As 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. Continue reading
It turns out my version of purgatory is probably similar to our stay in Conaripe, a overpopulated shitshow of a town which was well on its way down the same road as Pucon. We would have probably slept better had we each taken a dozen caffeine tablets rather than dealing with the screaming kids running around and tripping over our tent until midnight. This combined with our previous day of riding had put us in a state of desperation, escape cottage country at all cost. Continue reading
The Salkantay trail is offered to trekkers as a more challenging alternative to the classic Inca trail. It was a year before our trip began that I first saw Joe Cruz’s blog about bikepacking the Salkantay route. It obviously stuck in my mind. Feeling a bit lazy, Gina and I were torn as to whether or not to burn straight through to Cusco or give it a go. The nice thing about riding a fatty is that it guilt trips you whenever you try and cop out of a challenge. Boring asphalt is wasted rubber.
With my continuous sick lingering on, I was beginning to feel like a permanent resident at Joe’s place. Thankfully, I was in good company for my final days in Huaraz, as Paul was still kicking around working on his bikepacking project. I’d given up on finding a riding partner for Huayuash, but Lukas rocked into town at the knick of time. It’s rare to see cyclists travelling light, so when you do it’s pretty indicative that they’re looking to ride similar routes. The plan was made to ride south (obviously) and head east through Pastoruri Glacier, following up with a tidy little bikepack through the legendary Cordillera Huayhuash.