Monday, January 13th
Distance – 197km, 80% ripio
Unlike yesterday, we got a pretty quick start out of Puyuhuapi after an unusual breakfast. The cabana made a porridge of barley an apples along with homemade bread and the ever present coffee.
We made our way north along the Carretera Austral retracing our steps past La Junta where we had spent an night on the way south. A little north of La Junta, Martyn stopped an pulled over. He then turned around and went 300 meters back down the road, stopped, put down his side stand, stood on his pegs and looked out of the hedge. Inquisitive beings that we are, we all turn around to see what was going on. I was hoping for the pudu deer, turned out be just another hanging glacier.
We took a quick trip of road to see if we could get closer but the official parking lot was just off the road so we turned around and headed back north. We soon reached the point where we had joined the Carretera Austral on our way south, Villa Santa Lucia.
A little way north, we hit tarmac which ran until we turned off on the road for Chaitén, where we turned west to head towards to the coast. Chaitén is an interesting place. It was overcome by its namesake volcano in 2008 and covered with ash in a similar fashion to Pompeii. At one time it had a population of 1000s; today it is in the 100s.
The beach goes out a lot further than it used to do. It was covered in ash and also became the dumping ground for ash from the town.
The volcano is still active and you can see the emissions from the town today. The volcano erupted again in 2009 and set pyroclastic flows down the mountainside and destroying the forests. We saw some of the results north of town as we headed out.
After a long day of riding it is nice to soak in a tub. Unfortunately, I’m quite a bit bigger by the average Chilano.