Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Salt Deserts

Hi guys,

Back in Uyuni, where I started off from 3 weeks ago heading south. This time however ,I arrived from the north! After changing plans 3x, I started biking from the same place I did earlier to Chile, but heading south. Was traveling on VERY seldom used tracks (not roads) through the scrub. Linking together very small villages, 2 river crossings, tiny villages with friendly and increadibly tough Ayrama indians. It was incredible and the highlight of my entire trip here. I crossed the salar de Coipasa from north to south, then another day put me on the remote western edge ofthe salar de Uyuni. Holy shit. It was intimidating, like an ocean of salt, 110 miles to cross in a straight line.

Set off from the village of Llica with 18 liters of water and a few butterflies in my stomach. The first day (yesterday) I had about 30miles of pretty bumpy riding across the salt polygons covered in 2+ inches of water, dosent get more crazy, horizon dissapears in the water and you are basically biking in the clouds, Navigating by compass. Got to Isla del Pescado and from there I could see the next island out in the marage. Camped for the very last time last night on the back side of that island. Today things were quite a bit faster and drier.

Yesterday I was totally alone out there, today´s route was more on the 4x4 tour route and they would pass occasionally like ships in the distance. Made it to the salt hotel where I had been before and knew it was in the bag. Pulled into Uyuni everything coated with salt crystals. Made it!! That crossing was pretty much my goal for this entire trip. It's why I didnt leave my bike behind 2 months ago. Now I can just be content and count the minutes until my flight leaves! Probably heading to Potosi to have a look at the mines tomorrow, then back to La Paz to pack the bike up.

Love, Eric

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