From Pesca con Mosca camp we had a lovely cruisy day (mostly down) to the town of Manuales. The rocky peaks and faces on route to Villa Manuales were stunning. Campsite wasn´t anything to write home about, and there seemed to be more dogs than people (and all night bark offs) but the flies were fewer and the free feed of the best cherries cheered us (not that we needed cheering)
We left Manuales early following the Rio Manuales down to a major junction before turning left and following the Rio Simpson back uphill to the largest city on Route 7, Coihaique. On this stretch we met 6 cylclists heading the opposite way and passed two going the same way. We always stop and chat to cyclists. Good to get the gossip on the road ahead and the camping and to pass on the same. As Paul and Nina both found on their trips, us kiwis have the smallest loads of all. We continually wonder what we have left behind, most others have (on top of what we have) 2 front paniers and a large dry bag on top of the back paniers – is it the laptop or the mega tent or what have we forgotten.
We had a great run up the Simpson with a mega tail wind and an ever so slight uphill. The last 5km of steady climbing were a killer in the afternoon heat and we were happy to reach the shady oasis of Roberto´s camp jsut before town, Roberto being the charming host – accompanied by his black lab and her 4 irresistable pups.
Today is a rest day. Eating good/different food and some shopping. Trying the baby bottom rash prevention creme and a new pair of garish lycra which I will shorten to help solve my (not so baby) bottom problem! It is getting better. From here we cycle 2 short days before a foray on foot for a few nights into a National Park Cerro Castilla (Castle Mountain).
We read in the paper (not sure if reading is the right term, perhaps ´’plucking’ english looking words and using dictionary to translate other ones) re a large fire in the Torres Del Paine region. 5% of the park area has burnt due to a fire started (rumor has it) by an Israeli not putting out his campfire. We plan to walk in that region when we get there and hopefully still can with that situation. Tourists that do that sort of thing have a lot to answer for.