Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Road To Potosi - 1

Tuesday 8th July

208 kilometers, starting at 3660 metres, finishing at 4060 metres, that´s the road to Potosi.

It starts with a climb, between those two hills....

And then up and over them there hills....

Looking back at the distant Salar de Uyuni...

Up to Pulacayo, an old gold mining town established in 1890. It also has a train graveyard - all the old rolling stock that originally served the mine. Miners houses cling precariously to the precipice....

Today the graveyard is almost as large as the town, a grisly reminder of working conditions underground over 100 years ago. We take lunch having covered 18kms in just over 3 hours. Finally we cross the pass, an oxygenically challenged 4275 metres.

Then a dusty descent into the next valley...

Finally we camp after a paltry 48 kilometres for the day! The altitude is still 3900 metres and the temperature plummets with the sun. My tent is now heated by candle power - having stocked up in Uyuni. I figure I would rather burn to death than freeze to death in my tent. Still I measure minus 18 degrees in the tent! A new record low for the tour.

I fall asleep as condensation from my breathing forms ice on the sleeping bag around my mouth and nose. Must do something about that breathing - it´s becomming a problem.


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