A lot happened since the last entry already again and we went further north.
Villa Santa Lucia – Puerto Cardenas
We had a hard time to leave our cabana; especiallly because it was very rainy and windy outside. But we finally left and made us on the way up the small pass. It got less windy but the rain got stronger. And our shoes slowely but surely got filled with water. On the way down again, I got cold as I never have been so far on this journey. We were thinking about staying in a lodge on Lago Yelcho therefore. However, the prizes were just outside of our budget. The camping there would have cost us 60 US$. Around sixfold what we pay normally which surprised us. And that without any special service.
So we just enjoyed the table tennis room for changing clothes, eating something and kept going afterwards towards the end of the lake. There we found a hospedaje (simple hotel) and payed for dinner, bed and breakfast around 50 US$ – for two person together…
Puerto Cardenas – Chaiten
It rained the whole rest of the day and also during the night. Luckily it got less in the morning. However, our clothes and shoes were still wet from yesterday. We kept going towards Chaiten but stopped on the way in the Termas El Amarillo and soaked in the 41°C hot water. We needed that. In the Termas we also met again Nicolas from Chaitur.com. I know him from my last trip in 2009. He brought some tourists to the hot springs. I took the chance to ask him a lot of questions for the next few days and he was as usual very helpful. Thank you, Nicolas!
With heavy legs (because of the hot water, nothing else), we drove again down the hill and further to Chaiten. We were pretty fast, because the road was paved again. The signs of destruction in this by a volcanic eruption in 2008 heavily hit city are still well visible. But things are getting better because the city gets now also officially rebuild. Electric power and the water system are working again. Also much more people live and work again in Chaiten. Its quite a difference to 2009 but a good one.
Chaiten – Caleta Gonzalo
After a few days in Chaiten and suroundings (were waiting for better weather), we kept going north to cross the fantastic Parque Pumalin (or better a part of it). We also passed by the volcano Chaiten. And we (especially I) couldnt just pass by here. We had to climb it. Also because this didnt work out in 2009. We reached the crater rim after around 90 minutes hiking up through the destroyed forest. Very impressiv. From the rim we had a great view on the newly build dom. This kind of volcanic features are build if the lava is very thick. If the pressure within the volcano is big enough, they get destroyed again through an explosion. However, the eruption has ended so far and only some degasing is still going on. I took the chance to create some panoramic picture with my camera and Michu created some time laps. Both will be available later, hopefully.
I could have stayed here for ever but we had to get down again; the sun was slowely setting. We reached the camping El Vulcan just before it was completely dark but there was enough time to take some pictures of the sunset. Just a question of priorities 🙂
It started again to rain heavily during the night and we had first to let the tents a bit dry in the morning before we kept going. We had lunch break at the camping Los Cascadas and made a picture taking safari to the water falls. Those pictures can be found in the galary, as usual. We drove further and had only a short break at the big Alerce trees. It rained heavily again in the mean time and didnt stop till we reached Caleta Gonzalos. We were again pretty desperate and thought that we could maybe rent a cabana there. However, it was with 130 US$ again by far outside of our budget and we had to camp therfore. This was free because the campsite was somehow officially closed…
Caleta Gonzalos – Hornopiren
It kept raining the whole night and the rain got another friend as well: heavy wind. I would even call it a storm, which made it difficult to sleep. Luckily there was a big covered area just next to our tents so that we could somehow dry our stuff and put everything together again in the morning.
For getting back to the street, we had to cross a river over a hanging bridge. Not that easy with a heavy bike. We were just getting our bikes ready as a pickup stopped next to us. Cesar, a joung chilenien guy asked us, we want to take the ferry and therefore want to put our bikes on his car. It was unbelievable but this was our goal and we just didnt know yet how we would do this. But great, problem already solved before even asked. Thank you very much, Cesar!
After a short meal in the restaurant, we drove on the ferry and sailed for around 20 minutes. Afterwards we (or better the car) had to drive around 10km to reach the next ferry. This part is probably the reason that cyclists by themself are not allowed on those ferries (or thats at least what we were told). After a few hours sailing with the second ferry did we finally reach Hornopiren where we stayed over night.
We will keep going north in the next few days. Puelo (where we are when Im writing this), Cochamo and Ensenada are some of our destinations. Afterwards we will probably go to Bariloche (Argentina). The latest updates can as usual be found in the right coloun under Twitter. And the best pictures in the gallery at http://pictures.biketravel.net . Those pictures are not shown below the text. Or of course also in the blog of Michu, with whom Im still travelling (and hopefully still for some time).
All the best from Puelo,
PS: Some of the pictures below this article are from 2010. The street through the Parque Pumalin is repaired in the mean time.