The Carreterra Austral highway was built by malevolent Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, to connect Southern Chile. It starts at Puerto Mott and ends at Villa O'Higgins. It winds through mountains, volcanoes, lakes and verdant forest (when God was finished making the world, he had a little bit of everything left over in his pocket, and as he walked along, it all trickled out and created Chile). There is not much at the end of the highway; travelling it is the epitome of the Spanish word, vacilando -- the act of wandering when the journey is more important than the destination.
We started at Futelefu, found a nice stretch of highway and stuck out our thumbs. Bring a tent for camping at nights, a good book and sunscreen; you may be waiting a while. Some people bring fishing gear and gather their own meals. It’s helpful to know a little bit of Spanish, but not necessary. Having something to share, like cookies, is also a nice touch. Chileans (and South Americans in general) are endlessly generous and helpful and kind: One Chilean family first took us to have a picnic lunch with them on a lake. In total, we spent five days hitchhiking and sleeping in fields, getting to know Chile from the side of the road. When we were finished, we took an international ferry to Antigua in Argentina.