Forbidden Fruit

DSC03847As part of our plan to find detours along the Austral, we found a nice piece of sendero action to try out. Unfortunately, after putting in some serious effort to arrive at the trailhead, we were informed that it is prohibited to pass through by bike. With a bit of smooth talking we managed to cut a deal wherein we would “carry” our bikes the whole trail. As it turns out, the first day we weren’t lying. Steep climbs and bush bashing were a recipe for slow progress. Unfortunately, due to the un-transited nature of the trail, we picked up a few spikes along the way and managed to use all but two of our patches. This left us 30km from any chance of meeting anyone, with two patches, on a trail covered in spikey death.

Thankfully the following day the trail became much more clear cut. We continued to “carry” our bikes and hope that our tires wouldn’t let us down. Only 5 kilometers from the trail end Gina had a small tumble and managed to puncture her front tube again. Rather than fix it we opted to re-inflate multiple times to get to camp. The following morning all of our tires were low and we were out of patches. To ice the cake, we were on an almost untrafficked road. We spent the day trying to ride, re-inflating the tires every few kilometers until finally a truck found us midafternoon and hitched us into Cochrane.

We’re not going to give any trail names or details here as the folks who let us pass were persistent that nothing be shared. It’s a bummer that we can’t talk about the details but to be fair it’s a bit dodgy and probably most people wouldn’t opt to ride it anyway. Maybe one day, bikepacking will be seen as complimentary to hiking, as for right now there are few stigmas which seem to attach themselves to anyone with a mountain bike.

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Santa Whoknows ain’t going thirsty
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This is about as ideal as it gets.
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And the muted fall colours really add to the ambiance
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The water is all glacial, making for numerous cold wading sessions. Here, Gina can be seen using the Tammy-unit-carry-method. Thanks guys.
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Sundown
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The following morning, we embark on the tough section of trail. Steep pushing up and some dodgy downhill where careful footing is required.
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But the views up top are second to none, and there is no one around.
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When we finally make it down,we have another crossing to do.
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Along the trail, accents of red catch our eye. All this talk about being out of season, but we feel like we’re in the right season.
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The trail is still filled with old puestos though the Gauchos have left long ago.
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As we make our way up the valley, the fog lifts a bit showing off some beautiful glaciers in the near distance. It’s amazing seeing the river source so close up.
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The forest is quite dense and we managed to push our way through 15 kilometers that day.
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I’m loving it! Photo courtesy of Gina

 

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Sometimes, we get a brief hop on the saddle. errrr I meant to say carry some more…
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More rivers to cross. The water was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. There is nothing out here to foul it up.
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Gina “sits” on her bike for a brief moment before getting off and carrying it again.
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We follow a river which narrows to a canyon. We sidle for a few kilometers. This is Condor territory and we see heaps flying overhead.
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Finally, we cross a suspension bridge to the far side.
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The pampa would have made some great riding. Instead we posed this shot and Gina then “carried” her bike the rest of the way.
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The spike filled trail has led to a spike filled leg!
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Finally back on a dirt road, away from the spikeys!
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Speed demon, don’t worry she’s allowed to be riding here.
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Alamo trees, a fall favourite.
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Guanaco
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Nice try, but make em wider…
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