Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Rio Tranquillo to Cochrane

Woke to another sunny Chilean day and it was time to hit the road again. In a much better frame of mind after a day off we headed out of town. We had wonderful views of the lake all day. It was hard to capture the glacial blue colour with my rubbish camera - just imagine Lake Tekapo but WAY bigger. The road was undulating but in much better condition than expected. By the afternoon of the first day we reached the outlet of the Lago General Carrera and crossed over a cool bridge. From there we had more undulating roads but this time we had views of Lago Bertrand and the ice falls coming off the northern ice fields. Very impressive in the afternoon light!! We had heard of free camping by the Rion Baker so we bypassed the town and cycled for about 1km out of the village and found a sweet spot by the river. We were close to the outlet of the lake and the water of the Rio Baker roared past in a fury of foaming white and blue water.

We only had one more day to Cochrane and we were hoping we would be there by midafternoon. Ha!!! Best laid plans and all that. The morning started off grand. We had great views and a pretty good road following the Rio Baker. Before lunch we passed a sign that said 30km to Cochrane....sweet!! Be there for afternoon tea. HA!! Just around the corner the road was closed and we had to go via a detour. Obviously the guy on the road block thought it was obvious because he just pointed us down the road. Hmmmm not so much. The detour was not signed (not unusual here) and we ended up in a gravel pit down by the river. We then backtracked to the road block and asked again. No we could not go on the road, yes it reopened at 3pm and the detour was actually that way (pointing more directly) and then you cross a bridge over the river and cycle up over that hill.......oh ok thanks. By this point I was seething because to add to the fun, I was starving!! After a calming lunch we headed off in the right direction. Well we found the bridge and it was really cool and then we sloggged our way up the hill in the intense dry heat. It was very steep in places and we had to push the bikes. There were great views from the top. It was quite steep going down the other side too and our hands were very sore from braking. Once we reached the river again, which we needed to cross to get to town, there was no bridge. WHAT!! No bridge and no obvious boat. Hmmm feeling quite foolish right now. Then a car turned up and we saw what we thought was the dock on the otherside start floating over. Phew!!! A punty, boaty, bargy thing. A slow journey over the river and the last leg to town past a lovely trout fishing river. Finally!!! Another nice campsite in someones backyard and a delicious dinner with cold beer. We had a break for a couple of nights in Cochrane and did pretty much nothing because it was a Sunday and everything is closed. But to be honest there was not much in town anyway. There was a childrens party at the campsite on Sunday with a bouncy castle and everything. It was very entertaining to watch AND we got cake. Perfection.

Cycling by Lago General Carrera. I think I am a little dot on the road.

Cycling in the middle of the road as usual..

Bruce, long straight road and the mountiains

Bridge crossing the lake outlet

Another untrustworthy sign.......never believe the distance they tell you!!

Puerto Bertrand

Camp at Rio Baker

Rio Baker flowing from Lago Bertrand

Confluence of the Rio Baker and Rio Neff

A splash of colour in the dry landscape

Cool bridge to make up for our hot detour

Pretty colour

Bruce pushing his bike on the detour road. Punishing when it is that steep and hot.

Looking back over the Rio Baker

Reaching the end of the detour - how are we meant to cross the river?......

Oh right, that is how. The barge turns up.

Camping in the blossoms and dandelions in Cochrane

Always happy to eat some birthday cake!!

1 comment:

  1. Pilfering off little kids heh bro? The cake looks well iced, hope you got a good buzz from the colouring and went and played on the bouncy castle! :-)
    Talk about a home from home with that lake, spectacular! and to top it off with some funky looking bridges; Chilean architects have certainly got some style :-)