Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Cochrane to Tortel

After a relaxing weekend we intended to head out of town early and get on the road. Our attempt was thwarted by the supermarket being closed all weekend and not opening till 10am on Monday. We were pretty much out of all of our food and had four days with no shops till we got to Villa O´Higgins, so we needed to stock up.

We left town at about lunchtime and headed up the hill. Today we were following a string of lakes down the valley. The first, Lago Emeralda was comletely still and gave us a perfect reflection of the surrounding hills. We faffed around a bit there taking photos but knew we had to keep going due to the late start today. We hit a bit of roadworks and road grading, which slowed us a down a lot. But we made ok progress and did about 50km in the afternoon. We found a spot beside a river to camp and have a wash after a dusty day. Sunset across the river was beautiful.

The next day we started early because we had a lot of ground to cover today. More cycling beside beautiful rivers, lakes and farms. We are in a truly beautiful and quite isolated part of the world. While we were having lunch Emmanuel, who we met in Coyhaique,caught up with us. He was going to head straight to the ferry, while we were still deciding if we would get the ferry today or tomorrow. After lunch we reached the junction between the ferry and the road to Tortel. As we were to late to catch the ferry we decided to head down the road and check out Tortel. Not a decision made lightly as it was a no exit road!! Well we thought it would be worth is but as we started cycling and the headwind picked and the road got steadly worse I begun to curse our decision. On the way we were loking for a campsite to come back too once we had been to the village. We reached Tortel in midafternoon. This town is located on a fiord and has no roads. The houses and shops are connected by boardwalks. It was pretty cool to see and we had time for a quick walk around, some food and then back on the road to a campsite we had spotted. The road did not seem so bad going back and we reached the campsite in good time. It was located beside a stream but in FULL view of the road. Not really sneaky camping. What was hilarious is that all the cars that went past gave us a big toot and wave as we sat eating our dinner. It had been a long day and we had done nearly 100km with backtracking. This is pretty tough on the gravel. For the first time an entire packet of pasta was consumed and we could have eaten more!!!

Getting closer to the end of the Carretera Austral!!

Shrine on the road from Cochrane

Lago Esmeralda

Lago Esmeralda

Memorial to those who died building the road

Bruce on a switchback

Sunset at camp

On the road..................

.................and enjoying the scenery

Back by the Rio Baker again. This time closer to the sea

On the road to Tortel

Down by the sea in Tortel

Heading back to the campsite from Tortel. It has been a long day....

Campsite by the stream

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