Sierra Baguales – a mountain range in the southernmost Andes. Half a day’s walk through a remote area brought encounters with more incredible plants. The group was granted special permission to explore a private estancia (large, private plot of farmland)

Next, they tackled a long walk up to lake at about 1,000m altiitude.

There were lots of Guanaco to be seen and more Anarthrophyllum desideratum.

Travel to El Calafate

A day-long drive to El Calafate. There were miles of barren steppe en route before they encountered a patch of Anarthrophyllum desideratum.

Cerro Frias

The next trip was up Cerro Frias in an impressive truck where our group saw lots of flowers, including Oxalis ennaeaphylla, Calceolaria uniflora and lots of ice. The front of the glacier is 180 feet high.

Next, it was time to head north through dry steppe, passing a huge basalt plug.

A long 400km drive over barren steppe was next on the agenda. Unfortunately, one of the favourite places for plants had completely dried out and no flowers were to be seen. Things picked up in the evening, with at stay at Estancia La Angostura in a very remote area with a great atmosphere… and barbecued lamb for dinner..

Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires

The group spent a long day on the Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires – a vast empty area (70x50km) which one day may be a national park. There’s no public access so our group were very lucky to be taken there.

Monte Zeballos

Next up was Monte Zeballos with unfortunately not the best weather! There were, however, lots of interesting plants.

A walk on the west side of Monte Zeballos was still chilly but there were plenty of plants.

(Photos: David Haselgrove & David Charlton)