Up the road, drop on singletrack to the shortcut bridge and up again back to a road. Finally riding once more a route that someone else researched and recorded, we know what looms ahead. The four to five day jaunt organized as a track through Chile’s Lake District. Turns out the road dirt is more like soft sand, the elevation profile a series of inverted v’s where you power up a short punchy climb only to descend and then do it all over again. Then you reach the volcanoes, where the up down up tapers off until the down doesn’t exist and its all climbing.
Ice starts forming on the skin of the tents during the night. Spend those nights huddled increasingly into a ball in the sleeping bag, retained warmth paramount above all. Wake up in the morning and duck twist out of the tent to avoid dislodging tiny ice shards onto yourself. Another month of this ahead.
From the first day to the last, transition from spread out lakes to dense forest, the latter filled with the trees after which the trail is named. Natively named Araucaria and then renamed by the English as the Monkey Puzzle Tree, because the branches start so far off the ground it begs the question, how would the monkeys climb them? Branches extend out, leaves springing out in finger like ends, bark rough, canopies curved and rounded as balloons. Tall trees. Nice place to ride.