Saturday, 2 November 2013

Coyhaique to Rio Tranquillo

After a long than usual stop in town and with Bruce`s bike fixed we set off southwards in the sunshine. The road south of Coyjaique is paved for more than 100km - what a treat!! The countryside we cycled through was beautiful. Rolling green hills with lots of blossom trees and snow-capped mountains in the distance. I was cycling along thinking it would be a good place to make cider or fruit wine with all these fruit trees about. Due to leaving town at a rather later time than usual we did not get far in the first day and found ourselves, after about 60km and a nasty headwind, at another national park campsite. We had another day on the paved road to take us to Villa Cerro Castillo. However, it was a nasty, cold, windy day. Not made easier by the pass we had to cross over. We were completely rugged up in all our gear (including covering our faces) and battled into the wind all day. Luckily we managed to find a spot sheltered from the wind for some lunch and a moral boosting hot drink. The landscape was not very inspiring. We seemed to have lost the green trees and everything (trees, mountains, sky, rivers) was in shades of brown, white and grey. We were very happy to get to town and find and cafe for a hot choc and a campsite out of the wind. The campsite also had a kitchen where we could cook and warm ourselves on the fire - perfect!!

After Villa Cerro Castillo we lost the paved road and will not see another till we are back in Argentina. The wind was still around but the sun was out and we had glorious views of the mountains and rivers as we wended our way up the valley following Rio Ibanez. It was a tough and slow day into the wind and the road was pretty rubbish. We only got about 50 to 60km done and then found a quiet spot off the road to pitch the tent. The traffic (what little there is) pretty much disappears overnight so camping by the road is not a problem. Just have to make sure you have enough water.

We had one more day to Rio Tranquillo and due to our tough ride the day before we had a more kilometres to cover. We were up early and on the road, which turned really rubbish after about 2km. They were grading the road AKA `fixing it`, which actually makes it very soft with lots of loose rocks. Not great for cyclists. Made for slow riding and in some places even pushing the bikes. So lame. Once we dropped down to the river it improved a lot and we moved a lot quicker. In the afternoon we reached the northern end of Lago General Carrera, which is the largest lake in Chile. It was a beautiful sight to see its blue waters with the snowy mountains as a backdrop. The love of the scenery soon turned to a hatred of the road....aaaaarrrggggg. It was rubbish again and both our moods got blacker and blacker as we inched our way towards town, which felt so close!! Turns out I was hangry (hungry+angry), which is no surprise, so we ate the last of our bread and some fruit and made the last push to town. On arrival a friendly tour operator showed us the campsite, which was once again under some blossom trees and run by a lovely hostess. We finally had a shower after four days, chowed down on some delicious dinner, made use of the internet and collapsed into bed much happier cyclists.

Scenery on the road south from Coyhaique
Another nice campsite
Yay dinner time!!! We are most pleased.
A rare photo of us together at the Cerro Castillo lookout
Switchbacks on the road down to Cerro Castillo
Old road sign still going strong

Mountains on the road south from Villa Cerro Castillo
Bruce and Cerro Castillo
Rio Ibanez valley
Cool bridge on one of the side roads. Love the older bridges here!!

Roadside shrine to San Sebastian. Normally have money, smokes, flowers, water, candles and even old cellphones in them.
Back on the gravel road.....
Always excited about dinner!!!!
Sneaky roadside camping spot
I am riding with some kind of wannabe gangster

Nice views along the Rio Murta
Nice relaxing lunch on the way to Rio Tranquillo
Lago General Carrera
Me acting enthusiastic but actually swearing and cursing inside my head. Lovely views but a terrible road.
Bruce is still smiling though.......

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the cliff hanger has been resolved. Phew! Glad Bruce's bike all fixed.

    I can relate to Hangry (as Rich will testify!), nice addition to the English language.

    Bruce - "been spending most our lives livin' in a gangsta's paradise" [sing it!!!!!]