Rides bikes, paddles sea kayaks, takes pictures. Life on the road & my home in Cornwall.
The Green Room
The change in riding environment has been so rapid, and so profound that I still have not fully rationalised it. The memories of the months spent on the high, cold, austere altiplano amongst the volcanos and salt pans feel as if they belong to a different life. The transition from parched desert to dripping cloud forest happened within the space of a mere 40km or so. Sitting in the perpetual sunshine of Cafayate it was possible to anticipate the change, in addition to looking at satellite photos of course while finding trails and route planning, as at times the tops of the clouds could be seen spilling over the peaks of the arid mountains to the east, much like a high tide lapping against the top of the sea wall in the village in which I grew up.
I spent much longer in Cafayate than anticipated, I was quite run down I think when I finally descended off the puna so picked up a cold. Moving on too early and risking a chest infection did not seem the wisest thing to do, and with an abundance of good food, good wine, good beer, and good people to hang out with it was an easy decision, easier than eventually leaving. As a solo traveller the longer I stay in one place then the stronger the friendships formed; a good time was had and I felt quite down saying my goodbyes.
As I write however I’m having a day off in a small town called Frías, in Santiago del Estero province, about 450km into the ride to Córdoba. So far I’m enjoying a look at this part of Argentina, away from the relatively well-known paths through the high Andes. Although not exciting in the way the high altiplano is, the riding here is bringing a different flavour of reward. I do have a few days ahead that are likely to be a bit dull however; in order to reach the sierras and dirt trails of Córdoba province I must cross the vast salt flats that lie across the intersection of Catamarca, Córdoba, and Santiago del Estero provinces. Some 250km of flat, straight line riding. Other than that the only slight difficulty I’m having is language; heading deeper into the heart of Argentina it doesn’t even sound like Spanish anymore…
Frías is a pretty chilled and friendly place. I imagine there’ll be some pics when I next post, hopefully from Córdoba city in another 400-ish km or so.