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

December 26, 2019


A young Belgian couple, Daan and Malin,had pitched up at the hostal earlier yesterday and they were pleasantcompany last night as well as this morning. Daan is in a similarindustry to us so we had lots in common about which to chat.

The weather forecast for todaysuggested intermittent showers but we set off in dry but overcastconditions. It started drizzling lightly on and off for most of theway but it was practically a dry ride until we crossed the big bridgea few kilometers before Yelcho.

The route was a gentle uphill toAmarillo east of Chaiten but into a slight headwind and it seemedharder work than we thought it should. The road followed a longvalley with some snow-capped mountains on either side, unfortunatelymostly hidden by the thick clouds. The road itself was great with ashoulder for most of the way while the traffic was, almost withoutexception, careful and considerate. At Amarillo the road turnedsouthwards and the breeze was now on our backs. South of Amarillo wepassed the first glacier we would see on this trip, albeit a tinyone.

Nice road and not too much traffic.
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Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The good folks of El Amirillo think that it is the centre of the world.
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Now we started rolling along nicely andenjoyed a good relaxing ride up to Puente Yelcho. There was smallclimb, in steady rain, from the bridge at the top of which we bumpedinto a trio of cyclists – a chap from Holland, a Frenchman and aChilean woman. They were enjoying their lunch in a parada and wereheading to the abandoned campsite near the Yelcho Glacier. Reportssuggest this is a good place to camp ( I first thought they wouldcamp there but they actually rode all the way to Santa Lucia) but wehad read good things about the campsite at the Yelcho resort. A hotshower is a good trump card!

Lunch is a very rustic parada.
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Snow capped mountains peaking through the clouds.
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A tiny glacier - the first of this trip.
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In turned out that the campsite atYelcho was a bit of a disappointment, largely because of the filthystate it was in. I guess it was busy over Christmas and the staffhad not yet got around to cleaning it up on Boxing Day. They had a“special” rate for cyclists of 8000CLP, almost double the goingrate but the showers are good and we have a good shelter with a tableand chairs and a nice fireplace.

We soon had the fire going and aftermaking good use of the showers (nice and hot with great pressure –not something one always encounters in Patagonia) we sat enjoying afew beers and the leftover wine from Christmas Day.

Our shelter at Yelcho.
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The views would have been great.
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The tarp we bought in the UK works a treat in this type of weather.
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Food on Boxing Day is traditionallyleftover from Christmas Day and today was only slightly different inthat it included courses we never got to yesterday. We enjoyed thecheese and biscuits for lunch in a parada south of Amarillo, theleftover chicken went into a pasta and the Christmas Cake served asdesert after supper.

There are two other cyclists campinghere tonight, pleasant Chilean guys called David and Martin. They areonly going down to Coyhaique to complete a trip they had done earlierin the year when they had cycled northwards from Villa O'Higggins.

Today's ride: 55 km (34 miles)
Total: 251 km (156 miles)

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