Thursday, April 7, 2016

Continuing Along the Carretera Austral

Sunday, February 21st thru Monday, February 29th

We spent the next eight days continuing north along the Carretera Austral. Here are photos from those days:

An early morning start rewards us with breathtaking views of the valley.

The god-light shining through the morning fog highlights the layering of mountains in the distance.

A rainbow serves as the cherry on our early morning joyride.

I would live on this Patagonian ranch. Gladly.

Having joined up with the Carretera Austral once again, we experience a most enjoyable day of riding -- alongside an ambling river, on a relatively flat and mostly consistent hard-packed surface.

The only think to detract from the perfect day is Brian's swollen foot. He had been stung by a wasp the day before.

In the interest of fairness, I'll post a photo of my scummy toes.

Brian washes his clothes aside a river.

After Caleta Tortel, the next big town we roll through is Cochrane. We spend a few hours in town, just long enough to resupply and to score some yummy treats from the branches of a plum tree.

A street dog tags along as we pedal out of Cochrane. After running alongside us for 15 km, he decides to spend the night with us.

Not long after finding his comfy spot on the ground, our new doggie friend konks out.

Brian prepares dinner, in his full-on mosquito protective gear.

The next day when we stop for a view along the river, we are surprised to see a striking contradiction in the colors of the water. After pedaling a little further, we see a sign marking a short hike to the confluence of the Nef and Baker rivers. Ah, a confluence -- that explains it!

This is the small and muddied Nef River.

This is the large and glacially turquoise-colored Baker River.

And this is where the two rivers meet.

Here's a close-up of the confluence. It is fun watching the colors swirl together.

The views continue to entice... do the comical road signs.

What I thought was the clever use of a branch to hold up my bike...

...ends up being not-so-clever, thanks to a strong mid-afternoon wind gust.

We spend a better part of two days biking along the shores of Lago General Carrera, the second largest lake in South America. Prone to extreme winds, this is the same lake where Doug Tompkins (American outdoorsman, businessman, conservationist, and philanthropist) had his final adventure. In the middle of a multi-day trip last December, Doug's kayak capsized. After much time spent treading the cold waters, Doug died from hypothermia.

Two ducks enjoy Lago General Carrera on a peaceful and wind-free day.

I enjoy the lake on a peaceful and wind-free day, too.

A segment of the Carretera Austral is paved starting in Villa Cerro Castillo. After many days of traveling on less-than-stellar roads, I couldn't help but show my appreciation for having arrived at the pavement.

Signs proclaiming "Patagonia Sin Represas" (Patagonia Without Dams) are plentiful throughout the south. The signs are part of a campaign against the development of five megadams. Creation of these dams would severely compromise the region.

These hairpins were just the start of a long climb out of Cerro Castillo.



  1. VERY nice!! Love the confluence, I've seen a few like this but never so striking with the blues. Also need to get me some mosquito proof gear like that, it is a great look!

    OUCH, that poor foot!

    1. Yeah, I've never seen such a colorful confluence either. Interestingly, we met a fellow cycling tourist in El Chaltén. She has spent most of her adult life living in a more remote (read "wild") part of Alaska. She said her favorite site along the Carretera was this particular confluence. I thought that spoke volumes given the beautiful territory where she lives up north.

    2. Excellent point, I've only been to Alaska once and it was truly amazing. You are doing an excellent job of showing me stuff I might never have seen! Thank you!

  2. ¡Fantastico! Except for the mosquitoes...... At least the wind keeps them at bay. Thanks again for putting all these great images and stories together - you make it seems so effortless (and i know it is not)!

    1. Thanks, Ronaldo. :) Glad to have you reading along. :) Fortunately, the mosquitoes and other biting creatures haven't really been a problem on this trip. They really only pestered us in two or three of our campsites.


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