Chaiten - The eighth step ... Patagonia etc once more. - CycleBlaze

December 23, 2019

Chaiten

It had rained steadily from when we had arrived at our campsite last night but when we climbed into our sleeping bags the heavens opened in full force.  A strong wind also picked up which meant much of the rain was blown into the shelter.  Sometime in the middle of the night the rain and wind stopped and all we could hear was the sound of the stream, now swollen by all the rain, rushing passed a few meters away from the shelter.  Unfortunately, with the shelter being so close to the stream it meant there was a heavy dew and the tent and anything left outside was pretty wet this morning.  Lesson learnt - pitch as far away from water as is practical.

The weather in the morning seemed far more settled than a few hours earlier and we hoped for a dry ride to Laguna Blanco where we planned to spend the night.  But after about five kilometers the rain started, first gently but later quite heavily.

Nice to see signs warning motorists about cyclists on the road.
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Hills, ripio and rain.
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I'm sure I photographed this river at the Puente de Huemul last time.
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We stopped at Las Cascades, about fifteen kilometers from Caleta Gonzalo and at the top of the first big climb.  Here we had an early lunch and decided to wait for the rain to die down.  All that happened is that it got steadily heavier and after more than two hours of sitting in a shelter getting colder and colder we decided to push on to Laguna Blanco. 

This Patagonian Sierra-Finch entertained us while sheltering from the rain at Las Cascades.
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We passed a French cyclist heading for Caleta Gonzaol and he told us the weather would be even more severe tomorrow so at the entrance of the campsite at Laguna Blanco we made a snap decision to push on to Chaiten.  We were already soaked to the skin and freezing cold.  The thought of getting wet again tomorrow trumped the extra thirty four kilometers to ride in the rain today.

The ride from there to Chaiten was a long, cold and uncomfortable slog but we finally made it to Casa Grande where we surprised Andrea, the proprietor, by checking in a day early.  Before she could take it all in we had had our showers and handed her our pile of soggy clothes plus the rest of our laundry in the hope that it would all come back clean and dry tomorrow.

Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 190 km (118 miles)

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