No rain for the second day in a row, unreal.
Other than a few trucks the night before, there were no cars on the road the whole morning.
We set off to a couple of uphills leading down to Laguna Confre. The lake got a bit of a
ghostly atomosphere to it with rows of dead trees without any branches stood in the water.
When the nearby volcano, Volcan Hudson erupted in 1973, this area was covered in ashes.
I had lost count how many bridges we had crossed since Villa O'Higgins, approaching a hundred
if not more I believe. We came to a sign saying: men working next 40km. But thank god this time
it was not graters. We made a couple of detours over bridges under construction and that was it.
Brian speeded up ahead of me once we hit the flat section. I could never get tired of the jagged peaks
and snow-capped mountains around. By noon, I caught up with Brian waiting for me to have lunch together
by the road.
Just as we were finishing up our lunch, a huge Mercede RV stopped and in there, a French Couple greeted
"Bonjour" at us. Apparently, they had covered the distance that took us three days to go this morning
and met all our friends, Gabi, Chris, and Graham on various places on the road. In fact, we were surprised
that Chris was not inside because from his story, he seemed to have taken any rides he could get.
We thanked them for offereing us food and water. They soon disappeared into the dust.
After another uphill we were able to see the mountain range of Cerro Castillo. It is vast. We took a
break at a lookout point enjoying the canyon like vista before heading down the final descend to the
town of Cerro Castillo.
I could only say I felt lucky not having to cycle it up. The ripio, even downhill, was difficult
to ride with grapefruit-size rocks, soft, grainy spots, and lots of washboards and potholes.
We came to the bottom of the hill; we went up a small uphill; we were coming downhill; we saw pavement!
Nearly 1000 km of ripio had come to an end. It was liberating.
Cerro Castillo looked pretty empty. We got some bread that could almost be used for discus and some
tomatos and avocado from another "supermarcado". Once he found out we were going to Coyhaique, the
store owner said to us: "Stay here tonight and take the bus tomorrow."
Maybe a more reasonable way to go but we had our mind set on cycling.
Outside Cerro Castillo, I began to notice something odd. We were not going very fast on what seemed
to be flat pavement. And even for downhill, I still have to cycle. I asked Brian to see if I got
a flat, instead, he asked me to look back. The answer was clear, we were 2 or 3 hundred feet above
Cerro Castillo already. These stealth hills!
Along the road was mostly farmlands. It was quite nice that we could finally cycle side by side without
having to yell at each other.
At 5PM, we came to a five-layer switchback going up a really steep pass. But with pavement, we feared
nothing. After 8km and every bit of one hour and more on 1st gear, we found ourselves a nice camping
spot in the woods surrounded by snowy mountain and ice-cold streams.