Hi Pete, thought the mtn bike club might be keen to hear how things are going over here in Chili. I'm not sure how to post stuff on the blog but if you think this is worth putting on please do so for me! Not too savy on the computer but hopefully I"ve managed to attach a few photo's, cheers Joe.
Been here at Lago Paloma for almost a couple of weeks now and having a great time. I knew it was going to be a mission to get everything together before heading off for the year. On top of this trip I needed to get my motorbike sorted for adventures later in the year before leaving so departure was a little more rushed than I would have liked. Motorbike parts seemed to get lost in the mail, some were discovered to be faulty and then at last minute I get an email from travel agent saying departing 2 days early! Eventually the motorbike was disassembled and crated for shipping late on the night before leaving and I managed to get on the plane without forgetting my insulin and looking forward to some mtn biking.
At Auckland airport met up with the other trail crew members and it was off to the Chilian capital of Santiago followed by a 3 hour flight south plus 1 hr driving and then 30 min boat trip over to our lodge which has no road access. The property is quite spectacular with steep mountain sides dropping down to the lake, and bordering ridges containing steep rock spires and hanging glaciers, pretty cool. Parts of it were once farmed and has an appearance similar to Canaan - just steeper. Our accommodation is good and we have Chilean house maids who do all the cooking etc so the boys have it real cushy. Have had a few interesting conversations with out having a clue so need to get the Spanish up to scratch. I'm the oldest in the crew by a fair bit so there is a lot of fooling around and never a dull moment.
The trails are some of the best I ever ridden, mainly big fast flowing down hills with lots of berms and jumps. We have about a hour and a half up hill ride to get to our current work site and then a great down hill ride at the end of each day. So it's been real enjoyable so far, but it's bloody tiring and the Patagonian weather is often harsh with consistent wind and cold temps. It's just dumped a good load of snow on the tops and it won't be long before we're working in it which will put an end to the good riding and slow down the work, just hope it holds off.
Hope all is well back in the Bay, enjoy the Heaphy cheers Joe.