In a remote northern corner of the XI-region, the region of Aysén, a little gem, Laguna Escondida, is hidden. While the area around nearby Lago Verde is greatly devastated by forest fires, the area around Laguna Escondida is completely untouched. When we crossed the lake for the first time in the spring of 2011, we were the first ones who ever did that. The natural beauty completely struck us. Not a single sign of human intervention. We were only surrounded by ancient old forests, crystal clear rivers, snow capped mountains, glaciers, birds which had never seen a human being. But also by plants, lichen and mosses we did not know. While paddling our canoe accross the lake, we were wondering what was hidden below us. It made us realize that there is so much to discover, but also that we had to be very prudent. But we cannot wait to reveal the “hidden secrets” of the area and to secure them to future generations.
An expedition to the Laguna brings you back thousands of years; back to the time that the nature was still “natural”. It is very interesting to see the rapid change in vegetation while hiking up the valley of the river; from the damaged landscapes of Lago Verde to the virgin forest of Laguna Escondida.
Struck by this natural beauty we decided to make it our life project to protect this unique environment. Over the past 10 years we acquired a vast amount of land along the Escondido River and around the namesake lake. We now are the proud owners of almost 2,000 acres of land connecting Lago Verde with Lago Escondido and adjacent to the Quelat National Park. We made an agreement with Chile´s Forestry Department, the CONAF, about how to protect the area and how to make it accessible for sustainable tourism. Over the past years we built trails, small bridges, stair cases, platforms etc. as well as a camp accommodating up to 6 visitors.
We made it a goal that at least 10% of all income generated at BaseCamp is dedicated to this conservation project and that over the coming years The EscondidoProject will become an integrated part of our programs, so that all our visitors can see, feel and enjoy the impact of their visit (and with that, their financial support) on the conservation of Patagonia.
El Escondido fishing program is run as a separate operation from Patagonian BaseCamp. For more information visit www.elescondido.cl