Dec 28th Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique
Entering Puyuhaupi from the north there is a small Copec station, not on main road but just visible to the right before the shops. There are several kilometers of paved road along the lake then 50k on ripio to the junction to Puerto Cisnes, then some pavement. After crossing the Queulat river the road climbs steeply, in to ear popping altitude, through a series of hairpin bends covered in mud and loose stones. Challenging for riders not experienced in off-road conditions. Bends so sharp that it is impossible to see oncoming traffic, so great care is required.
There is very little on this section by way of shops, cafes etc. Take supplies for the day.
The road is paved to Coyhaique from the P. Cisnes junction. Good roads, traffic light until 10k from Coyhaique, then a little more busy.
A screen shot of the road map through the mountain section.
Click here to see what the road looked like from our perspective.
Woke to grey skies and cloud just above, seemed you could stand on your toes and touch it. The bikes, and sheep grazing around them, were glistening with dew. Standard breakfast at el Panque Lodge needs only to be described once, as clearly all of Chile eats the same thing every single day…. 2 Cheeses, being slices of Edam and Mozzarella, Salami and processed ham slices. There are also fruit options, yogurt and granola. You can get a couple of eggs fried up, if you ask nicely. The usual bread is served, white and hard, generally highly uninteresting. That’s it.
Coffee invariably Nescafe powder, Chile needs another revolution; this time a putsch by Generalisimo Starbuck would be a huge public service and elections could follow.
The clouds are so low, the air seems 95 percent water. Decide to exercise some reverse psychology and put on rain gear. Which largely worked.
Click Here to See more of the waterfall in the background.
Pretty easy riding on dirt till crossing the Queulat River. Road is easy enough but one must stay in the tire lanes, piles of loose stones mean a slide always imminent. This precludes looking at the views which are spectacular; waterfalls, glaciers, vegetation of every size and hue. The solution is frequent stops, which we do. Being light to 10.30 at night really helps with our dawdling progress.
After crossing the Queulat we head in to mountains and water. This is classic rainforest, water running across the road mixing mud in to the gravel. We enter the cloud. It’s like a constant drizzle. Constant streams running across the road.
We ride standing on pegs and keeping plenty of power in second gear, rear end spinning out on the muddy hairpins but we make the summit without dropping either machine. After summiting the descent to south is more gradual. We realize an off road Enduro course might have been useful before the trip but rather academic now. Standing on the pegs to reduce the center of gravity feels counter-intuitive but it really helps, and we are getting quite used to it.
Small farms few and far between here. All wood frame, wood siding. A couple of acres cleared for some cattle or sheep, a small vegetable garden.
We arrive at Coyhaique, the regional center, population about 50k. Seems huge after the last few days. Roll up to the Dreams Hotel, it’s a Casino and very up-market, just what muddy bikers need.