The Lake District: Autumn Leaves, Asphalt and a Volcano
As the days grow gradually cooler Autumn leaves gather on the ground. A daily reminder that winter slowly approaches.
It is a slow spin out of Trevelin in to strong head winds and squalls of rain in Los Alerces National Park.
Feeling unwell I slow things down and ride some shorter days, seeking sanctuary and warmth inside for a couple of evenings after weeks spent camping. A chance to warm the bones and recharge the batteries.
Rain and low cloud hang in the valley giving the surrounding hills a moody feel.
Storms gather by night, each morning I wake to find the hills coated in a fresh dusting of snow.
Day by day snow draws further down the hillside.
Leaving Los Alerces National Park blue skies signal an end to unsettled weather. In need of some easy kilometers I take the tarmac to El Bolson and on to Bariloche resting for a few days in each. Promises of heavy traffic are unfounded as Argentinian tourists are now back at work after their summer holidays to the region.
By a chance encounter I spend another evening in the company of Simon and Olivia in El Bolson, and then find them leaving Bariloche at the same time. We ride 30kms out of town and wish each other safe travels.
Simon looses the race to the line in a photo finish.
The Siete Lagos route through the Argentinian Lake District provides a few easy and care free days riding. With 7 lakes you would naturally expect fine lakeside views.
Lago Falkner providing a plesant lunch stop.
Even the occasional waterfall.
And some company.
Andreas and I first met some months ago crossing the Magellan Strait. Despite being over a week in front of him leaving El Chalten, with over a week resting and relaxing he eventually catches me up in Bariloche.
We leave San Martin De Los Andes in search of ripio. After a lung bursting climb its a welcome to return to the gravel.
National Park Lanin offers super smooth ripio and an array of beautiful Autumnal colours.
Lakes are framed through the canopy.
Stops are frequent to admire the Autumnal colours.
The trails are quiet except for the sound of leaves rustling under our tyres.
And rustle they do. Barely a leaf left on the trees.
All too soon we are back in Chile.
An officious border control sees us empty each bag of its contents. We ride late in to the evening in search of a camping spot. Still the sunset more than makes up for the delay and confiscated food stuffs.
Riding through Villarica National Park the trail snakes through dense forest.
With so much good riding; Whats not to like?
Singularly one of my best days riding so far. Andreas begs to differ, declaring it one of his worst days riding.
Its easy to understand why, equipped with everything but the kitchen sink its more Panzer tank than touring bike that he rides. A quick swap of steeds leaves him drooling over Mara.
Now back to the downhill. Things get rocky…
Picking up the tarmac we arrive in Pucon under darkness. Despite divided opinions, differences are put aside and we spend a day climbing Volcan Villarica.
Our guide Rodrigo looking cool in the chilly morning temperatures.
It’s a busy day. Every one equipped with their plastic sleds for the glissade descent from the volcano. Dropping 1,400m in less than 30 minutes.
But first you need to top out, there are celebrations to be had on top on the volcano.
Along with choking fumes and sulphurous gases.
And exceptional views. With almost 6,000 volcanoes Chile is a veritable feast of volcanic cones and lava.
Trevelin – Los Alerces National Park – El Bolson – Bariloche – Villa Angostura – San Martin De Los Andes – National Park Lanin – Carrahue – Conaripe – National Park Villarica – Pucon