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Day one – Cochrane to Under trees near creek (64k, 25,488k/3,300ft)

(December 6 – written by “Just Dave”)

Today was day one of our four-day “last stretch” of the Carretera Austral.  No issues.  The road surface was a bit bumpy but we are used to that.  Climbing today was not as bad as it was the last couple days so we didn’t arrive shattered for a change.  It was hard leaving our nice little cabana this morning but by now, we are used to those difficult goodbyes.

We heard from Joe and Sarah last night.  Good news, Joe got his wheel fix and they are continuing this morning.  We also heard last night from Andy and Sarah – two more Brits that we met way back in Peru.  They arrived in Co-cra-ne and were checking in with us.  We managed to get out of town before everyone this morning, as us oldies need a head start.

We were up at the usual time and enjoyed a rather large “leftovers” brekkie.  We had somehow purchased a lot of food that we couldn’t take with us, like juice, chocolate milk, too many bananas, etc – so today we had to double down on what we ate.  Probably a good thing given how few food stops we’ll find in the coming four days.  We think that there might be one empanada shop but otherwise, there is nothing.

Ferry in two days time

There are a couple of these signs for the ferry in two days time.  They all seem to have different time schedules – oh well, we’ll figure it out when we get there.

There were persistent clouds throughout the day making for very difficult picture taking.  The clouds seemed intent on blocking the mountain peaks from our view and did a pretty good job all day.  It is now just 8PM and as I type this blog we are getting our first blue sky of the day.  Perhaps that bodes well for tomorrow – what’s that saying about red sky at night…

Patagonia mountains 6

Clouds parted for a minute…

Wild river

River views are better on days like today

Patagonia mountains 2

Mountain view with a condor cruising

Patagonia mountains 1

More mountains

We ran into a couple other cyclists today.  None of them were named Sarah.  Mid-morning a nice young chap Missoula, Montana came up behind us on his lickety-split bike packing set-up.  He was so fast I thought he was a motorcycle at first.  He was kind however, slowing to chat with us and even asked us if we needed anything, “such as zip-ties”.  This really cracked me up.  I probably have enough parts to rebuild his bike with me and he is offering me zip-ties.  His offer was genuine – it was just funny.

(we learned a couple days later that Mr Lickety Split was fast for a reason, it was none other than former professional cyclist, Tyler Hamilton – how cool!)

Later we passed a French family that had stopped for lunch.  We actually met the father yesterday in the Plaza at Co-cra-ne.  He was travelling with his wife and their teen-aged daughter.  All seemed to be in good spirits as we stopped for a chat.  Funny, they also met the chap from Missoula – and also commented on how fast he was.  I’m not sure if they took him up on the zip-tie offer.

Nancy and the French family

Happy French family

Nancy cruising - big switchback

Nancy riding the switchbacks – we haven’t seen these in a while

Laguna Esmeralda outflow 1

Outflow from Lago Esmeralda

Nancy cruising - we don't go up that hill

What a relief, we got to turn right at the bottom of this climb

We didn’t make many stops today as the clouds made it much less scenic, but it still took us until 3PM to reach our campsite.  I think we crossed wires on sites as we ended up an okay one that was 3k past a rumoured nice one.  I thought Nancy wanted to stop at the second.  She did as well but she thought that the second one was the first one.

Anyway, we pulled over finally at the second stop noted in iOverlander.  It is kind of a weird site, half clear-cut, half cow pasture and no place to get 100% out of view from the road.  There is a nice crystal clear creek that we washed up in but even there, you had to crouch down low so that passing cars wouldn’t see you.  There is not much traffic either way so nude bathing and tent visibility are really not issues.  We think all the other riders must have stopped at the other site as we are alone, unless some of those cows show up later.

Our camp

An ok campsite – not overly scenic however

Nancy with cookies for Phillip and Tine

Three bags of cookies – showing off for Phillip and Tine

Tomorrow we have an early start as we need to make the Puerto Yungay ferry at 3PM.  We think it’s about 60k from our pasture/campsite.  There is rumoured to be that one empanada shop at this side of the ferry so we have something to look forward to.  Getting to the ferry early means more empanadas if the shop is open.  The ferry takes about 45 minutes and we hope to camp on the far side of it tomorrow night.

 

 

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4 responses to “Day one – Cochrane to Under trees near creek (64k, 25,488k/3,300ft)

  1. Do you think Hamilton had a support team and vehicle?

    • I think his budget is lower these days. We learned later that he helped another chap repair a wheel. In fact, other riders we’ve met all mentioned that he has offered to help everyone he passes, and hope genuinely nice he was. A nice story really.

  2. Philipp and Tine

    Seriously, Nancy? Good, that we put ourselves on a cookie diet until we reach Colombia 😉 But we have to tell you, that you are missing the one and only cookies, which is Toddy’s!

  3. So many cookies, so little time!

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