Our hard won, slightly bumbling, battle to re-enter Argentina is well worth the effort. After thanking the biker gang profusely for the offer of joining them for dinner (with or without meat, and or vegetables), we decide it’s still early in the day (4pm) and that’ll we’ll push on for a few more hours yet. There’s more hugs, more cheek kisses, a hefty dose of ‘good luck’s’ wafted in our general direction, before we ride into the mountains beyond.
During our chitter-chattering with the group, we had been reliably informed that the next part of the ride is ‘muy lindo’ (very pretty), and it does not disappoint. Within 20km of leaving the Argentinian immigration building, the landscape has transformed from dusty golden brown to lush green. Waterfalls tumble from the hillside – those that are closest to the road are modest in size and we can stop to drink from them, stick our faces in them and marvel up close at the cool glacial meltwater. The taller more spectacular falls are way up in the mountains, and we can only but stop and stare from a distance at the cascading white lines they cut against a backdrop of slick black rock.
Faye and I amuse ourselves for the next few hours hours, stopping at every crystal clear watering hole, and uncovering the adult version of splashing in puddles: riding through rivers. Now, when it comes to riding through rivers – everyone has their own style. My panniers sit low on my rear rack and so I know, from experience, that going too deep (like, so deep man) is a sure fire way to get my panniers, and possibly the contents, rather wet. Plus, Bernard (my bike) has smaller wheels that Gustavo (Faye’s bike) and so I tend to opt for a shallow river crossing approach. This shall henceforth be known as the ‘ladies’ crossing’
Faye, on the other hand is an unstoppable deep water force when it comes to crossing rivers. She has an uncanny ability to make a beeline for the deepest part of the river (even when she claims that this isn’t her aim) and to plunge into it at 100 miles an hour, screaming and clinging on for dear life as Gustavo tries to buck her from his back. I call this strategy: The Juggernaught.
Sometimes we go through the crossings together, but most of the time we follow one one after another – so that we may watch the expression on the others’ face as they wonder whether they will make it out the other side. Whatever the strategy, together or apart, ladylike or juggernaut, there is always whooping, screaming and a hearty cheer upon reaching dry land.
Live track us as we continue to plough through rivers here:http://z6z.co/AndesAdventure