As we move further south we ride through some construction zones. I have mixed feelings about the road paving going on – it will help tourism but also will increase traffic here. I love the idea of Chilenos coming to experience the incredible beauty of this part of their country, but I hate to imagine the impact that increased traffic could have on the environment.
We ride south of the campground near the Ventisquero Colgante and head toward Coyhaique. An early start creates some beautiful lighting on some of the overgrown sections of the road.
After a few hours we finally ride out to a mirador overlooking Coyhaique across the valley below.
We get to have a wonderful surprise lunch with our new friend, Erin, who is also riding a KLR here from the USA. Then we crash at a hosepdaje for a few hours and sneak some laundry in before riding out the next day. I stock up on supplies, especially produce, since I hear groceries are more expensive and harder to find the further we go into the more remote areas of the road. After only one night in town we ride out to Cerro Castillo.
We ride west around Lago General Carrera toward Rio Tranquilo for the next couple of days. The turquoise glacial water in rivers and lakes here is unbelievably beautiful.
The morning after we set up camp in Rio Tranquilo we share a boat with friends and fellow riders from Switzerland, Markus and Karin, to go out to see the Marble Caves and Cathedral on the western edge of the lake. We have been told to go out in the morning as the light is best at that time of day to reflect the incredible aqua blue color of the water up into the gray and white marble walls of the caverns.
We spend a wonderful few days in the campground enjoying time with Markus and Karin and our cycling friend, Jim, from Pedaling for Pennies. And we get to meet a few new friends too, other riders from Germany and Canada.