Blogs from Carretera Austral, Aisén, Chile, South America - page 6


South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral February 16th 2009

An interesting thing happened as the bus pulled up in Cerro Castillo. Carl, an English guy I'd first met in Futaleufu, then again in Puyuhuapi, got off to stretch his legs. Nothing too strange there you might think, you bump into the same people all the time when you're on the road. Except in this case, Carl had been cycling the Carretera Austral. So what the hell was he doing on a bus, and where was his bike? Turned out he'd managed to break it, so it was now lying back in Coyhaique, waiting to be fixed. Other people have bad luck too it seems. The journey to Rio Tranquilo took us along the shores of the Lago General Carrerra, the second largest in South America. Instantly, I was struck by its incredible turqouise colour. How ... read more
Rio Tranquillo
Limestone caves
Into the caves

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral February 13th 2009

I've been having some pretty good luck of late. From getting good weather at viewpoints, to getting a free lift from Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique, everything had been going well. In Coyhaique, I was just going to look for a campsite when I was approached by 2 girls, who had a room going spare for the same price as a camping. And when I got there they had some amazing leftover salmon, which I was welcome to scoff. I thought that nothing could possibly go wrong for me. Then came Friday 13th. It started badly, when I woke up to find a blister I have been nursing had decided to explode during the night, and my sheets now looked like something out of a 70's horror movie. I'd woken up a bit late, so after breakfast I ... read more
Well it made me chuckle
Rio Simpson, Coihaique

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral February 12th 2009

As the bus wound down the Carretera Austral from Chaiten towards Puyuhuapi, we were passing glaciers on our left one minute, crystal clear waters on our right the next, with the odd towering mountain chucked in just for good measure. It was all too good to be true, and 50km outside of Puyuhuapi, it started to rain. Really rain. Arriving in town, the rain had let up, but the sky was still threatening more, so I was more than pleased when the tourist office recommended me a camping which was under a roof. Perfect. I set up camp, had a lovely cup of tea, then decided to go on the rather cheesy interpretative trail which the office had recommended. Puyuhuapi is located at the edge of a fjord, and the first part of the walk took ... read more
Carreterra Austral sign, La Junta
Arty fool photo, Puyuhuapi
Puyuhuapi fjord

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral February 10th 2009

First of all, I need to start this entry with an admission. I went to Chaiten purely as a voyeur, planning on taking a view photos of the town, then leaving. For those of you that don't know the history, Chaiten was a busy port village until May 2008, when the nearby Volcano Chaiten erupted. This caused the river to overflow, and the town was devestated. Thankfully, everyone got out alive. Now, despite government warnings, 200 of the 7,000 residents have returned to try and get on with their lives. Anyway, I got off the bus at the dock, and set off walking into town. I figured I had about an hour until the bus returned, so I needed to be quick. This was until Nicholas drove past. Nicholas is the owner of Chaitur, and one ... read more
Volcan Chaiten
Playground covered in ash
Chaiten lava dome

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral » Futaleufu January 28th 2009

River! The Futaleufu is a world class, big-water, glacier fed, turquoise and beautiful river that flows from the eastern side of the Andes in Argentina, but then swings backward from its natural easterly course and cuts the Andes in two by heading back to Chile and making a short and steep plunge to the Pacific. While not as long or deep as the Grand Canyon, the water and rapids in the Fu are of similar size. While not having any famous mountains nearby, the canyon systems of the valley are deep, green, forested valleys filled with glaciers and jutting volcanic peaks. It is a magnificent pastoral glacial valley. The Fu is also a precious remaining gem. Several of the biggest whitewater and wild rivers in Chile have been dammed over the past 50 years, and of ... read more
three nuns peak
on the trail
At the put in for the Rio Azul

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral January 5th 2009

2009 began in fine style for us. After seeing in the new year with the family who run the hospedaje, some entertaining yanks and a couple of dutch cyclists in Tortel, we dragged ourselves out of bed after not enough sleep to take a boat through the fiords to join the Carretera Astral further south. We joined Carson, a cyclist from Germany, and together we rode three abreast on roads in much better condition than we were led to believe, safe in the knowledge that the road was ours alone until the next ferry 5 hours later. The temperature was perfect for cycling as the tailwind helped us on our way through a spectacular valley almost untouched by man save for the road flashing by beneath our wheels. Cycle thouring heaven! Just when we were thinking ... read more
Savouring the last couple of Km´s
End of the Carratera Austral
Cerre Torre, el Chalten

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral December 29th 2008

After 3 days of feasting in Coyhaique we departed feeling rejuvenated with bulging panniers filled with our xmas treats. We left with a howling tail wind and almost sunshine. Just before we left town we popped into the ´Aysen - Reserva de vida´ information centre, to learn more about the ´SIN REPRESA´battle, and were lucky enough to find a very passionate American woman to answer all our questions in english. It´s such a emotive topic with the locals of Patagonia we have had many lengthy conversations about the dams but alas in Spanish and we were struggling to peice it all together. Chile lost ownership of it´s water rights when Pinochet had power, and now multinational companies plan to dam many remote and untouched rivers, including the captivating Rio Baker, a river we followed from it´s ... read more
Sick of bumpy roads
Down to the valley of death
Refugio Rio Ñadis

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral December 27th 2008

Just a few photos, we might sort out a few words shortly. We are in the wee town of Cochrane, after some wonderful diverse days of riding and are keen to have our rest day at a interesting sounding isolated refugio down the road. So next town Totel - the town with no roads, well up until they went and built a road for us to cycle in on. On second thought only two photos, its painfully slow! We´ll do better next time promise. Christmas was great and all is good. Better hit the road.... read more
The cycling iron man

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral December 21st 2008

When we first arrived in Chile 10 days ago, we were perhaps a little dissapointed as our expectations didn´t reconcile with what we found in Futeleufu. With our pantry almost empty we hoped to restock with food and fuel, but found shops to be few, small and with limited supplies. We talked with some Americans who were faced with the prospect of a 150km drive to the nearest petrol station on a near empty tank. Days later and still not with much in the way of maps and food, we met a British cyclist heading in the opposite direction. When we mentioned that we found the Chileans to be more reserved than the outgoing and friendly Argentinos he replied "yeah, they´re all c**ts down there" and all the towns were s**tholes. Armed with this knowledge we ... read more

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral December 17th 2008

Well we obviously jinxed our vegetarian luck, with proclaiming our vegetarian sucess. That very night we had "lenteje and tocino" soup according to the picture filled with lots of veges, we found out afterwards tocino is pork fat! And it´s continued on that way as we blindly select foods from stalls and restaurants. Oh well! Waking up in a saturated tent and putting on yesterday´s soggy clothes, in order to ride another 60km´s of muddy roads in relentless rain isn´t a particularly enthusiasm enhancing experience. Things aren´t too bad once moving, but this sort of weather isn´t conducive to the long leisurely lunch breaks we have become accustomed to. Riding up a steep and rough hill, for 10km´s in the driving rain and glacial winds might not be the high point of our trip, but the ... read more
KJ and the Giant Gunnera
A bridge not far enough
Drowned rats

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