QuickPeek: Tourism with Local!

Today was an interesting one… David offered to give us a ride to El Chalten and we were ready to pack up our bikes and avoid the ride in the crazy winds. Its about 200+ Km and a likely 3-4 days of tough riding. However, hanging out with David has been incredible and we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave so soon and in addition, he also offered to give us a ride again over the weekend! Woohoo! So we decided to stay a few more days and enjoy the company of David & Mauricio, do some cooking and generally enjoy being here.

So we headed out at 9 am and it was a 2 hour ride along ruta 40 and 23 to get to El Chalten. The route was rolling hills with some hard winds. There were numerous cyclists we spotted along the road, I must have spotted at least 15 out of which 3 were riding north.It seemed tough out there and it was interesting to see so many cyclists on the road and not be on the road myself, hmmm. But honestly, the winds looked pretty treacherous and I was happy to be exploring this bit of the route on a truck along with David!

We rode thro numerous Estancias, lakes and rivers and as we headed towards the mountains, the landscape started to turn stunning. The hills were super beautiful and eventually we descended into the small village of El Chalten. The day was gorgeous, but we didn’t get a view of Fitz Roy, the most popular mountain in Patagonia. May be the next time around I’d be luckier. We rode thro town and it was incredible to see that the place was simply tourists. Everywhere. It was scary to see the number of people trying to hitch hike. I am all for trying to travel in alternate ways, but when you have 20 people trying to hitch in a matter of 500m, I suppose it just feels ridiculous.

David’s plan was to take us up to Lago Desierto which is the end of the road. The 40 km route from El Chalten was beautiful and a gravel route along which we probably spotted nearly another 50 people trying to hitch hike. Interesting. The place was really lovely with absolutely stunning rivers and beautiful woods. When we got to the lake, we found about 10 cyclists who had just got off the boat and packing up to continue south. I enquired about the crossing and found that it was an exorbitant 40$ to cross the 8 km lake. Bastards! Ah well, we have no choice at the moment. We stopped to enjoy the weather and take in the fresh air and simply be in the moment. It was beautiful.

After an hour or so, we headed back and stopped to see a waterfall and then rode back to El Calafate. It was incredible tat david was no only willing to show us the areas around, but was genuinely happy to spend time with us. Sophie, our french travel mate staying here was also a really charming girl and we have seemed to have formed a nice little clique with positive energy and good vibe.

In the evening, Krista made a nice salad and Sophie whipped out a really delicious apple cake. I guess given the way we are spending time here, things are pretty much perfect!

Track Notes

Road: Asphalt with narrow gravel shoulder.
Expenses: SG$ 21.94
Comments: Its a good life when I get a ride across Ruta 40 and choose to come back!