Wildcamp near Lago Sarmiento - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

January 18, 2023

Wildcamp near Lago Sarmiento

Last night's supper and this morning's breakfast at El Ovejero were buffet affairs. I'm not sure they take cycle tourists' appetites into account when projecting their profit margins on these types of meals but we did our best to make sure they were as slim as possible. The final bill for our stay in Cerro Castillo was eye watering but in the greater scheme of things it was worthwhile.  It was nice to be able to sleep in good linen and drink wine from a decent glass but on a cycle tour like this it needs to be the exception and not the rule.

The road to Torres del Paine started out on excellent new asfalto but we soon ended up on ripio because the old tarred road has been ripped up in preparation for converting to aslfalto.  We tried sticking to the new asfalto that had been laid but not yet made available to the public but at one point we were asked to use the temporary detour because work was taking place just ahead of us.  A few kilometers further a shout from behind invited us back onto the yet unused aslfato - it was Bruno and Sofia, a couple from Réunion, the French held island off the East African coast.  We had met them at the grocery store in Cerro Castillo and they were also heading to Torres del Paine for a few nights.

The Valle las Chinas, the name given to our hotel room at El Ovejero. The other room names were also derived from estancias and landmarks in the district.
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As we approached the mirador at Lago Sarmiento, Torres del Paine started becoming more dramatic, especially when seenwith the blue lake in the foreground.
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Our hoped for place to wildcamp tonight was a supposedly abandoned farm just past the mirador at Lago Sarmiento. The mirador itself is marked as a possible spot on iOverlander but it is very busy and not suitable for tents. Unfortunately the farm now has a locked gate at its entrance (it looks newly installed) so we had to look for an alternative. Nine kilometers further on is another mirador overlooking Lago Sarmiento but this is on a quieter road which also happened to be the shortest route to Lago Pehoe where we plan to spend the next two nights. So that's where we headed to. It was before three o'clock in the afternoon when we arrived here so we have spent the afternoon allowing our breakfast to be better digested (we skipped our usual snacks on the road and didn't even have lunch today).  

Heading onto the quieter road leading to our shelter for the night. The road was now paved after many kilometers of a poor temporary ripio road.
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Our home for the night. It is at a location marking the use of Lago Sarmiento by Gunther Pluschow. He was the first man to explore and film Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia from the air and based his seaplane, Tsingtao, here.
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The journey from a comfortable bed to rough sleeping can be very short and El Ovejero seems a lifetime away but there isn't much wrong with our little shelter. We are out of the wind and there is very little passing traffic.

Today's ride: 48 km (30 miles)
Total: 5,744 km (3,567 miles)

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