Monday, February 7, 2011

Friday 4 February: ticking along nicely on a Carretera Austral

Double rations is paying off. We managed a healthy 50 miles today on hilly ripio roads in less than 8 hours, camp to camp. Could have gone further (especially as we were on a long descent on fairly decent road) but found a nice enough spot to camp behind a banking on the road so stopped for a cheesy salami pasta fest and an early night. Last night we went out for a meal in Puerto Tranquilo to make up for the fact I'm not on the all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii that I turned down in order to be here instead, and which my colleagues will just be starting now. They don't know what they're missing down here in Patagonia!

This morning started off with all weather at once: rain, sun, and head-wind, as we slowly worked up the northwestern shore of Lago general carrera (largest lake in Chile, second largest in south America). Very hilly with steep climbs and drops, like the pembrookshire coast Emma commented. Delightful views, but hard going.

The afternoon was spent winding up the murta valley, lots more shelter from the wind, the rain eased up, and long but more steady climbing.

20 miles until Villa Cerro Castillo tomorrow, then one more stretch of big climbs and we'll be in striking distance of Coyhaique where we'll stay a couple days most likely. And we should get onto paved roads tomorrow too. Yay!

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