After a night sleeping on the bus, we set out for the "Cave of the Hands" 50 freezing kilometers along some ripio. Strange to be cycling with a group after so long solo.
May I introduce The Team
Charlie (the French Spaniard) has never cycle toured before, so doesn´t yet realise just how bad an idea it is to bring along a full size accoustic guitar....
Herzuz (one of the true Spaniards) is on a mission after waiting 8 days for Charlie to get equipped - by buying every single item (bike, panniers, tent, sleep bags etc etc etc) he needs in Punta Arenas. He thinks we should cycle all night if needed to catch up some time....
Itchaber (the other Sapniard and girlfriend to Herzuz) has to get off the bike and change gear by hand when the going gets steep and cannot cycle in straight lines???
Michael (the American) who fanicies himself as the mountain man, has fashioned sling shots from old inner tubes to catch rabbit and wants to go self sufficient by fishing all the lakes in Chile....
Should be interesting.....
The cave of Hands is located at the side of a deep canyon
It´s a cave with some hands painted on and around it... so no real suprises there. The good part is that they are up to 9000 years old and perfectly preserved due to good cover and the cold. Some have 6 fingers - due to inbreeding apparently.
Or just an ancient with a good sense of humour.
We spend some time debating tomorrow´s route back to Ruta Cuarenta (Route 40)
1) 100km round trip on windy ripio.
--- Distant Plan C - the wind is a freezing killer.
2) 20kms along the canyon, a (maybe) knee deep river crossing, plus a hike with the bikes along a track where 2 people disappeared last year.
--- Plan B - freezing rivers and dissapearances???
3) Descend into the canyon, cross a bridge and hike/climb the bikes 250 vertical metres up the other side, plus 30kms of ripio.
--- Plan A - insane, but the best of a bad set of options.
This is the cut up the other side where we climb.
We spend so long debating that the tour guides take pity on us and allow us to camp behind the ranger huts for the night with some good shelter.
You know those nights where you think - get some good sleep - big day tomorrow......