It all begins with a steep mountain and a dense forest. The dirt road winds upward and into it for 14 kilometers from outside of the town of El Bolson until it dead ends at a small parking area. From there, you have to walk a few more kilometer’s to reach the “exhibit.” Actually, exhibit is a lame word that does not even come close to capturing the total awesomeness of this place. No doubt, the challenge and difficulty of the journey add to the overall experience. Yeah okay, it’s not hiking the Inca trail to Macchu Picchu but it’s the same basic principle. If you have to do something to get there, there is always better. The back drop is Mother Nature on full blast. Some years back, a small forest fire left its mark on a section of this mountainside forest. A group of a talented artists looked upon the burnt forest and saw opportunity rather than disaster. They set forth into the forest with chainsaws and carving tools, and let loose. El Bosque Tallado is the result. When Ms. B and I arrive on a sunny February morning, we have this magical place all to ourselves.
I can’t say which one I like the best. There are so many incredible sculptures, my finger grows weary from the effort of pushing the button on my camera. Wow! Look at that one…and that one…and that one… Wow! Just plain Wow!
I can’t stress enough the effect of the setting on the overall experience. The pickup truck ride on the never ending dirt track. The fresh clean mountain air as we trek the final few miles to the destination. The morning light shining through the trees to give everything a magical sparkle. No, this is not a typical display of fine art in a fancy museum. Instead, it seems like we have arrived at some type of mythical wonderland.
With sixty or so sculptures scattered about hidden among the trees and the stones it is impossible to capture the scene as a whole in words or photos. And there is no single sculpture that stands out as the best or most interesting. It really is the kind of place you have to go and immerse yourself in to truly understand. The photos on this blog might give you a tiny glimpse. But really, if you ever find yourself on the western side of Argentina you should go and see the carved forest with your own eyes. And touch it with your hands and climb over and through it with your whole body.