Here are a smattering of photos – the few that are worth sharing without any access to postprocessing software (I’m shooting in both RAW and jpeg so that I can at least upload this many). Our trajectory has been somewhat haphazard, starting in Villarrica, Chile, before crossing the Andes to San Martin and Bariloche in Argentina. Discovering that Argentinians all have holidays at the same time, and that they had all amassed in the Argentine Lakes District, we crossed back into Chile and have been following the coast, and then the Carretera Austral, since the top of Reloncavi Fjord.
Yesterday we turned left off the Carretera at Villa Santa Lucia on a side trip to see the emerald waters of the Futaleufu. This is a turn into the tide of cyclists taking the inland route to the Carretera. We pass almost a dozen a day, stopping to chat with each of them. With some, instand bonds of deceptive magnetism are made. We’re sure we’ll meet again farther south, to give real weight to the friendship we think we’ve made. But twenty kilometers further it’s clear they’re just another stranger, another tree, another stream we’ve shot through on life’s lazer beam. There is too much space in Patagonia for serendipity.
A rising storm and pelting headwind has us backing away from the Futaleufu after a mere glimpse. We pedal a few kilometers back toward the Carretera until the river, the road, and the sky are almost indiscernable. Panthea tells me, ”at one point it was raining so hard that I got sunscreen in my eyes. But I didn’t put any sunscreen on today.” We spend the night drying out in the cook hut of a closed campground. Today, hearing that the storm would last until Sunday, we changed directions again, heading east to Argentina and the dry (windier) side of the mountains. We should be back on the Chilean side, a couple hundred kilometers closer to Cohaique, in time for the storm to clear.