Wildcamp at Empalme Ruta Cuarenta - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

January 9, 2023

Wildcamp at Empalme Ruta Cuarenta

First views of Fitz Roy this morning.
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With the ferry only set to arrive at eleven o'clock it was possible to enjoy a relaxing morning along the shores of Lago del Desierto. Fitz Roy was showing itself in all its glory, something that mades spending an unscheduled night here worth any delay that it caused. 

Alan, a cycle tourist from the UK whom we had met in Villa O'Higgins, had caught a few trout fly fishing the evening before and did the same again this morning. I am amazed that such a sterile looking lake holds so many fish. The night before he had cleaned the fush and handed them out to the other campers to barbecue but this morning all of them were released. He kindly allowed others to use his fly fishing tackle and I enjoyed playing a fish he had hooked and bringing it to the shore before releasing it.

The ferry arriving at the jetty on the northern side of the lake.
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Happy snapping cycle tourists on the ferry ride.
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Once off the ferry at the southern end of the lake we spent a little time looking for some grub but after being frightened off by the prices they were asking we decided we could delay lunch until we arrived in El Chalten. So soon after twelve thirty we tackled the thirty seven kilometers of horrible ripio that leads to the town. It was hard work and the road was quite busy but most of the traffic was considerate and gave us a lot of leeway.

Leigh had been nagging me about not spending the night in El Chalten because the light wind conditions for tomorrow suited the section from the junction with Ruta Cuarenta southwards. Our memories of that section were of a hard battle into the wind for the forty kilometers from the junction to The Pink House and she wanted to avoid a repeat of that experience if possible. 

We arrived in El Chalten at about three thirty and quickly agreed that we didn't feel any more at home there than we did five years ago. The town exists purely to service the hiking and climbing tourist industry and is over crowded and over priced. I felt suffocated and alienated. So we decided to buy groceries for the road, have a late lunch and try get as far down the road to Ruta Cuarenta as possible before the sun set. After the shopping we allowed ourselves to be relieved of sixty five thousand pesos for two simple hamburgers, a plate of of chips and two Cokes before getting back on the road at five o'clock. 

Leaving El Chalten.
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Scott AndersonThose mountains!
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2 weeks ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Scott AndersonFitz Roy must be one of the most photogenic peaks on the planet.
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2 weeks ago

 There were reports on iOverlander of a new shelter at the junction that was free to use and was equipped with wifi and USB charging points. It sounded too good to be true and we didn't think we would manage the eighty seven kilometers to the junction before darkness fell or our legs gave up. However, the wind was in our favour, our legs kept going and the light held. At about a quarter past nine we arrived at the junction to find the shelter as described but occupied by none other than three young cycle tourists we had met in Villa O'Higgins, namely two Italians, Paulo and Emiliano, and Jacobus from Holland. It was a wonderful surprise and we was great to catch up on what they had been doing since leaving Villa O'Higgins three days before us.

We set up out tent outside but it took until about eleven before we had finished chatting to the three amigos and we finally got to bed after a long day.

Today's ride: 126 km (78 miles)
Total: 5,336 km (3,314 miles)

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