Paso Rio Mayer in Winter – the Carretera Austral alternate exit from Villa O’Higgins

“Todos los pasos est√°n deshabilitados (All the passes are closed)….It’s very complicated here in winter my friend.”, the Villa O’Higgins carabinero officer explained. “The river can be up 100 metres wide and 3 or 4 metres deep.” ¬†After days of strangely warm weather and high rainfall in Villa O’Higgins, his words made some sense. ¬†Maybe it was impassable? ¬†After all he should know what he’s talking about, right?

Winter on the Carretera Austral. Part IV. Cochrane to Villa O’Higgins

Villa O’Higgins, the end of the Carretera Austral and the start of our planned escape route out of Chile: a ‘wade’ across the multiple freezing water channels of Paso Rio Mayer (next post).
The last few posts are all centred around Patagonia’s favourite subject: the weather. But down here in Winter it really is the primary consideration for any day’s activity and it’s a topic that’s hard to avoid. … Several ‘rest’ days holed up in Hospedaje Ana Luz gave us time to contemplate how bloody cold it might get. Dropping to -10C and lower at night with undeniable consistency.

Anticlockwise Ausangate hike – by bike

“Is this fun?” I think¬†to myself stopping briefly to gasp on Ausangate’s thin air¬†and ponder the value¬†of my efforts. Stopping means no forward progress so I quickly get back to work and continue to haul¬†my laden bike up the¬†steep grassy slopes. I feel slightly dizzy due to my lack of good acclimatisation but, at last,…

Slow down if you must but don’t stop – Huancavelica to Cusco

Keep going you lazy ****. Just find the damn groove. Don’t blow yourself up by going too fast but¬†equally don’t stop altogether; find the sustainable pace that’s not overwhelmingly painful that allows you to keep making progress.¬†Even if you’re hardly moving it’s better than stopping and making no progress whatsoever. If you know you can’t…

Final leg – Trans Ecuador 5 – Cuenca to Vilcabamba

With its lower¬†altitudes this may not win the award for being the most dramatic section of the¬†TEMBR¬†but it is still a fun ride and a good way to get down to Peru… I made the mistake of deviating from the main route on the¬†penultimate day onto a rather gnarly horse track…