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Category: Chile

Cycling Tierra del Fuego

After we finished the Carretera Austral in Chile we took a ferry to Puerto Natales. (Still in Chile) In the Puerto Natales area we did the Torres del Paine hike. Stories and pictures can be found in a previous blog.
From Puerto Natales we are going to cycle the last part of our trip. Tierra del Fuego, Land of fire. It's a very empty part of the world, a bit like Alaska where we started this trip but also a lot different at many points.

We meet the notorious extreme hard winds, empty pampas and extraordinary wildlife. We try to camp as far as the wind or shelters make it possible.
At the Chile-Argentina border they discover incorrect stamps in our passports but they also give us food for on the road.
In the last kilometers of our trip we eat loads of empenadas, we ignore fences and we skinny dip in one of the most southern lakes of the world. Brrrrr.....

Have fun reading.

Together with Jacinta and Frank from @Spinningsouth we are leaving the ferry, coming from the Carretera Austral at the town of Tortel.

We stay in a hostel with camp opportunities in Puerto Natales. A bit crowded but ok.

Our Japanese friend Yasuhiro. He started his cycling trip in Canada, cycled to Ushuaia and from here he will fly to Spain, cycle through Europe followed by Africa. From there he will cycle back to Japan in the coming years.

Also some Belgian overlanders in the hostel. Traveling by 4x4 from Suriname to Ushuaia and back to Suriname.

Doing some last groceries before leaving town again and head for Tierra del Fuego.

Fortunate we are in good hands ๐Ÿ™‚

By bear.

A last glance at Puerto Natales.

Ruta del Fin del Mundo | The road to the end of the world.

Empty.

Camp along the empty road at night.

We have heavy tail winds and fly to Ushuaia. (but for how long?)

Small huts along the road to wait for busses. We use them for having lunch, away from the harsh winds.

Flamingos, just along the highway. We stop to take some pictures.

!!.Danger Minefields.!! The sheep are still alive so maybe we can camp in the same fields as well? Nobody will disturb us I guess ๐Ÿ˜€

No, just kidding. We didn't camp in the minefields.

We camp at a small hut. We didn't sleep in it but it was good for cooking away from the wind.

Nice spot.

The next day some ostrich run with us.

They are faster then we are.

Puento what?

In Punta Arenas we have to take a ferry to Porvenir. We have to wait till the next day because there is just one ferry a day going. We camp straight behind the ferry office and catch the ferry the next morning early.

Ferry is there.

Porvenir

The do some last groceries in Porvenir and leave it behind us. The next five days there will be no town or shops at all so we had to buckle up enough food.

Tierra del Fuego is really empty.

But also beautiful.

It was hard to find a camp spot away from the hard wind. This is the second place where we tried to put up our tent. At the first spot the wind was still too hard to put up our tent. One of the tent poles is still bend from this try ๐Ÿ™

One of the reasons we took this remote and empty road is because we wanted to visit a national park with King Penguins. Now just 50km ahead.

Yeah we made it to the penguins.

The King Penguins: Adults are 1,2m high, babies 95cm. This colony counts 300 till 400 penguins. The day we where here they counted 60 of them.

Check the big babies on the right side ๐Ÿ™‚

No head?

From a safe distance we could observe them from inside a shelter.

The observing shelter.

Close to the national park filled with penguins there is a free brand new shelter specially for tourists to sleep in, away from the wind and bad weather.

Small but very ok.

Eat down, sleep in the top where is enough space for two mattresses.

We leave again the next morning.

With, again, a lot of animals along the way.

Wild horses. The look fenced but they do jump over it easily.

Red eyed birds.

We keep following the coastline.

It doesn't look like it but very though wind here. A distance from about 30km did took us 4 hours.

At night we camp in a (too) small shelter. But we had too. The wind was to strong to camp outside the shelter.

Hard wind is freezing cold.

At this part we have tail wind. So hard we were cycling 35km an hour on these gravel roads easily. That's the fun part about a hard wind.

But soon it started snowing.

Trange weather. 10 min after the snow the sun comes out again. They often say. 'In Tierra del Fuego you can have four seasons in one day.'

At an old church we have lunch.

The last few kilometers before the border to Argentina at Paso Bella Vista.

Border is coming up. It still seems very empty.

Haha, this is all. Just a few cabins for the guys in in the office. The last cabin in the row is the office where we had to get our passports stamped.

We are through. It took a while. When we entered Chile they did give us the wrong entry stamps. We also missed an important paper which we didn't get when we entered Chile. After a discussion with the nice officer he corrected it all and stamped us out of Chile.

After a kilometer we ride into the Argentina border office. Also there a funny story; You are not allowed to bring in fresh foods as meat, cheese and vegetables. But at this crossing they didn't check out our bags at all. The opposite happened, they had just prepared fresh meat and bread for themselves and asked us if we wanted some of it as well? "Welcome in Argentina" they said "When you cycle you have to eat a lot"

Hi Argentina. First time Ushuaia is at the signpost. Ushuaia, the very end of our trip. We are discussing this town for more than 1,5 year already. "What if we reach Ushuaia?"

The empty pampas of Tierra del Fuego.

Through the iOverlander app we find this red sheep shelter for the night.

We put our tent underneath it and it starts snowing straight away.

Away from the wind and snow.

The next morning, sun again.

More pampas road to the town of Rio Grande.

After leaving Rio Grande (sorry no pictures) At some point the road stops. We had to drag our stuff over a fence and cycle over private grounds but no one did care. At a certain moment even a guy was pointing us the correct directions.

And more fences to go over. In a distance a police post but they didn't see us or maybe they didn't wanted to see us.

The sign says 'Closed for all traffic' From here on we are fine again. Highway 3 leads all the way to Ushuaia.

We start counting down. Ushuaia 198km.

181km

160km.

We expected a busy road but it was not.

Heavy rain at the horizon. We hope it stays there.

151km.

For the night we find a nice spot between old with moss overgrown trees.

Ushuaia 141km.

Panaderia (Bakery) La Union. One of the most famous Casa de Ciclistas in South America. They should also have the best empanadas of South America we have been told.

131km.

Still counting down. 121km.

111km.

In a far distance we see snowy mountains again. This stretch from Rio Grande to Tolhuin where the Casa de Ciclista is is just a very boring road. We hope around Ushuaia it will be better otherwise it will be an anticlimax after seen so much awesome landscapes.

La Union bakery & casa de ciclista.

Young dog around.

Ordering more empanadas before we take off after two nights staying here.

Bye bye La Union and many thanks!!!!!

Just 104km to Ushuaia.

Yes, more mountains in the distance.

95km.

Lunch along a big lake.

87km.

Woooh... nearly there.

82km.

78km. Check the burned forrest.

72km. How many signs can you put along a road without side roads?

66km.

62km. A sign every 4km?

We leave the big lake behind us and start cycling along a smaller mountain lake.

Tierra del Fuego Ruta 3.

Along this smaller lake there are should be some abandoned cabins we had heard. Most of them fall apart but one of them should still be okay to spend the night in.

Found it.

Inside the cabin we find Jo from England. She started her cycling trip going north this morning.

Apart from the decayed cabins this place is really awesome so we decide to stay two nights straight away. We have a lot of time left before we have to catch our plane back home so why not staying in a nice place instead of staying in 'just another' city?

We exchanged a lot of tips and tricks for cycling South America in the night and we all did sleep well. Jo at her first night in the wild, we at one of our last ones. Jo packs up again and leaves for many more adventures. We wish her loads of fun and many tailwind.

It turns out a sunny day. We discover the area.

A lot of broken down cabins. The hard wind blows them apart.

There is also an old hostel/hotel. Also abandoned and falling apart.

Once this was a very nice place.

Back in our cabin we do tea and lunch.

Arjan still in his sleeping pants ๐Ÿ˜€

Drying our tent.

Not to bad at all this place.

Skinny dipping in one of the most southern lakes in the world.

Freezing cold. 10'C brrrrr....

Leaving a personal sign at one of the walls.

"Where are you to go cycle next?"

Chilling and reading a good book.

The next morning we take of for the very last day to Ushuaia. It's just 51km with one last mountain pass the go over.

We take an off road shortcut to the mountain pass.

Pretty steep. Pushing up.

But the views are worth it.

Still some snow close to the top.

Kims bike.

The winding road we came up. In the deep the lake we camped along the last two nights.

At the look out point a touristic viewing point is build.

Ciao... we go downhill from here.

The views are getting even better. No anticlimax ๐Ÿ˜€

Ushuaia 30km.

Tom from London. He on his first day cycling to Deadhorse, Alaska, we on our last day coming from that same Deadhorse. We overload him with tips and tricks as well we did with Jo in the cabin along the lake. We are kind of jealous about him. Not because we want to cycle back to Alaska now but because we know the great feeling of having 1,5 year of open road in advance, filled up with adventure.

YES, we made it!!!. We survived!!! Last but not least Ushuaia.

Celebration with cake and a good local APA beer called Cape Horn. How appropriate.

An old boat rusting away. Just there for a nice Kodak moment.

Finally "Fin del Mundo" End of the World.

End of the World but not the very last end of our trip. We are not back home yet. At the moment we are discovering Ushuaia, we have to organize bicycle boxes and we will count out some statistics about kilometers, flat tires and that kind of things.

So we can say "Stay tuned, this story will continue!"

Thanks for reading and bye for now. Kim & Arjan.

Hiking Torres del Paine

If you think about Patagonia you probably will think about dark skies, snow, ice, glaciers, waterfalls and after all you will probably think about a rough and unpolished nature.

Torres del Paine is one of those National Parks which has it all. Through this park a hiking trail leads along many wonders of nature. Although it is no Disneyland, around a half million people a year drag themselves over those rough trails, so did we. Enjoy...

DAY 1

Our map and planning for the upcoming 5 hiking days.

Early in the morning we leave our hostel in Puerto Natales to catch the bus at 7am.

Check, the bus is still there.

After an 2 hour bus ride we arrive close to Campground Central. The views are nice already.

On our way to the campground to check ourselves in and put up our tent.

Wooden floors against the water and trees against the wind. The place is not to bad at all for a campground.

The view from the campground into the mountains. In the far distance a bit of the Torres del Paine can be seen already.

It's still early in the morning so we leave our stuff at the campground and start a dayhike to the Torres del Paine (the granite towers)

The way up starts smooth with some river crossings. (max 2 pax)

Warning: Falling Rocks!

Falling Rocks??

The view is getting better.

We pass campground Chileno halfway the Torres del Paine.

At this campground we spot this Andean Fox.

It's is sniffing around for some food.

Not afraid of humans at all.

We continue and climb higher in the mountains.

A sign with a preview of what we are going to see up the mountain.

Torres del Paine is coming up.

We are not the only ones around.

After a while we start moving back to our campground.

The trees pointing all in the same direction. Off wind.

Back at the campground Arjan makes dinner in the white tent. This is the only place where it is allowed to cook. In the past they had huge bushfires in the area because of people not using their camp stove correctly.

Our hiking profile of day 1.

DAY 2

The next morning we start off early again to hike to campground Italiano.

We fill up our backpacks and start hiking.

View over Lago Nordenskjรถld

We did bring a bunch of empanadas. (filled meat pie's) Yummie although we like them more when they are still warm.

We pass campground Cuerno.

Route over the beach.

Trees still pointing in the same direction.

Our campground for the next two nights is coming up: Campground Italiano

Campground Italiano it is.

We put up our tent and start cooking dinner.

Cooking also here only allowed at certain places.

Hike profile day 2.

DAY 3

Breakfast the next morning. The plan for today is to hike up and down to the Frances glacier and to lookout point Britanico. We leave our tent and most of our stuff at the campground and hike lightweight today.

Glacier Frances is coming up.

We climb higher and higher.

Glacier Frances. Ice and snow is falling all the time. Even at the campground we could hear it falling at night. If we didn't know better we would have thought the sound was a thunderstorm instead of falling ice and snow.

Massive!!

We continue to the lookout point.

Still not at the look out point but the views are stunning already.

True: Life is a long weekend!

Yes, there we are at Lookout Britanico.

At the lookout we meet Frank and Jacinta again. The Dutch / Belgian long distance cyclists we met on the ferry as well. (see previous blog ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Together we hike back down. At Campground Italiano we will have a coffee break together. Frank and Jacinta will go to Campground Frances after that.(They are walking the hike in the opposite direction from us.)

Langlaufen in Chile? ๐Ÿ˜€

We tap water from the glacier river and make dinner.

Hiking profile day 3.

DAY 4

In the morning it rains.

After a dry breakfast we take off to Campground Grey.

Rain turns into snow.

Welcome in Patagonia. The weather changes so fast, sometimes it can be a bright sunny day with blue sky and in 5 minutes it can be like this; grey dark sky and raining or snowing.

Or everything at the same time. Snowing with a blue sky above it. Weird!

After a while the weather turns better.

Burned forrest because of bushfires.

What a view ๐Ÿ™‚

We pass Campground Paine Grande and find this weather forecast.

Paine Grande.

We continue to Campground Grey.

Mountain lake.

Still those trees pointing at the same direction.

Burned forrest because of bushfires again.

Other hikers taking pictures from some wildlife.

Glacier Grey in a far distance.

Wild water in a narrow canyon.

At Campground Grey we check in and put up our orange shelter again.

Have a beer.

After we warmed up and had our beer we hike to the lookout point just 10min from the campground to watch the fallen glacier ice from close by.

Some info about this glacier. Too bad we still have the global warming getting worse and worse. Maybe in a 100 years or so no glacier at all anymore? ๐Ÿ™

Hiking profile day 4.

DAY 5

Cornflakes and noodles for breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚

Tent down. Last day of hiking.

We start the day with first going further up the mountain to hanging bridges number 1 and 2 to see more of the glacier before we go down again to the end of the trail at Paine Grande,

Kim at Hanging Bridge 1.

Bridge 1.

Bridge 2 is even longer.

Arjan at bridge 2.

What a view.

Looking down.... deep!!!

A little bit after bridge 2 we arrive at another stunning lookout point.

What a huge glacier.

We start hike back down again.

Hard Patagonia winds.

Back over the hanging bridges again.

We picked up our backpacks at Camping Grey again and continue to Grand Paine from where we will take the ferry and bus back to town.

A last view at Glacier Grey.

Down down down...

Lake and the end of the trail in a distance.

Welcome at Paine Grande. For us the end of the Torres del Paine trail.

Hiking profile day 5.

At Paine Grande, waiting for the ferry.

Ferry back

Bye bye Torres del Paine.

In the bus back to Puerto Natales we see a nice sunset and fall in sleep....

Back in Puerto Natales we stay an extra day at our hostel with campground. From here we will continue cycling to Ushuaia, our final destination of our 1,5 year cycling trip. It's around 780km to Ushuaia, not far anymore but we will go via an isolated bikepacking route over artic tundra and along a colony with 1,2m high King Penguins.
When we arrive in Ushuaia we will try to put the last blog online before we hop in the airplane back to Holland at the 22nd.

Will be continued...

Thanks for reading, Kim & Arjan

Cycling the Carretera Austral

After cycling the Ruta 40 in Argentina we hop over into Chile to cycle further south. In Chile we picked up the famous Carretera Austral. The Carretera Austral is a road to connect a lot of small rural villages in southern Chile. The road is roughly 1240km long and leads through a very rural but stunning part of Chile. Beside Alaska we found this one of the most beautiful parts of our cycling trip through the Americas, for so far. ๐Ÿ˜€

Have fun watching and reading again.

In the snow over the mountain pass into Chile.

Loads of melting water is coming from the mountains.

Welcome in Chile.

In National Park Puyehue we wanna stay at a ranger station but no one was there.

We cycled up, looked around but couldn't find anyone.

We didn't search further for a park ranger and did put our tent up beside the toilet building.

Nice waterfall straight behind our tent.

In the morning still no ranger seen.

We put down our tent, eat breakfast and take off again. Thanks not seen rangers.

The road is easy and with nice views around.


Fisherman

At night we find a nice spot along Lake Rupanco. The spot is very populair by fisherman but most of them don't have a license to fish. At some point the boat in the photo came along filled with police officers. All fisherman were running away.

10 minutes after the boat with the police was gone a lot of fisherman came back and fished till sunset ๐Ÿ˜€

The rain and the winds are getting worse.

Lunchtime.

Rain but big smile.

Another National Park to cycle through.

Cabaรฑas Am See. (Translated from German: House for rent along the lake) In Chile we see a lot of German language, but why?

A place to set up our tent was hard to find. This spot close to the road will do but it rains hard ๐Ÿ™

It rained all night long. We pack up and continue in the rain again.

Asphalt becomes dirt road. With all this water indeed dirty.

Some roadworks.

Fisherman

Big fish farms in the lakes.

Another camp in the rain.

Finally the famous Carretera Austral is coming up.

No Rain ๐Ÿ™‚

Gravel roads and waterfalls along them.

At a viewpoint we pitch our tent.

In the morning finally sun again after four days of rain.

But as soon we want to leave our camp spot it starts raining again.

Rain turns into hail. Not funny if you're in a downhill at 50kmp/h.

The hail was short but intense. When we pass this roadworks it's dry again.

The Carretera Austral does not continue by land all the time. Sometimes you have to take ferries. From this town, called Hornopirรฉn, the ferry goes 80km over a lake because there is no road around the lake .

Ferry booking office. We have to wait. Everything closes here between 13:30 and 17:00. Siesta, although the weather isn't hot at all.

In the meantime we enjoy the little town.

Because there is just one ferry going a day we have to wait till the next day. We check in at a cabaรฑa and dry our stuff above the woodstove.

Leaving the cabaรฑa again. The ferry is leaving in a few minutes, we have to hurry.

Just on time. The ferry is still there.


There we go. 7 hours on the ferry for a stretch of 80 kilometers.

Views from the ferry.

The ferry crossing also includes an 30 km ride over land for which there is a bus waiting for us to bring us to the next ferry.

Our bus, just 30km.

And the next ferry.

Me and my boat.

In the evening we hop of the boat and find our way to a free campground. To reach it we have to cross a hanging bridge.

Not to bad for a free campground.

And back again to the Carretera Austral the next morning.

Look out point.

Lakes and waterfalls.

Dusty roads at some parts.

Camp spot along the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic Ocean.

Romantic dinner at sunset.

Just 10m from the beach we spot sea lions and a lot of dolphins.

Birdy

Hi ๐Ÿ˜€ I'm ready to go again.

Dahm!! Arjan's back rim cracked. Made something out of old found plastic to hold the rim together. The next town is 350km away so it has to hold for a few days.

An abandoned campground is our place to stay for the night.

No one there but beautiful spot.

We don't put up our tent but sleep in this old cabaรฑa.

Free rainpants. Not to bad and even my size.

Insects found on the campsite.

The next morning we wake up again in our cabaรฑa and take off again.

In 2016 a big mudslide washed away a lot of forrest and even parts of a town. 20 people died ๐Ÿ™

It is in this town we meet Jochen from Germany. We start cycling together.

Snow...

The crack in Arjan's rim turns bad. A second plastic part has to be made.

It's a rain again.

A few waterfalls in a row,

Because the bad weather we sleep with this family. Warm and cosy.

Still rainy the next day.

50 shades of grey.

Some bridges on the Carretera Austral are just washed away.

Time for chocolate.

5km up.

On iOverlander we found this campsite. No one there, not even the owner but we camp underneath the roof. Nice and dry.

Crack is getting worse and worse. We hope we can make it to the bigger town and find a new rim.

Just 81km to Puerto Aysรฉn. Hopefully Arjan's rim will hold.

So far so good.

We check in at a small hostel along the way.

Cracked... no longer possible to fix ๐Ÿ™

Walking instead of cycling and thumb up for a ride with a pickup car or big truck.

After walking 10km a truck with logs stops and gives us a ride to halfway the town we need to be.

Thanks for the ride!!!!

Dropped of in the middle of nowhere.

Walking again and hoping for a next lift.

Nice views around.

Long way to go.

After a few kilometers a farmer stops and offers us a ride with his pick-up.

He had to go to town because his dog, Dooly, is very ill. Poor old dog.

Dropped of again, now close to a bicycle repair shop. Thanks!!!

In two days the bicycle was fixed again. We say good bye to our hosts and hit the road again.

Waterfall full of ice.

Next National Park is coming up.

Camping in a National Park is not allowed but here we found a nice hidden spot, unseen from the road.

Jochen is still with us. (or we with him... I don't know haha..)

Deers.

More deers on the left.

Bye deers.

Ice fall.

Winding down the next few kilometers ๐Ÿ™‚

Lunchtime.

Road construction. The Carretera Austral (which is the main road from north to south Chile) is closed every weekday between 13:00 and 17:00 because of explotions. When we pass this part of the road it's Sunday so we can pass through. But still it is dusty.

Work is still in progress.

End of the pavement.

Dusty again.

At an old shelter we put up our tent.

Full moon party tonight ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Carretera Austral is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of our trip through the Americas.

Hi Jochen.

From here we say good bye to Jochen. We cycled together for nearly two weeks.

We continue. Jochen stays a little longer because he is not flying back home in five weeks, as we do.

The cows and Arjan going up the mountain at the same speed ๐Ÿ˜€

Campfire at night along a wild, deep, blue river.

Coffee...Tea...???

In the morning cows around our tent.

Hard to see on photos but the colour of the rivers are so deep blue here. Unbelievable!

Enjoying the view.

Campsite.

We met Piero from Italy while he and we where cycling in Mexico. He was on his way to Canada, we on our way south. Now we meet again in the deep south of Patagonia. He working now at a brewery brewing good beers, we still cycling further south to Ushuaia.
Funny how paths can cross again after so many months and so many kilometres.

Wild river in a narrow cayon.

Going all the way down to the river.

And down.

And down.

There we are.

Most of the time when having a flat tire it's not hard to find the hole in the tire. This time Arjan needed a small stream to find it.

The Carretera Austral (Ruta 7) is going left. We go straight to Tortel from where we need to catch a ferry because the border crossing at Villa o Higgens, where we wanted to cross into Argentina again, is closed till the first of November. We don't have enough time to wait for that so we are gonna take a ferry for 3 days and sadly skip Villa O'Higgens ๐Ÿ™

Close to Tortel we camp along a big river.

Breakfast

Mate (tea)

Freedom !!!!!!

Freshly washed on the bike again.

At Tortel we met Roel from Holland. 73 years old and still going (very) strong. Cycling through South America on his own on a plustire 29er mountainbike. "Why sit alone at home when you're older and don't have to work anymore if you can explore the world as well?" Inspiring man ๐Ÿ™‚

Tortel is full of stairs.

And stairs

and stairs.

Cycling around in Tortel is like this.

At night we check in at the 3 day ferry to Puerto Natales.

Here we meet up with Frank (NL) and Jacinta (B)(@spinningsouth on Insta or spinningsouth.com) They came cycling from Vancouver, Canada and also will end up in Ushuaia, as we do.

On the second day we pass a ship wreck in one of the many fjords.

Puerto Eden. The only stop in the whole ferry ride.

We go off the boat for an hour. Stretch our legs.

Walk around the little fishermans town.

Kim making new friends.

At peoples home we drink a coffee and eat cake. Also we do a small workshop in local crafts.

Back to the ferry again.

Bye Puerto Eden.

Arjan does some photo editing while cruising.

The first night on the ferry we had a lot of rain but now the weather is sunny ๐Ÿ™‚

Beautiful views along the trip.

The last night on the ferry to Puerto Natales. From Puerto Natales we will hike in the famous Torres del Paine National Park. But that will be in a next blog. Good night for now. Cheerzzzz....

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