El Campo PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paula   
Monday, 05 March 2007 19:05

Eco Camp, foundly nicknamed El Campo by my newly found friend Mike.  Mike is somewhere around my age and married on a little adventure escape. He is a bit taller, 5'10", then me, light brown hair, kind face and a great, easy going disposition.  He seems in good shape, well, except for his knees which he chatted how they would need re-building if he kept up skiing so he decided to get back into kayaking. 

Mike and I were the new comers to El Campo.  El Campo is situated on the spit of land where Rio Azul and Rio Futaleufu confluence.  Getting to El Campo is an experience unto itself.  

The truck that brought us from Chaiten unloads our gear in a small meadow behind a wood hinged lodge pole gate.  We're met by Ferguson who kindly answers why we are here rather then the lodge.  'all kayakers go to Eco camp first and we figure out what rivers you will be spending time on'  Hmm, would have been nice to have a soft bed after 31 hours of travel, but hey, I'll pass out on just about anything.

The sound of rapids can be heard.  We follow a trail down to an easy access eddy.  On shore are a couple of kayaks and accross the river (Rio Azul) is an odd craft.  It appears to be two canoes strapped together!  A young amigo pushes off from an eddy on the opposite shore, angles his craft and gives a couple of good strokes.  Magically, the craft ferry's effortlessly across the class 1 rapid and gracefully enters the eddy we are standing by.  'All aboard!'

Okay then.  I load my gear on, look up river to a class III rapid and look down river to the confluence.  Any mistake and it could be wild ride.  But heck, these boys have been doing this for quite a while so sit back and enjoy the twenty seconds of water.

Ferguson gives us the nickel tour of El Campo.  Staring with the main lodge where we eat and meet.  It is the social center for guides and guests alike.  The lodge is log construction, one very large rectangular room.  One third of the room is the kitchen.  There is a giant wood cooking stove.  Next to the stove are two large hot water tanks with water lines that go into the stove for heating.  Lots of shelves loaded with food stuffs, a large kitchen sink and plenty of counter space.  Pedro is busy at work preparing something with new ingredients brought from Chaiten.

The other two thirds of the room is filled with a long table and benches on either side.  At the far end are a couple of lap top computers.  Their chargers are plugged into US style ac plugs and I notice a small inverter attached to a collection of batteries.  The batteries are charged by a solar panel mounted on the roof.  They don't call this place an Eco Camp for nothing!

'Okay, its time for you to pick out your new home!'  Up the hill and over by the other river, Rio Futaleufu, are a number of platform tents roomy enough for three but set up with two plushy matresses.  Eco camp is not very crowded this weekend so everyone gets their very own tent.  Mine is just up the bank from the roaring river, yes roaring, not the friendly gurgle one might like to have to lull one to sleep.  Nope, dream land here was going to be rapid running!

After dropping gear off at tents, we followed Furgeson back over the hill to the location of the lue.  Two bamboo enclosed lues with views of the Azul.  No trouble letting water go here.  

Last on the tour were the hot showers.  Yes, hot showers.  Heated by a wood fire.  The heating stove is located in a marvelous little lodge.  The wood stove doubles for heating hot water and providing the best hot sauna!  El Campo is not so bad!

After trying out the lue, washing for dinner and lounging about the lodge, Pedro delivers a great beef and noodle dinner with a salad to die for.  Lots of avacado, fresh carrots, tomatoe and radish.  All delivered in very macho wood bowls and plates!

The table jabber is about kayaking and of course the latest kayak porn!  

Last Updated on Monday, 05 March 2007 19:36