QuickPeek: Rain. Wind. Cold. Refugio!
The internet had been pretty lousy and it was hard to get any decent reception to even get weather updates. I spied and found that the days ahead were probably rain laden, but the winds seemed to pipe down a bit over the weekend. We had spent a few days and itching to get out, really. So we decided, hook or crook, we had to start today.
We got up leisurely, enjoying the last bit of warm blankets and guaranteed roof over our heads and packed up and started around 10:30 ish. The day seemed a bit gloomy to be honest, but it was hard to predict where the weather was coming from. Well, North Obviously, since that’s where the winds were coming from and the skies seemed overcast that way. Ah well, lets hope the day was going to brighten up.
As we got on the road, there was a big rainbow over the tiny airstrip and we were glad for the pretty sight. The road was hard packed gravel and easy to ride on and we got out of town and followed the only way out. The road was rolling a little and was brisk. I got on all my rain gear and my waterproof gloves and tried to stay as warm as I could. After a little bit, there was a bridge to cross and the road led to a flat stretch by Lago Cisnes. It was pretty as the rain in front cast some gorgeous rainbows and we literally rode thro it! Well the flip side was that it put us smack bang in the rain.
For the next hour or so, we had a bit of sun and a bit of drizzle and I had gotten warm enough to take off my rain pants. Big mistake. After a short stop for snacks and coffee, right by an amazing waterfall, we got back on the road. Within minutes, we were subject to some drizzle and I figured if the weather was in and out, we might be able to survive it without too much trouble. We passed a few buildings (there seemed to be some sort of a building or farm every 7-8 kms) and saw a refugio that was popular among travellers at 30 km point. I stopped to take some pictures of the waterfalls and headed on.
Within minutes though, the rain started in earnest and it was a fight against the elements for the rest of the day. The route was rolling hills and each of them pretty steep. Nothing much in terms of altitude gain, but just rolling up and over every little turn in the mountains. The rain was hard and by this time, the water had gotten to my shoes and socks there seemed no point in switching on my rain pants ah well. It was also super heavy headwinds and the going was super slow. The road was sticky as it was packed gravel and even in the flats I was barely riding above 6-7 kmh. A bit of tough workout indeed. After a little bit, I caught up with Krista who was also soaked and we figured we should find shelter soon.
We rode up to a small farm, but there was no one and we decided to head out a bit further. A couple of k’s out, I spotted the gate with a bicycle tyre on it! I was told about this place, a refugio of sorts where we could take shelter. Awesome! We rode in and found a small cabin. We tried to make some fire, but the wood was all green and wet and we couldn’t get a fire going. Well, at least we were glad to have a bit of a roof over our head and thanked the fellers who had setup this refugio. Turned out it was a popular spot for cyclists to stay in and they had graffiti’d messages of gratitude all over! Sweet.
A bit of dinner and an early sleep hoping the sun might show up tomorrow.
Route: Villa O'Higgins to Ciclista Refugio
Distance: 53 Km
Road: Packed Gravel. Sticky in the rain.
Traffic: Super Light
Services: None. Few Potential farm houses for shelter.
Expenses: SG$ 0
Comments: Brrr. Freezing in these parts when it starts to rain!