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Published: December 12th 2015
First of all apologies for being so late with this instalment...anyway on with the blog.
We left Argentina by minibus which took us a welcome 550m higher to the border. We crossed the Argentine and Chilean borders by bike and then had an enjoyable descent of 800m in 20km. Thereafter it was rolling ups and downs which would have been nicer without the strong headwind! We arrived in Pucón under grey skies which threatened rain and we couldn't see the Villarica volcano that we were hoping to climb the following day.
Sadly the weather forecast for the following day was poor and no trips to the volcano were running (we wouldn't have been able to see much anyway). So the plan for our free day here morphed into a cycle ride to some nearby thermal springs. The following morning we were told that the springs were closed until the evening so I decided to have an easy day. Despite finding out later that this was a lie (long story!), by this time I was 'committed' to taking it easy and was rewarded with good cup of coffee (hard to find in Chile, it's usually just Nescafe) and a truly
excellent chocolate and orange cake. Maybe the cake coloured my thinking, but Pucón seems a nice place to hang about in. The stars were out at night indicating the sky had cleared but by the following morning the cloud was back so we never got to see Volcán Villarica.
We left Pucón by van for a short transfer to the town of Villarica (to avoid a nasty stretch of main road) and then prepared for our ride, knowing the forecast was for rain all day. The forecast was correct so all our snack stops were spent huddled in bus shelters. There was also a 400m climb then 400m descent on a gravel road which was a good chance to get properly muddy, thankfully the rain had washed must of the mud away when we reached our destination! When we turned off the road before 4pm towards a cabin no one really knew what was going on. Had they found us a dry coffee stop? It turned out this was our destination for the night and we'd arrived quite early because we'd just got our heads down and slogged through the rain. Our arrival also caught the owners off guard
so we all huddled round a welcoming log fire while they got the wood stoves going in the other cabins that were nearby. Once in the cabins we set about drying everything out, they even provided some newspaper to help dry the shoes.
This turned out to be our only wet day, so overall we were very lucky with the weather.
The following day was dry for our ride to the Conguillio National Park. We had our only serious incident in the morning when someone opened their car door into Julie, one of the group. By coincidence we were only a few hundred meters past a small hospital, so Julie was taken there in the Land Rover to be checked out. Thankfully it wasn't too serious and nothing was broken, but one hand was too bruised for her to be able to cycle again. We had a lovely lunch just outside Melipeuco before heading to the lava fields of Volcán Llaima in the national park. It was amazing to ride by the edge of a lava field which at times loomed above us. The cabins at the eco lodge where we stayed were not as good as the
previous night and the shower never reached lukewarm!
For our final day we headed further up into the national park to a lovely crystal clear lagoon before retracing our pedals back to the same spot in Melipeuco for another lovely lunch. Here we said goodbye to our bikes and then transferred by van to Temuco for our final night.
Over the 4 days we covered 139 miles with 8,650 feet of climbing.
Over the whole trip we covered 355 miles with 30,430 feet of climbing.
Tot: 0.515s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 23; qc: 86; dbt: 0.0144s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb