Patagonia day 7: Pedaling Through the Reserva Nacional ...by Lindsay Brust - Friday, March 4, 2011
A few changes to today’s itinerary were announced yesterday. Maria Elena and the tour leaders suggested a 33km (66km total) out-and-back ride through the Reserva Nacional Llanquihue beside the Petrohue River because the road from Puerto Varas to Petrohue was under construction. A large strip of the road was torn up to put in a bike path – which I am sure future groups will enjoy. After breakfast, we all piled into the vans to shuttle the 50km to Ensenada where we could pick up supplies for a picnic lunch en route.
Unfortunately, M.E. wasn’t feeling well so she drove one of the vans and our tour leader Tristan rode sweep with us instead. (One tour leader almost always rides in case someone needs help on the route and brings up the rear to make sure that we don’t leave anyone behind.) Tristan is a talented ultra runner who regularly competes in 100 mile foot races through the mountains of Argentina. Last year he won! I got to pick his brain a little about his training (more sprints and hills), what he eats (everything) and how it feels at mile 80 (not good).
The out and back road was a little hillier then I expected but there was usually a van nearby to refill water bottles and provide snacks. After a particularly long and steep descent around 22kms into the route, I decided I was tired and it was time to turn around, so I went back up the hill and set off in the direction of the Saltos de Petrohue (Waterfalls of Petrohue). On the way, I stopped to take about 100 pictures of the Osorno Volcano and stopped for ice cream at the falls.
On the way there, we entered the national park where there were more beautiful views of the volcano as well as piles of lava rock and ash. This evening we are staying in the beautiful Hotel Petrohue and will have dinner as a full group one last time before I have to leave for the airport in the morning. There are two of us leaving this shorter 8 day tour while the rest are heading on to an extension in Chiloe Island.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first tour with ExperiencePlus! The riding was fantastic, our tour leaders added so much to the tour with their experience and their stories and several of the other members of the group and I became friends. I look forward to many more tours with ExperiencePlus! in the future!