Patagonia day 4: Hornopiren to Coleta Gonzalo (by ferry)
January 1, 2020. 0 km (+ a bunch by boat).
I had understood the plan to be that we would leave the campground at 8:30 to go buy tickets for the ferry, so I got up early and was basically ready to leave. But it turned out that the others were just walking over to get tickets, so I joined them. Turns out it would have been better to bring the bikes after all because the ticket line was really, really slow. In the end, there was a bunch of people passing off IDs and payment to each other to get the tickets purchased while we also all went back and picked up our bikes. A little stressfull, but it worked out in the end.
The ferry from Hornopiren goes in two stages, with a 15 minute drive between the two ferries. They find places for all the bikes in people's pickup trucks and under the bus that also carries foot passengers. It took a while to find a place for 9 bicycles (there were 2 French cyclists who got on before us, plus the 7 of us), but they did. The ferry was pretty nice, and is probably a bit of a mini preview for the long ferry ride I'm aiming for at the end of the trip. I took quite a lot of photos, and also spent some time inside charging electronics.
The road between the two ferries was dusty, but the bikes seem to have come through unharmed. It's perhaps a little early to say, but I think I'm really glad to have the belt drive. I can only imagine how gunked up a chain would be from all the dust on these roads. A couple of the Argentinian cyclists knew enough about fancy bike parts to recognize the Rohloff hub (also the Jones handlebars and ISM saddle), and a couple of them spent a while looking at my bike while on the ferry. I think it's pretty interesting too! Here's hoping nothing breaks.
At the end of the ferry, I decided to stay at the campground right at Caleto Gonzalo, while the group I was with plus the two French cyclists decided to bike 20km to the next camping area. I mostly just didn't want to get into cycling gear for a short trip and would prefer to have a longer day tomorrow. The French cyclists told me that they had been warned that there's a lot of traffic coming to the ferry between 10 and 12, so I guess I should try for an early start tomorrow to avoid as much of that as possible. I briefly thought about continuing on for that reason, but I'm glad I didn't because the campground here is really neat. It's over a rather nervewracking footbridge that sways when you cross it, but has lots of grassy areas with shelters and trails between them as well as ferns, forest, a really blue river, and nice bathrooms. This is the start of Pumalin Park, which seams like a pretty well maintained sort of place.
Unfortunately, the hiking trail from here is currently closed. So instead of a hike I wandered around the campground trails, made a leisurely dinner, and spent a while planning out the trip (the next few days in more detail, the rest in a sketch). I also dried all my damp things in the sun - there's been a TON of condensation overnight recently which makes getting things dry in the morning a challenge.