Saturday, February 21, 2009

Escape plan

Seems both like I´ve just gotten here, and that I´ve been here a long enough time. But either way, it is now time to head back north and come home.

The bus did indeed show up yesterday morning, just one nerve-wracking hour late. And it brought me 300k south over some extremely awful roads that I am not at all sorry to have missed. Torn up from construction, ripped by recent unseasonable unusually heavy rains, and generally not all that great to begin with. Our bus even got stuck at one point in loose gravel. The kind of gravel that is not rideable on a loaded bike, or any bike probably.

Scenery might have been nice, but mostly fog. Later in the 8 hour bus ride the day opened up at bit, and the landscape changed. More open forest, smaller trees, and a strange sight: a field of golden grass, something I haven´t seen in weeks. So it must be drier here, at least sometimes.

Coyhaique is a bustling and rough little town. Ran into two US backpackers I´d met on the ferry south. Shared their hostal last night.

Trying to get a bus back north was a challenge. It´s the end of the summer season for travelers from Santiago ( the most common of visitor down here) and buses are full. Also lots of dispirited international travelers trying to get further north into warmer, drier weather. And this lost corner of Chile is only accessible by air, ferry, or though Argentina. Plus, with one of the main routes cut off by a volcano... Transportation is a bit tight.

I did manage to get a ticket leaving Tuesday, traveling through Argentina, (with no stops, I think ??) arriving Wednesday in Osorno, only 800k south of Santiago. In that main transportation corridor, I Should be able to get another bus north in time for my flight late, late Thurday night (Friday am). Yea. Hope it works.

Meanwhile, I have 3 days to have fun around here. There´s a big mountain national park only 90k away. Cerro Castillo. I hope to bus out there today, camp, hike, see stuff. Then ride back over two days. So maybe at last I will be able to see the top of a big mountain.

Dang. Seems like too much of this blog is taken up with the logistics intead of stunning reports of wild and interesting landscapes and culture. Sorry, but logistics have been the primary challenge and focus of the trip. Not quite what I was expecting. But ya get what ya get when you travel. This is what I´m getting.

Off to the mountain!


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