We were up before sunrise to catch the ferry to cross Lago O’Higgins. We had to be at the dock by 8am and it’s 5 miles away.
The boat inched along into a headwind through the more than usual rough waters of Lago O’Higgins, prolonging our arrival by one hour (3.5 hours total). At times, looking over at land, I was convinced we were not making any forward progress. As the boat heaved up and down, the water splashed up onto the bow, and I regretted not taking the dramamine.
From where the ferry dropped us off we had a 12.5 mile jaunt through the forest to cross into Argentina. And then the final leg is a ferry ride to cross Lago del Desierto, which we will do tomorrow. Click here to see a map of route points for this border crossing.
This route is only for people crossing the border on foot or by bicycle. As sketch as this sounds, it is in fact an official border crossing. There are Chilean and Argentine checkpoints along the way to stamp our passports.
And then it was into the woods:
And through the mud:
It wasn’t half as bad as we expected. We had heard intimidating stories of how difficult this crossing was and had worked it up to be a monster. The first 10 miles are in Chile on a gravel two-track trail. The last 3 miles are in Argentina on a single track trail with multiple small river crossings and mud, depending how rainy it’s been. The first 3 and last 3 miles are the most challenging (i.e. lots of pushing), but the miles in-between are mostly ridable. We anticipated it was going to be another half-marathon of pushing. That wasn’t fun the first time.
We actually had a good time making this crossing. It was fun zipping around the tight corners of the single track through the woods, like we were riding mountain bikes. Though we were reminded that our Surly Long Haul Truckers loaded with two rear panniers are not exactly nimble nor have the same agility of a mountain bike. We both landed in the bushes on more than one occasion.
We emerged on the other side and were treated to sunshine coming through the clouds and a breathtaking view of Lago del Desierto and Mount Fitz Roy.