Carretera Austral – The northern part

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It does not have to be fun to be fun.

Only when waking up the next morning, we realized the magical beauty of the surrounding landscape: steep little hills peeking out of the morning mist, densely wooded with a thick rain forest vegetation, with Bromelias and Fuchsias, mosses and Nalca leaves large like umbrellas. As they explained to us later in the Queulat national park, this region contains the only rain forest vegetation of the world out of the tropical zone, probably due to its volcanic soil. Only in 2008, the tremendous eruption of the volcano Chaitén caused the evacuation of 8000 residents.
As we went on the next days, struggling hard with the rough gravel under our wheels and the dust clouds of passing trucks and road works, but blessed with a perfect weather, the vegetation turned more into the thick woods you may find in Northern Europe. Patagonia still had not shown its teeth, I guess. We enjoyed the ride below hanging glaciars and along turquoise river streams and lovely wild camp spots at the shore of deep-blue lakes, a freedom and beauty only known to cyclists.
In Puyuhuapi a third musketeer joined us, the german sports and english teacher Jens, on well-payed vacation for nine months – I won’t trust any complaints of German teachers anymore.
The local people we met in the few small country villages, so quiet that even restaurants were closed at lunchtime, seemed rather grumpy, no interest in us at all. Already asking for tap water was bothering them. But we had some friendly encounters: once, Jens had lost its badly attached breakfast bag on the shaking roads – he got it handed over from a passing car 40 kilometers and 14 hours later.
We made it to Coyhaique after 434km and 5.630 height meters in 6 days, the last place on the Carretera Austral to get a decent shower and to stock up on food and energy reserves.