Cerro Castillo – Rio Tranquillo
The road to Rio Tranquillo is one of the best ones on the carretera Austral. It is a pretty good gravel road, going up and down all the time and it offers a incredible landscape.
We saw a couple of cyclists and I felt real sorry for them though: they had the wind in their face and it was strong, very strong, unforgiven… We tried to encourage them and for a solo rider we stopped and gave him some power bars. From my own bicycling days I remembered how helpful a short encouraging talk to a total stranger can be. It can get your spirits up again and keep you going. There are lots of bikers on the Austral, from all countries and all ages. It is pretty tough though, but as always, it is only a way of looking at things: we met an elderly Kiwi couple who thought is was an ok road and wind is just the way nature works, “you have to deal with it….. “. Others told us about their difficulties, especially with the deep gravel and the heavy winds and how hard it was for them… In any case: the Carretera Austral seems to be a real adventure on the bicycle. And a great road for any other traveller as well..
For us it was pure pleasure. We followed the winding road up and down and around sharp corners. Each corner offered a new surprising view. The rivers here are all fed by glaciers. Their water has an almost unnatural milky turquoise color and creates a strong contrast to the fresh green of the surrounding bushes. On the road we met James, a experianced rider from the US who is travelling on his DR650. We kept on meeting the following weeks again and again. He is a great fellow.
After a while on the road we finally hit the Lago General Carrera. So far we had to adjust our boundaries of what to call a “natural color” already a couple of times. This lake though is truly amazing. It shines in the brightest turquoise and is so big, that this strong color is taking place a large area in your field of view. It’s surface is scattered by waves which are surprisingly big. Not so surprisingly after you leave the car though, the wind is pretty strong up here and the lake very long, so the waves can pick up some momentum.
We happily arrive in Rio Tranquillo where we organize a boat trip for the next day and catch something to eat in a small place with a great view on the lake.