Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1300, El Peñon: Surrounded by Nature

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 14 - 2014

Cycling up to Portezuelo de Laguna Brava at 4400 m yesterday had been hard work. The air had felt very thin, so we decided to spend another day at El Peñon at 3600 m to complete our acclimatization.

When we returned to the refugio yesterday we saw that a group of road workers had arrived as well. It would have been fun, and somewhat crowded, to stay in the refugio together with the road workers, but having learned a bit or two about the Argentinian way of life, we knew that the night wouldn’t include much sleep. As Petter and I were both completely knackered we opted to put up our tents in a small valley some 500 meters away from the refugio.

In the night I had used my new sleeping bag that I bought in Santiago, and I had felt warm and comfortable. For that reason I was surprised to see ice on my water bottles outside the tent in the morning. I don’t like to feel cold so I’m very happy that my sleeping bag is working. As soon as the sun hit the tent everything warmed up nicely.

I spent the first half of the day reading Ernest Hemmingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” on my Kindle. Then I decided to do a bit of hiking. As we plan to climb Cerro San Francisco later I thought it would make sense to use the hiking muscles a bit, and not only the cycling ones.

I started to walk up through the valley where we had put up our tents. Immediately I remembered how much I like hiking. When you are cycling you are close to the nature, but after all you are on a human built road. As I walked up this valley I felt I was completely surrounded by nature; I looked around and even the tents had disappeared – I could see no human built structures at all. That was when I started to wonder if any human beings had ever set foot on the spot I was now standing before.

I had no GPS or altimeter with me, so I didn’t knew how high I made it. When I started to feel the effects of the thin air hitting me like a wall I simply turned around and started to walk down towards the tents again.

Back in the camp I had a closer look at our maps and route descriptions. We have now spent 6 days on the road since leaving Vila Union. With 20 days of food on the bikes we will need to make at least 35 km worth of progress on average each day to make it to Fiambala where we will be able to buy food again. So far our daily distances have often been less than 35 km.

Tomorrow we will try to cycle over the pass and all the way to Laguna Brava. More tough adventures ahead!

Categories: Argentina
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One Response so far.

  1. Petter says:

    nice to see the second last picture to where you hiked! from the tents, the smaller pale mountain in the front looked so big, and on your picture it’s dwarfed by the bigger ones in the background.