Gauchada Week: Diego Meier

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 For this Gauchada Week we have the pleasure to introduce you to Diego Meier, an Argentine mountain guide and biologist with a masters degree in ecotourism, who lives in Villa La Angostura. Diego is passionate about all things involving nature and the outdoors. He especially enjoys skiing, climbing, trekking, and mountain bike. He is also active in promoting conservation of native forests in Patagonia and helping rural communities develop sustainable tourism.



1. Getting to Caleta Condor on the Osorno coast is not easy, you must sail on a fishing boat for two hours on the ocean or walk an entire day and then sail up a river. Its landscape, the Huilliches rural families, and the native forest captivate you. We are currently working together with the local people on a plan to organize tourism in such a way that the beauty of the place will not be destroyed because of over-development. In the photo: paddling in a "chalupa" at Condor beach.

Place: Caleta Cóndor, Huilliche territory of Lafquen Mapu Lahual, Los Lagos Region, Chile.

2. The Mapuche life in Cholchol. I was fortunate to stay overnight and eat meals in a traditional ruca with the Paine-Catrin family. These traditional rucas, made out of a structure of sticks and reeds covered with a mat, almost always have a fire in the middle that seemingly never dies and leaves one entranced. 
3. This photo was taken during an ascent of Volcano Lanin. We set off before sunrise from the base of the volcano, using head torches. The hike wasn’t easy. The slope is 2,700 meters high, and we were carrying skis and heavy backpacks. The effort was worthwhile though because we enjoyed incredible skiing on the way down. 
4. Werner Diem is 78-years-old and as a kid he made his own wooden skis. Today, he still enjoys the mountains and together we have shared many adventures. He has passed on to me the most essential thing of all: to learn how to feel alive. I went up Osorno Volcano with him. In this photo, the peak is Puntiagudo Volcano and the clouds are coming in from the Pacific Ocean. 
5. It was cold, and the South Pacific was especially rocky, as the full moon made for a very special atmosphere in front of the island where the deity "El Abuelito Hueneteao” lives, according to Huilliche mythology. For me this photo transmits some of the magic of this place. 
6. Cerro Dormilón refuge is located in Nahuel Huapi National Park. To get there you need to cross the lake by boat and hike up the forest. My grandmother was here during the 1930s, during the first period of construction here. Years later we rebuilt this place practically replicating the original construction, in the blockhouse format. This photo was taken in autumn, when the colors in the larch forest are spectacular.



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