Impatient to get moving again, I decided my arm had healed enough to ride after 3 days of rest. So I left Cholila armed with drugs and a new fear of loose gravel roads. We headed into Parque National Los Alerces where a dirt road lead through a series of interconnected lakes backed by (more!) mountains. The park protects some of the last groves of Alerce trees, similar to California’s Sequoias.
After 3 days of hot sun, it was raining as we rode out of Cholila and ominous clouds hung over the horizon. But the rain stopped by midday and we were treated to the famous Patagonia sky at our windy lakeside camp- clouds scraping across mountains illuminated with late afternoon sunlight. We even managed to make our second successful campfire of the trip.
But in other ways we’ve been less successful of late. There must be something about these southern latitudes because although we’ve now been on the road for over two months, I can’t seem to stay on my bike anymore and Alex is accumulating a long list of lost items. My current tally is 7 falls in almost as many days – all on loose gravel roads – so I now have a nice collection of bruises and bloody scrapes. And since I ran out of painkillers my new strategy for dealing with the pain and frustration of yet another fall is kicking the back of my bike. I’m well aware this is probably not advisable. Just ask Alex how that worked out for me today. I ended up flat on my butt yet again, but at least it provided us with some entertainment. Clearly my athletic days are far behind me.
Not to be outdone, Alex has managed to lose the following items. Correction: they were “stolen”:
– 2 knives
– 1 helmet
– 1 camping towel
– 1 pair of gloves
– 1 pair of socks
Losses aside, he has an epic Patagonian beard to match the epic scenery. And in Trevelin we drink tea like sophisticated people. It’s is a little windswept town in the middle of the Argentinian steppe that was originally inhabited by Welsh colonists. Now it’s famous mostly for its Welsh tea houses and a brief mention in Chatwin’s book.