30.01.2017 - 31.01.2017 18 °C
This morning he saddle up for the 325km ride to El Chalten with about 150km of Argentinean gravel. The first 40km connects us again to the Ruta 40 and the section that has yet not been sealed. With a variety of surface conditions, it is reasonably easy ride but you need to be switched on as any inattention will see you in the thick loose gravel dealing with a bike that feels like a large slippery, squirming eel and that will get the sphincter puckering.
We all made it without incident back onto the tar with a few stories to share and the ride into El Chalten. We again do battle with the Patagonian winds as we thunder across the limitless plains imagining that they will never end. However, subtly a shadow appears on the horizon and continues to grow to into the extraordinary towers of the Fitz Roy range and the beginning of the Patagonian ice fields.
El Chalten is a young town built in 1985 to help secure the disputed border with Chile but today with all that settled its sole reason for existence is tourism. Trekking or climbing are predominant reasons for visiting the area however there is a variety of other recreational and sporting activities not to mention an abundant variety of restaurants, wine bars and pubs and my personal favourite “La Vineria”. A rest day today and a chance to explore and I opt for the 15km walk. Taking a mini bus to the start point Roomie and I begin the walk with a couple of others through the mountains enjoying stunning views and glacial views of Cerro Fitz Roy. It was just the exercise I needed and it was good to stretch out but even better was the massage that I had booked at 5pm, then it was straight to “La Vineria” for tapas and vino. Alpha didn’t make the activities this day as he introduced a newbie to an Alpha night out!