Attack of the Giant Flies!!!! Chiloe National Park    

Image for Entry 1200782350 The national park was a little bit of a let down. Maybe it's more interesting if you hike deeper but for the day tripper it's just a few paths accessible from the visitor center to take you to either forest or beach.

We chose the forest and soon were being dive bombed by huge awful flies which wouldn't go away. We started letting them land on one of us so the other could try to whack them but many times the fly would just fall to the ground only to spring back to life and soar far up into the sky out of reach. A couple minutes later it would be back buzzing around our heads. We finally managed to shake them when we entered the Tepual area.

The Tepual area is a rare ecological area protected by the park. It seemed like it made up only a small part and according to the signs on the educational trail, lots had been destroyed by people. The path was a wooden walkway that led into a damp, shady area with twisted trees with leafy plants growing from their trunks, mossy floor, and climbing plants traditionally used in potions to cure fear. Judging from the signs, there was lots of folklore related to the area including a bird whose call could auger good or bad luck depending on what side of the path it came from and orange berries said to be the food of elves. Though the path was short, it was interesting and we were sorry to leave it (and get back into fly territory). Following a sign, we ended up at a cafe which seemed in the middle of the forest. It was a house with wooden tables set up outside, shaded by thatched roofs. It turned out that it was only about 20 feet from the road on the other side.

Next we took a path that led to the beach. It went through a brief bit of forest with red-trunked trees then traversed some sand dunes before spitting us out on the beach. The flies had once again joined us. We walked up the beach but even the ocean breeze couldn't rid us of our winged harassers. The beach was tranquil with stretches of nearly empty sand.

It was strewn with razor clam shells and funny little birds ran up and down with the waves. Fishing birds of prey circled and sometimes landed on the sand to eat whatever they caught.

One interesting thing we found was a whale jaw bone which had parts chipped off revealing a porous, bubbled looking interior.

Since we'd been wandering aimlessly around the beach, we lost the path back to the visitor center. Instead we tried to cut back to the road which led to wandering through dunes, bushwhacking through brambles, twisted tree trunks, rushes and ferns, and navigating a marshy area. After squeezing through a 2nd barbed wire fence, we made it back to the road, covered with fern spores and prickly plant seeds. The dusty gravel road brought us back to the visitor center, followed by flies all the way. The flies made us both hate nature that day and we discussed the possibility that perhaps we need to get back to the city.

On a more positive note, we saw a mother falcon and her two babies sitting in a tree by the visitor center. Later, as we ate lunch, the mother joined us on a wooden post tearing up some animal and flying off to bring pieces to her babies.

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