“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to work out in a gym.”
By the time we were ready to leave El Chalten and the somewhat chaotic casa de cyclistas we had been staying in, we felt as though we already knew the rural boarder crossing we were about to undertake since everyone going the other way kept talking about it. After a forty kilometer ride around Fitzroy Emily and I completed a four hour hike around the first lake in order to avoid paying thirty dollars each for the incredibly expensive one hour ferry service while the boys took all four bikes on the boat.
Once on the other side we camped with over a dozen other hikers and bikers completing the crossing, a surprising number considering the dozens of miles of hiking (or pushing for us cyclists) it entails.
The next morning we started up the most difficult and famous part of this crossing, a seven kilometer steep push up a trench like trail which was definitely not designed for bikes. We ended up pushing our bikes two by two before returning for the others, and though we feared we would be doing this all day, it was really only the first few kilometers which required us to team up. Though it was difficult, I had expected far worse given the accounts of other cyclists, and in all honesty, Kevin and I had a harder time pushing our bikes up some of the “roads” in Nepal!
After a beautiful fifteen kilometer ride through the forest, we dropped back down to the lake where we were right in time to catch an extremely expensive (seventy dollars each) three hour ferry ride which happens four times a week.
All in all we really enjoyed this rural and entertaining boarder crossing as though it was difficult, it led us to see that even with our bikes fully loaded we can go wherever we please. It also led us straight into the very quaint extremely small town of Villa O’Higgins, the official ending point (or for us starting point) for the famous Carretera Austral (or “routa siete”) which we will be riding for the next 1,000km as we make our way north through rural Chilean Patagonia.