Rather shamefully I’ve never actually been to the English Lake District, so comparisons with its Chilean counterpart are hard to draw. That said, during our few days roaming this forested wonderland there were times it felt like I’d tumbled down a rabbit hole and popped out in the British countryside I know so well. Volcanoes and quirky ‘monkey puzzle’ trees aside, the likeness was often uncanny (assuming I’m remembering it right…), spurring a certain amount of wistful nostalgia on my part. With the end of the trip looming large on the horizon, this served as timely reminder that you don’t have to travel half way round the world to find great riding and adventure, it’s just a question of making time and ‘getting out there’, often easier said than done admittedly….
Once again photos are limited as I eek out remaining battery life, but you’ll get the general idea; lakes, trees, volcanoes and some truly great dirt riding…
Our blast down from Paso Copahue neatly deposited us at the start of a great little route through the Lake District
Low water levels reveal the forested remains of a previous life
As with all good routes, there was no escaping a bit of hike a bike
Autumn has very much arrived now; a carpet of oranges and browns, with the faint crunch of leaves under tyre
At times a little on the dusty side
Possibly getting a bit carried away with the top notch trail riding, I managed to tear the sidewall of my front tyre on a rock. Always a worry on off-road adventures and a more conventional cycle tourist would likely have a spare tyre or two waiting in the wings for such eventualities. No such luxury in our case though, so out came for the needle and thread…
Backed up with a cut open toothpaste tube (the classic trail bodge) for ‘belt and braces’ peace of mind…
English countryside? Or have I just been away too long…?
Cold nights and frosty mornings give us a first taste of what’s awaiting us further south as we ride towards a Patagonian winter….
Fortunately we have a run of clear weather though and a soothing sun warms tired muscles as we climb past swathes of the intriguing ‘monkey puzzle’ trees (arauncaria arauncana) for which this region is famed
Up past the tree line…
And onto the lifeless flanks of volcan longuimay, where greens give way to greys and incredible views open up in all directions
A fast descent followed by an ‘invigorating’ climb, sees us pass through more monkey puzzle territory, before plunging down to the village of Longuimay, where, too exhausted to find somewhere better, we pitch camp by on the edge of town like a couple of hobos and bed down for the night….
We effectively followed the route Skyler blazed last year, info here.