A Walk Through Time

Day 10 – Wednesday 17th October 2018
Ruta 40
Distance travelled:-
By plane – 0
By foot – 10.7kms/ 6.68 miles
By public transport – 216kms/130 miles
Steps taken – 16,012


Today we were off to visit Parador La Leona. This sits along Patagonia’s Ruta 40, en route from El Calafete to El Chalten which remains the most rural and beautifully breathtaking terrain on earth.

It was here in 1877 that Francisco Moreno (remember that renowned Argentian scientist and explorer) was attacked badly and injured by a female puma (“Leona” in Patagonian slang) as a result, the river was named “La Leona”.

In 1894 the National Government at that time ordered the construction of a raft that allowed the settlers, as well as their animals and merchandise to travel between the Pacific and Atlantic Coast…today a bridge sits here.

Around the same time a family of Danish Immigrants started the construction of the roadhouse and country lodge, La Leona.

It has been told that in 1905, three “gringo’s” stayed here for several days then continued on a voyage with an unknown destination.

Shortly after these three “gringo’s” left La Leona, the police arrived with several posters and the owner recognised their distinguished visitors.

We now know that the three guests were Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid and his wife Helen Page who after robbing the Bank of London and Tarapaca in Rio Gallegos made a “technical stop” at La Leona before continuing on their fleeing journey.

This structure made from mud and brick is still standing here today. They also built a country bar (saloon) and a general store that functions today as a bar and teahouse of the current roadhouse.

It’s not a coincidence that the fact they chose this region, the similarities between Patagonia and the American far west is really notable. There are large stretches of nothingness, dust, diligence, dark skies and well at least in those days anyway an uncountable possibilities of robbing a bank without being caught because if the size of the territory and police inefficiency.

Probably the spirit for adventure had a lot to do in the decision of these bandits.

There is not a massive amount to see here but I grew up watching re-runs of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid on TV as Mum, especially Dad loved all things Western, so there was an allure to walking in the footsteps of these famous gangsters.

And the two and a half million dollars has to be hidden somewhere!

Some of the world’s most famous climbers have also stayed in La Leona before embarking on their fearless and also deadly expeditions.

More than a 120 years of history at this roadhouse in Patagonia!

From here we then visited Jaramillo Petrified Forest National Park which is a protected area of petrified forest in northeast of Santa Cruz Province.

By the end of the Jurassic period an intense volcanic activity and the rise of the Andean Range, together with strong winds loaded with ashes buried these forests causing death of natural life.

The forest remained buried under the ashes resulting in death of the whole forest but the trees became fossilised.

Nowadays this incredible place is away from any populated area, in the middle of the desert, a dry climate with no water.

The petrified wood retains the original structure, including growth rings.

Most of the petrified trunks are still buried.

By now I think most people know how much I love trees, alive, growing trees! Here in Patagonia I have saw many alive forests, starting to bud. However I have also saw many dead forests which still retain their beauty.

Here it’s a different kind of forest. These trees have stories to tell and continue to remain beautiful and are evidence of what once was, history, a land before time, telling a story of the extremities they have faced. The trees have turned to stone…a whole forest preserved in stone…touching them was surreal.

When I read about this forest I knew I had to visit.

It’s an Archeological site, dinasuar bones have been found here, and traps have been set all over the land to protect the site and stop people coming in and stealing from the area. We had to hire a guide who took us around so we could visit the site.

Dinasuar bones

Dinasuar femur bone

Sometimes there are no words so I will let the pictures speak for themselves…but it was an amazing place, again pictures not capturing the landscape!

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Theresa Skelhorn says:

    I like the look of this place the style of the buildings and interiors. It does have a look of the American far west. Takes me back to my Dad always reading western books from the library then when we got a TV watching the western films like your Dad.
    Jaramillo Petrified Forest National Park looks interesting even though you have done lots and lots of research you probably learnt even more having a guide. Can’t quite get my head around the history behind this forest, definitely a walk through time and as you say very surreal.

    Theresa xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi….yes it was pretty cool….not much at the ranch but interesting just to think they had been there….the forest was pretty amazing…we had researched it before coming but the guide was great, eccentric but full of knowledge and told the history well….in a fun way! X

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  2. Helena Brogan says:

    Another day with a difference for you. I loved that film Butch Cassidy….I suppose the film glamourised them though as really they were ruthless killers. Didnt they end up getting captured in Bolivia? The Petrified Forest looked “awesome” ….(running out of adjectives to comment on the scenery there)! I can see folks wanting to take a souvenir from the forest to make a garden feature out of them. Been checking the mountain weather forecast for Fitzroy today and it says clear so hoping your having a lucky day.⛰ Ps I’ve been more interested in the weather forecast there for you, than here for us! Looking forward to the next stage of your travels.😀xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes for sure they glamourised them up they were killers and thiefs…I blame Paul Newman and Robert Redford for their part in glamourising them😉…rumour has it they died in Bolivia but then another rumour was that he seen out his days in Nevada …who knows but I didn’t find the cash!!! The forest was amazing though and touching the trees felt eerie! Thanks for the weather forecast 😁 ….I wonder if you were right??? X

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  3. Alice Reid says:

    Very different landscape from previous blogs. Had problems commenting on my ipad so now using my phone😠. Really interested in the Butch Cassidy story as I loved that film and still have the DVD. Also interested in petrified forest as I remember Grandad saying that sometimes they came across petrified trees down the pit and I seem to remember there being the partial trunk of a petrified tree just outside the museum in Dunfermline Glen. Thought of you this morning getting up at 4:30. Hope the weather has improved for you. Love /God Bless. Aunty Alice xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was a bit of a different kind of day yesterday. As I said there wasn’t much there to be honest but my imagination went wild! The forest was very I interesting and we were there for about a whole day walking through it….it was like being on what I imagine Mars! Ah that’s interesting re the trees down the pit…really! Can’t say I’ve ever seen the one in Dunfermline?? 3.30am Auntie Alice….I’m dedicated 😁😉😍

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  4. Jane boyd says:

    Hi, thatcwee house was fullnof interesting history, especialy about Butch Casidy and the Sundance Kid. When you saw the views all around your walk, you could just imagine them on there journey, and in hiding. Bet some of the cowboys Movies were filmed there, you could imagine the Indians behind the huge rocks. The Volcanic pictures were great too. Our pics from our walk up The woods with Brogan today are Not as exciting 🤣😂😃😄😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was pretty cool…I kind of was just imagining them hanging around and stuff, like I said I remember (do you) those films growing up! Petrified Forest was interesting and amazing…just a different kind of day! YOU STOLE MY DOG 😭😉😍

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  5. Alice Reid says:

    Why don’t you send us a photo Jane 😀 Perhaps Mary would like to reassure herself that Brogan isn’t pining for her. Don’t know how I feel about a dog being called Brogan. Wonder what your Dad’s reaction would be? 😕. Love /God Bless Aunty Alice xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s sent me about 40 photos🤣😂🤣😂….I can tell you this Brogan deserves the name Brogan and us Brogans should be proud of her….she is clever, determined, well behaved,gentle, loving, caring and there are a whole lot of other adjectives I could use….my dad might have called me an idiot though 🙈…..but he would have liked her 😂😉😁😘

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  6. Alice Reid says:

    I remember he wanted to buy a dog for Gran to keep her company. I nearly went mad. Another thing to trip her tr over 😠. He sI he would take it for walks etc, idea died a death. thank goodness!!! Good luck with the weather and take care xx

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