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the Degree Confluence Project
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Chile : El Biobío

8.1 km (5.0 miles) NW of El Saltillo, Biobío, Chile
Approx. altitude: 305 m (1000 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 37°N 108°E

Accuracy: 6 m (19 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Facing north #3: Facing east #4: Facing south #5: Facing west #6: GPS #7: Gate that leads to forestry reserve perimeter trail #8: The right gate to enter (to get to the farm) #9: Salto el Laja

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  37°S 72°W  

#1: Photo of confluence facing east to Volcan Chillan

(visited by William Boller, Carie Tonovitz and Truman Boller)

Español

06-Jan-2004 -- At 7:40 this morning we set out from our cabin, Cabana Mittenwald, in Valle de las Trancas, about 7 km down from Termas de Chillan. This is a really nice place with a German owner who just retired from Siemens, and his Chilean wife. We highly recommend it if you're going to ski at Chillan.

While the confluence was almost due west, we had to take the only road back down, which passes through Chillan, and then south from Chillan to Pemuco. Pemuco is about 44km south of Chillan. As you approach Pemuco, the terrain becomes a little bit more rugged, but is mostly farms interspersed with evergreen forests.

Pemuco is not much to speak of, and it didn't take too long to find the road that goes directly east to Cartago, which turns to dirt almost immediately. From here it's only 8 km east to the confluence (our first!).

We drove east until arriving about 450m south of the confluence. On the left side of the road was a large forest reserve, owned by a timber company (obviously replanted, with all the ~20 year growth trees in straight lines. I was sure that the confluence would be easy to find with little undergrowth. Across the road there were some locals clearing out a stand of eucalyptus trees from a field. I decided to cross over to talk to them and ask permission.

They were amused, and assured me that the owners were in an office far away, and wouldn't care if we weren't doing anything but taking pictures. We parked the car next to an open gate (photo) at the corner of the forest reserve. Past this gate, there was a perimeter road, that headed straight towards the confluence (this was too good to be true!).

Carie, my wife, baby Truman and I headed out for the confluence, made it to about 250m, and the perimeter road curved to the west. Thick growth lay between us and the confluence. We decided that I would scout it out first to see if it was passable before dragging the baby through the thorns.

Almost immediately I came to a small ditch/stream and beyond lay nearly impassable thorn thickets. This appeared to be very hard. I fought my way through these thorns for about 20 minutes to advance less than 10m. Finally I saw some light ahead, got down on all fours to crawl through a hole in the thorns, and...
...emerged into a pasture! The confluence lay in the middle of a wide open pasture. I quickly crossed to the other side, heading almost due east now, pinpointed the confluence, and took photos. To the east you can Volcan Chillan, and Cerro Negro (I think).

I walked back out to the road via the farm. There is a farmhouse and group of buildings about 200m to the south of the confluence. While walking down the driveway towards the road, I spoke with a man in a car who was entering. He said the farm belongs to a man named Francisco Mesa, that is whom you would need to ask for permission in the future.

I passed out the farm's gate (photo), and about 300m back down the road to the car. It was much easier this way. Don't go through the forest!

Truman was getting hungry, so we headed back to Pemuco, and had a good lunch of avocado and corn with peas at the only restaurant in town, on the town square. Later that day we took T-man to see Salto el Laja (photo), an impressive waterfall nearby.

Español

A las 7:40 esta mañana partimos de nuestra cabaña, de las Cabañas Mittenwald, en Valle de las Trancas. Esta se queda 7km de las Termas de Chillan, en un valle muy hermosa con buenas vistas. Recomendariamos este lugar, por el precio el nivel de atencion y tranquilidad no se puede superar. El dueño es aleman, jubilado recien de Siemens, casado con una chilena.

Mientras la confluencia quedaba casi directamente al poniente de ese lugar, no se alcanzaba sin pasar nuevamente por Chillan. De Chillan, pasamos a Pemuco, 44 km al sur de Chillan. Al llegar a los alrededores de Pemuco, la tierra se convierte en mas accidentada, con una mezcla de granjas y bosques de pinos.

No hay mucho en Pemuco, y rapidamente pasamos por el pueblo para llegar al camino hacia Cartago. Unos 500m saliendo de Pemuco ese camino se convierte en terraseria. De alla son 8km mas al este para llegar a la confluencia. Esta seria nuestra primera!

El camino pasa algunos 450m al sur de la confluencia. A la izquierda del camino habia una reserva forestal grande, a la derecha un campo, con un grupo de obreros. Decidi cruzar y pedir permiso de ellos para pasar al bosque.

Se rieronde mi proposito, y me aseguraron que el bosque (obviamente un bosque planteado con el fin de cosechar --- todos los pinos quedaban en lineas uniformes) pertenecia a una empresa grande con su oficina lejos, y no les molestabamos a ellos en pasar. Estacionamos junto a una puerta abierta (ver foto) en la esquina de la reserva. Pasado esa puerta, hubo un camino de perimetro que se dirigia directamente a la confluencia. Que suerte!

Mi esposa Carie, el bebe Truman y yo nos dirigimos a la confluencia, y llegamos a 250m de esa, y el camino se curvo hacia el poniente. Un matorral grueso quedaba entre mi y el objetivo. Decidimos que la Carie y el bebe se quedarian en ese lugar mientras yo seguiera hacia la confluencia.

Casi de inmediato llegue a una zanja, y atraves habia un matorral de puras espinas. Me parecia muy dificil cruzar. Despues de 20 minutos y alcanzado no mas que 10m, vi luz arriba, me eche al suelo, pase por un hoyo de conejo en las espinas y...
vine a salir en un campo gigante. Nada mas que 200m de caminar y estaria! La confluencia estuvo en el pleno centro de este campo. Crucé al otro lado, encontre la confluencia, y saque las fotos. Al este se ve (ver foto) Volcan Chillan, y Cerro Negro, si no me equivoco.

Volvi al camino de tierra por el garaje de la granja. Hay una casa principal y un grupo de edificios alrededor de 200m al sureste de la confluencia. Mientras caminaba por ese garaje hacia el camino, pase un caballero que entraba. Me dijo que el dueno se llama Francisco Mesa, al quien se necesita pedir permiso pasar.

Pase por la puerta de la granja (ver foto), y habian 300m para llegar al auto nuevamente. Fue muchisima mas facil llegar a la confluencia por aqui. No pase por el bosque!

El Truman tenia hambre, así volvimos a Pemuco, encontramos el unico restoran del pueblo, y banqueteamos en palta con atun, y pollo arvejado. En la tarde, pasamos por el super-lindo Salto el Laja (ver foto), que queda bastante cerca a Ruta 5 por alla.


 All pictures
#1: Photo of confluence facing east to Volcan Chillan
#2: Facing north
#3: Facing east
#4: Facing south
#5: Facing west
#6: GPS
#7: Gate that leads to forestry reserve perimeter trail
#8: The right gate to enter (to get to the farm)
#9: Salto el Laja
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)