We knew Piedra Parada would be our last stop in Patagonia, a place that after six months had started to feel so familiar. The thought of not being there, glaring into an infinite horizon of nothingness, or towards a majestic mountain range left a vacant feeling. As we crossed the border into Argentina and headed east to Piedra Parada, it was a quiet journey.
We arrived there by sundown and the canyon shimmered, ablaze with a golden radiance. As we glided through the ripio (gravel roads accumulating clouds of dust) and swirled around the bends of the valley, it felt like we were in the only campervan that existed. That is the true Patagonia experience, that enticing feeling of going so deep into the wilderness.
We were two figures followed around by our elongated shadows as we wandered through the towering canyon. We couldn’t help but let out cries and feel the echoes reverberating, wondering how many other explorers here had done the same.
At the end of a good day of climbing, we sat perched on some rocks at the foot of a wall. As is the custom, we were invited to share a mate with two Argentinian climbers. It’s amazing how sharing a blend of tea through a straw with strangers, creates such a safe space. It felt as if the memories of all 180 days of our Patagonian trip came to life in that circle, in that canyon, as we sat there, sipping away and recounting our journey.
It’s not about the destination, but the journey they say. When we started out last year, we could point to where we were heading on a map, but we didn’t really know what to expect. What’s emerged are inspiring panoramas and important life lessons—a collection, if you will, of our future’s ‘good old days.’
Arriving at Piedra Parada at sunset provides stunning views of the canyon in its element. This is a paradise for climbing and caters for different levels, although the routes are generally more challenging. There are also opportunities here for hiking and mountain biking, but all gear should be brought with.
Parking is right by the entrance to the canyon, or just before the bridge by the River Chubut. Bring water with you – we asked a local (there are really not many people around) and they said the river water isn’t potable.
We wild camped for a few days just by the bridge. There are two campsites, but they were both closed when we visited in May, so all food should also be brought with. A Visitor Centre is currently being built by the canyon, which may result in future entrance fees, so that is worth checking.