Well the daily averages had to drop sometime and it is not due to altitude (yet) but sandy and undulating roads. We have worked out how to use the log function on Alans altimeter watch and though the villages we are staying at are 300 or 400m higher than the last, the daily height gains are usually at least double that. We have reached Cachi and tomorrow we will leave the traffic behind and start climbing more seriously to the high pass of Abra Acay at 4900.
Because of our rapid ascent over the next few days we have started taking diamox (purchased here in Argentina)- we share half a pill twice a day and hopefully it will help with the ‘mal de montana’. We will also have two nights at the next town at 3100, one night at 4100 then hopefully up and down to San Antonio de Cobres (3500m) in one painful hit.
We have been making the most of the Municipal campgrounds in the small towns we end up in – to camp out of town involves filling our 6 litre bladders and carrying them,plus we enjoy the wander around the towns in the evenings after the siesta period finishes. The campgrounds are cheap, close to the centre of town, always well lit (negative point there),some come with hot showers, some with locked toilet blocks, some we get charged for, some we never see the caretaker. We have yet to share one with anyone else.
The large valley Calchaqui we are following has been populated for thousands of years. Originally by the indians who raised llamas and grew grains. Now with the help of irrigation channels that spread the river water around there are green fields and we have seen cows and sheep. It is neat to be travelling in the autumn season as the chilli peppers are all out drying on the ground of the small farmlets, there is still corn growing and there are local vegetables around to eat.
We are looking forward to the next few days…