February 8, 2019 – Villa Cerro Castillo

I’m writing this from Villa Cerro Castillo, a tiny town in Southern Patagonia. It’s been a long winding ride along the Carretera Austral since my last post. I’ve left the jungle and am in the wild, windy, raw mountainous south. I’m halfway through my journey, time-wise, and appropriately have mostly forgot the day of the week, so much so that the women selling bus tickets at the station shake their heads at me when I try to buy a ticket for a ride ‘yesterday’. I have a new tent and am camped on a hillside with a great view, just above Villa Cerro Castillo. The town is known for the basalt spires that tower above it, glaciers and all. It’s on my way south so I decided to stop and check it out, a bold move when you step off the bus and discover you are on the steep side of nowhere, not sure if or when the next bus passes through. But just when I begin to question my judgement I meet a family from France (camping next to me): Mom, Dad and three daughters aged 4, 6 and 8. They have ridden bicycles here from Lima, Peru, nine months so far. The little ones on tandem bikes with mom and dad, of course. This is an unbelievable thing, friends. These roads can make mountain goats shiver in fear. There is a 4 day back country hike through Cerro Castillo National park that they start tomorrow (look it up, incredible) and this inspired me to do same, so off I go tomorrow. The girls did try to steal my harmonica and I was tempted to give it to them but I’m too attached. I will guard it carefully on the trail. I’ve skipped a few days, hiking to waterfalls and through wild forests.

I’ve nicknamed myself: Hombre sin Nombre – Man with no Name. I’m anonymous here, the only American for miles and miles.

Love peace and happiness, I’ll check in on the other end of the trail!

Cell service must be going through a teeny tiny wire, I’ll send photos soon.

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