Wildcamp at Rio Serrano - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

January 28, 2023

Wildcamp at Rio Serrano

As I was about to bring our bicycles inside yesterday evening I heard a friendly call.  It was Tim and Jo who were staying in the hostel next to our cabana.   They had arrived on the morning ferry after having a rest day in Punta Arenas the day before.  Jo is the person who had given us the contact details for our last minute deal trip to Antarctica so we are deeply indebted to her.

Today and Sunday have westerly winds predicted so heading eastwards to San Sebastian is all good.  Monday is predicted to have very strong westerly winds so we need to avoid doing  the southerly ride from San Sebastian to Rio Grande on that day because the crosswind will make it too dangerous.  However, Tuesday is predicted to have a north-westerly wind which would better suit the ride to Rio Grande. This means we need to take three days to get to San Sebastian (Argentina) to get the best out of the predicted winds.  It really is only a two day ride but we will stretch it out somehow.

As predicted the westerly wind was blowing strongly when we woke up this morning.  We still had no idea whether we would take the Y-71 (the main road and the one usually used by cycle tourists) towards San Sebastian or risk the Y-635.  The Y-635 has a climb of over five hundred  meters and we had no idea of the state of its ripio surface but it would mean the wind would be behind us for most of the ride.  Our memories of the Y-71 were of a series of short but steep climbs until it reaches the junction with the Y-635 and we would have a few sections where we would have to suffer some crosswinds.  More out of its novelty appeal than anything else we chose the Y-635.

The climb out of Porvinir wasn't too bad.  The road surface was mostly quite good and the westerly wind helped us along.  We really only had two options for the ride.  Either ride hard to make it to the refugio at the turnoff to the King Penguin colony at Bahia Intuit or take it easy and look for a place to wildcamp along the Y-635 which is what we chose to do.  

Leigh took the pragmatic approach to the steeper sections. No need to rush today.
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At the top of the climb, after about twenty kilometers, was a very nice mirador but it was very exposed and there was no place to get water. We knew there was a river, the Rio Serrano, about fifteen kilometers further on which, being in a valley, might offer some wind protection so we pushed on.

The mirador - unfortunately open on its northern side.
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Just south of the bridge at Rio Serrano we found a lovely spot amongst some daisies. It is in full view of the road but not a single car has passed since we have been here (update - 2 cars passed duringthe night). The water in the river is clean enough for a good wash and, after going through our little Sawyer Filter, will be good enough to drink. Having water at hand makes cooking so much easier as well so we can wash our plates and pots etc.  This means we will have a hot meal tonight instead of eating the leftover curry from last night cold and also cooked porridge for breakfast.

Our campsite.
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Reheating the leftover curry.
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Today's ride: 35 km (22 miles)
Total: 6,195 km (3,847 miles)

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