Photos, from two and a half months ago, on a different continent, the other hemisphere. Photos from winter while now in Maryland it’s summertime, but morning dew is still a thing. This photoset uploaded from home, where it’s nice to be back working farmers market routines, back to a different kind of relentless activity. Right now is the intermission before life back in California. But that’s now, and this is back then.
Photos. We leave the Carretera Austral via Paso Roballos, heading back to Argentina from Chile. See the fringe of snow on the mountaintops? We stay huddled in our sleeping bags all night long, and nights were long. It’s either Autumn or Winter, whichever, doesn’t matter, either way it’s late enough so far south that the dusk-time light stretches on and on, propelled by a sun that can’t quite hit the peak of the sky anymore. The dirt road over the pass deposits us onto Argentinean pampa, see the shrub bush by the roadside. Take the dirt until it ends and intersects Ruta 40. Follow paved highway lines into the sunset.
The 40 continues south, and further along it gets to a turnoff to El Chalten, gateway town to the Fitz Roy Massif. Those are the mountains Yvon Chouinard and his ilk made famous on their logo. Paul and I settle down to try and hitch a ride. We’re tired. We’re hauling south, and riding 100km to the base of the mountains only to turn around and ride back out seems, well, pointless. We just neglect to consider that the tourist season is over, and so we end up waiting 5 hours by the side of the road as the rain comes and moisture soaks slowly through all of our layers. Hitching may be faster, yes, but riding keeps you warmer.
We make it to El Chalten, eventually, and spend two days watching the sky waiting for the rain to clear. Day 3, it does, and off we go into the mountains, joined by friends made it town. We stay for a night up by a lake, then make the trek in the morning to the mountainbase, immaculately clear sky and sun shining bright, incredible luck. A break in the Patagonian malaise. Paul and I hit an equally good weather window in the Chilean Torres del Paine park a week later, we’ll take that as opportunity to gather up all the drybags from our bikes and somehow attach all the gear we need to our daypacks for a few more days on foot among the peaks. Lightweight setups certainly don’t prohibit off-the-bike undertakings.
In a few more days Patagonia turns into Tierra del Fuego, and we reach the End of the World.
Really appreciated your entire documentation of the journey – for those of us who stay closer to home, we got vicarious satisfaction from watching, reading, worrying, wondering and rejoicing as you made your way south. congratulations on your good work, stamina, and amazing writing
Barbara and Dave
Thanks for all the notes along the way! Nice to be back stateside for a while.