Daily Archives: December 9, 2015

Day 139/164: Hornopiren to Caleta Gonzalo – 3.5km

3 1/2 km riding today! Yes seriously! 3 kilometres from camp to the ferry terminal then a 5 hour ferry ride, then 500 meters to camp on the other side.

It was great to wake up warm and dry, having heard the rain pouring down over night. My shoes were dry and warm from the fire. As we did not have to be at the ferry terminal until 9:30 am, after breakfast at the camp I had time to come back to the cabana and have another cup of tea by the fire.



Waterfront Hornopiren

Waterfront Hornopiren

Hornpiren foreshore.

Hornpiren foreshore.

The ferry was called the Transportes Austral. A much bigger boat than the day before, with a nice warm inside area.

Me and the ferry

Me and the ferry

Getting on to the ferry

Going on to the ferry

I spent the time waiting to sail, and quite a bit of the sailing time, catching up on the blog. Plus also went outside to see the view.


Along the way (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

A full ferry!

5 hours on the ferry to Caleta Gonzalo


Ferry approaching the ramp at Caleta Gonzalo and the Parque Pumalin.

Almost there! (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

Almost there! (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

I was a bit surprised when I went outside near the end of the sailing to see all the life jackets out and wondered for a minute if I had missed something. Apparently they need to be checked and counted every week, so today must have been the day.

Life jackets on the boat

Life jackets on the boat

Finding our bikes afterwards (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

Finding our bikes afterwards (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

Leaving the ferry (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

Leaving the ferry (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

Once we got off the ferry we were already in Parque Pumalin, we just needed to go up the road to the camp site.

Arrival at Caleta Gonzalo

Arrival at Caleta Gonzalo

This park was created and is owned by the USA billionaire Douglas Tomkin  (co created the North Face). This Parque (park) is a private reserve of 700,000 hectares, which is in two sections and has been given nature sanctuary status.

The Parques cover large areas of the western Andes and has virgin temperate rain forest, it is a beautiful area. The second part of the Parque has had Puma reintroduced.  There are trees called Alerce trees, ranging from 1,000 to 4,500 years old in the forest, plus there are also the world’s smallest deer called Pudus.

The Parque cuts across Chile from the sea to the western Andes ranges. There was a lot of opposition when the Parque was bought, and a lot of suspicion about the intentions. However this has now settled, and this Parque is considered to be the most important conservation project in the world.

To get to the campsite you had to go across a wooden suspension bridge which was a bit scarey and tricky pushing a bike.

The bridge to camp

The bridge to camp (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

Beautiful camp spot (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

Beautiful camp spot (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

View from edge of camp (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

View from edge of camp (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

Categories: Chile, South American Epic | 4 Comments

Day 138/164: Puerto Montt to Hornopiren – 99km

1322 meters climbing, and 1325 descent

We have 3 new riders for this section:

Erin from Russia, who has very strong views on America and politics and is not backwards in sharing views that are confrontational.
Derek from Denver who I mistakenly though was called Jack
Brian the TDA accountant (who scouted the previous section)

Two of the riders did not get any of their laundry back. It would have been a disaster for me as I had four pairs of riding shorts and three riding shirts in the wash. It makes not getting back a pair of socks very insignificant! The hotel sends the laundry to a central place that does the laundry for a number of hotels in the area, and given we are leaving this morning I suspect this is the last we will see of the missing laundry. The other riders have helped out where possible. I am still planning to send my clothes to the laundry on the next rest day but a number of other riders are not.

Today we start along the Carratera Austral. This is a 1,200 kilometre long road, currently mostly gravel. This road was started in 2005, prior to this you could only access a third of Chile by going on a ferry. There is still a lot of Chile you can only get to by ferry. Today we have a 40 minute ferry trip and tomorrow a 5 hour trip.

The first 40 kilometres of the ride today we were riding along the coast, with some great sea views. About 3 kilometres from the ferry it started pouring. The ferry runs every 45 minutes and it was full on the crossing I was on. There was room for about 20 vehicles on today’s ferry, or a mixture of a couple of bigger vehicles and a few cars. There was nowhere inside to stand so we all got pretty cold on the crossing but the first hill warmed us up pretty quickly.

Today's ferry

Today’s ferry

Boarding the ferry (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

Boarding the ferry (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

Waiting to leave the ferry

Waiting to leave the ferry

After the first few kilometres off the ferry it was pretty much gravel the rest of the day. Some of the gravel was easy to ride on, and some was pretty slippery and steep. As with the other day if you got onto the edge of the gravel you got stuck in deep gravel, but if you stayed out on the road you had to contend with large trucks, buses and speeding cars. By the time I got to the lunch truck I was splattered with mud. It rained on and off for the rest of the ride. At least with rain it filled up the potholes with muddy water so you could see them and avoid them.

Ray in the gravel

Ray in the gravel

About 15 kilometres from the town we were are staying at the terrain reminded me off the NZ South Island’s West Coast. Wet, misty, drizzling rain, mountain ranges, and very green. I saw the first ferns I have seen since Ecuador.

Along the way today (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

Along the way today (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

There were a number of mini markets in the town, some looked like they were closed at this time of the year and others were shut due to it being siesta. The shops seem to close in this part of the country between 1:30 and 4 or 5pm, which is generally when we are riding past.

The camp site was 3 kilometres out of town and it was raining again. The site looked bleak and uninviting. No cabins. As always the better tenting spots were gone.

A damp, wet camp site (Photo credit: Jo's Facebook page)

A damp, wet camp site (Photo credit: Jo’s Facebook page)

I was looking around trying to work out where would be the best option, when one of the other riders said they had a cabin up the road with a spare room if I was interested. Plus it had a log fire which was going 😀😀😀😀 heaven. I had a great hot shower, as it had a gas fired system so you did not have to worry that you would use all the hot water.

I got to dry my soaking shoes and socks etc by the fire, and instead of being in the tent in the rain I was in a nice warm bed. There was even a shed for the bikes.

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