Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
Trip End Feb 19, 2010

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Flag of Chile  , CL.09,
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For all of those who envied me that I was going to experience summer in the middle of winter I say: we have winter in the middle of summer here instead. I was expecting heavy rain yesterday but in addition to that we had a heavy snow-fall too. The road 7 and other roads around here are very potholed and full of muddy water which splashes on our boots and legs, making us wet and cold very quickly. The temperature here is around 4-5 degrees Celcius, but it went down to -1 when we were going through the mountains. Then a snow blizzard took us by a big surprise. We tried to make a small short-cut, left the main tarmac road and entered a smaller gravel road leading into the mountains. After a while the rain started to become something like hail, then snow that became more and more dense, finally transforming into a very strong blizzard. We had to return to the main road because the surface got very slippery. Throughout the rest of the day we were riding in the rain and we have only covered 320 kms. We are going to Chaiten tomorrow to buy ferry tickets and hopefully we will be able to get on that ferry and cross the water to Gualaihue. I just looked out of the window and it's raining like hell. The people here at the bed&breakfast where we stayed for the night shut the furnace off and it’s really cold.


Apart from potholed roads, persistent heavy rains and rather chilly temperatures, we have been going through some great landscapes today. As we were crossing the mountains, the normally wide road number 7 became much narrower and we entered a very dense and high vegetation slightly resembling a tropical rain forest. At the bottom, near the road grew large over a metre in diameter leaves with stems inch thick or more. In between them were all sorts of ferns and very dense bushes. Further up were trees which didn’t look very exotic, but as they all were dripping with water, they fit well into the rainforest concept. Someone has told me some time before that Chile is very wet because all the clouds going east carried by the masses of humid air coming from the Pacific ocean stop here at the mountains and cause rain. The temperatures here are moderate to cold, but with such large amounts of precipitation, the forest here indeed resembles rainforests that can be seen further north in the equatorial regions.
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