Tours and Activities:
Bike Challenge along the Seven Lakes RoadMónica PonsEduardo Epifanio
A chance to feel every kilometer of the landscape through our pores and to measure both physical effort and emotions that naturally arise from the trip.
A biking tour along the Seven-Lake Road on our own bike was a dream which finally came true after several months of training, preparations and chats among the members of the group: we would join a 112- kilometer distance between San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura.
As enthusiasts of the Patagonian region and its natural beauty, we did not wish to beat a time record but blend us with the landscape. Reaching our destination would take a four-day cycling trip.
We had to check everything out before setting out: well inflated tires to face the first kilometers on paved road, two well-balanced panniers, the mandatory helmet, a small tent, a cycling raincoat, a heater and first aids kit. We also carried food, since we were not sure to find open groceries in the campsites along the trip.
We waved goodbye to the coast of Lake Lacar with a tough 15-kilometer climb which forced us to make several stops in the streams to fill up our water bottles and get strength to go on. From Arroyo Partido (Split-up Stream), the ups and downs did not take too much effort until we reached the green and quiet waters of Lake Machonico. We had already moved forward 27 kilometers!
In spite of our tiredness, we decided to cycle 8 kilometers more until we diverted off to Lago Hermoso (Beautiful Lake). There we set up our tents on a wild spot on the shore. We delighted in a delicious warm soup and salami and we made a toast after finishing our first trail.
After chatting around an unforgettable campfire, we went to sleep to be ready for the second trail very early in the morning. We started our cycling day with a hearty breakfast with fruit, cereals and some mates.
Our aim was to reach Lakes Falkner and Villarino. Again the undulating paved road put our abilities to the test. As our legs got stressed in the ups, the air we felt on our face showed the downhill trail.
45 kilometers from the starting point, Lanín National Park said us goodbye and we entered Nahuel Huapi National Park. At one of the stops on our way, we lay down on our back and enjoyed the mountain range and we saw in awe the countless shades of green in the forest.
At the organized campsite of Lake Falkner, many bikes rested along other groups of riders. The second night ended up with a crowded campfire under a dark sky without moon or stars.
We set off early and left the paved roads behind. We reduced the tires pressure to absorb bumps in the road and avoid skidding. The forest seems to make the paths narrower and the height of trees protected us from the sun. The turquoise waters of Lago Escondido (Hidden Lake) made us stop to shoot some pictures.
A series of bends grasping the handlebars tightly led us to Pichi Traful (north arm of Lake Traful) made our adrenaline flow faster than expected. There we set up our tents to have a rest until the following hard day.
On the fourth day, we started cycling very early on a gravel road; the ups and downs made our way to Lago Correntoso (Fast-Flowing Lake) and Lago Espejo Chico (Small Mirror Lake) pleasant. A light lunch, a short nap and mutual encouragement helped us be ready for the last challenging stage.
We found Lago Espejo (Mirror Lake) and a detour of the roads a little bit farther ahead, where we watched a signpost indicating Chile on the right and the long-awaited village on the left. To relieve our aching legs, we took a paved road bordering Lake Nahuel Huapi on our right.
So many kilometers with our eyes on the gravel road were compensated by the vastness of the lake and the cycling high speed. Our tiredness eased as we were about to achieve our goal.
Perhaps our effort, perseverance and organization may gather us again to challenge another road and make another dream come true.