Argentina – Chile: Picking up the pieces

Argentina – Chile: Picking up the pieces

After fighting a cold in Bariloche I fled south hoping to put some serious miles on my motorbike and really get stuck into Patagonia. I re-entered Chile at Futalefew and started my journey on the Carretera Austral, a very well known road for cyclist and motorcyclist. Just after crossing the border I entered the unpredictable environment of Patagonia. It rained, it was windy, it was cold. I found the road to be absolutely terrible, it was like riding on a dried up river bed where some sections the rocks the road was made of were bigger than my head. I persevered and made it to a small road side town La Junta. My boots were full of water, I was cold, wet and shaken to my bones from the road.. I checked into a hotel and the day was over.

Just south of Bariloche, Cerro Tronador, Tronador Glacier

(Black Glacier and It’s glacial run off through the forests)

X-Pro1 XF14mm @F16 1/125s ISO 200

X-Pro1 XF14mm @F16 10secs ISO 400 – Lee Big Stopper

X-Pro1 XF14mm @F22 30secsISO 200 – Lee Big Stopper

 I decided if the sun was out in the morning I would continue to Coihaique, where I would get my bike serviced. I looked out the window and all was good.. blue skies above, no sign of rain, perfect. I set off and it’s like I had forgotten just how bad the road was and I was cursing all over again. Not even 2km from the hotel and Patagonia decided to play dirty and gave me torrential rain, I convinced myself several times that it was ‘just a shower’ or ‘just around the next bend it won’t be raining’.. how misguided I was. I had to stop serveal times just to empty my boots of the water but the road got slightly better..

This is where things begin to fall apart; I knew from google maps that the paved road to Coihaique would begin around 105-110km from La Junta, I was at 109km and coming down the range on the Austral, I took what would be my last corner, followed by a down hill section, a pick-up was coming up the hill and in the middle of the road, I moved over as far as I possible could without going into thick loose gravel. The car continued straight for me and in the last 2m before a collision I moved into the gravel, the bike just lost it.. I was flung from the bike and ended up on my gut, face in the gravel, stunned I was still not travelling on my bike, I looked up and through the scratches on my helmets glass I could see my bike on its side, horn blaring and back wheel spinning.. I thought to myself… WHAT JUST HAPPENED. I staggered to my feet and rattled from what had just happened I staggered to my bike, thinking everything was okay and I could just ride away..

The pick-up had stopped and they ran to help, I looked down and there was blood seeping through my pants on my right knee.. I started to feel pain in my left knee but no blood. The man who was driving the pick-up immediately apologised for not moving over and sharing the road.. I thought ‘your apology does me no good right now you ignorant ****’. I tore my pant leg off to assess my leg, it was a graze, I got off lucky, my bike not so much. Several other cars had stopped to help and we pulled my bike out of the loose gravel which had eaten almost half of my front wheel which is how I guess I got flung from the bike.. I was taken to a near by town and to the hospital. All was good medically.

Fast forward 20 days and I am still waiting for parts and repairs on my bike here in Coihaique. 20 days and it looks like another 7 before the bike is ready, I should be in Torres del Paine by now, I should be exploring one of the main landmarks I came here for.

With the accident taking my plans and devouring them I have tried to make the most of my time here:

Lago General Carrera’s Marble Caves

& Cerro Castillo hiding in the clouds.

X-E1 XF23mm @F8 1/60s ISO 400

X-Pro1 XF23mm @F8 1/60s ISO 400

X-E1 XF23mm @F16 1/250s ISO 400

X-Pro1 XF14mm @F16 1/60s ISO 200


X-E1 XF23mm @F11 1/500s ISO 800

I have just returned to Coihaique from a 5 day adventure into Futuro Patagonia Park where I hiked and camped atop the range, herds of Guanaco’s, the odd Andean Condor Vulture scoping me out on the trails to see if I could be it’s next scavenge, Eagles, lakes and ancient forests. It was an experience to say the least. I camped on the shores of a lake at 3500 ft in absolute solitude. It has made me enjoy the smaller things and to look at things just a little bit differently.

Futuro National Park, Patagonia.

X-Pro1 XF55-200mm @55mm F22 1/420s ISO 800

X-Pro1 XF55-200mm @128mm F4.4  1/1800s ISO 200

X-Pro1 XF55-200mm @55mm  F22 1/90s ISO 200

X-E1 XF23mm @F16 30secs  ISO 200

X-E1 XF55-200mm @78mm  F16 1/125s ISO 200

X-E1 XF55-200mm @55mm  F20 1/125s ISO 800

X-E1 XF55-200mm @200mm  F13 1/600s ISO 200

X-E1 XF55-200mm @55mm  F22 1/500s ISO 800

X-E1 XF55-200mm @90mm  F22 1/500s ISO 800

 X-E1 XF55-200mm @90mm  F22 1/60s ISO 400

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