Wednesday 29 July 2009

Apolobamba region (Puerto Acosta-Charazani-Pelechuco)

In Charazani, our favourite town in Bolivia. We were in this town 16 years ago on the advice of a Japanese friend Hitomi who visited this place in the early 80s. It still retains its old magic.

It was a fantastic ride from Puerto Acosta to Charazani over the old road to Pelechuco. Not used by motorised transport now and we only saw one motorbike in the 2days. All at high elevation 3800-4500m we crossed the Cordillera Muñecas, mostly altiplano. Snowstorm on the last night. Lots of comical llamas and alpacas.

The road was a mixture of rocky, sandy and grassy. We have invented the new Australian cycling craze- pushwalking as we pushed and shoved aour bikes up the rocky steep sectins for 15 kms. Lots of shortcuts across the altiplano. Few villages and the Aymaran communities were very curious and shy of us as we rode through their villages.

Out of Puerto Acosta, we crossed a small bridge and headed up a narrow valley. Some flat-faced Easter Island-type monoliths.

The road was so stony we headed onto narrow tracks among ichu grass on the pampa.

This is the old route to Pelechuco and isn´t used by motorised transport these days. Some relics of old fine roadbuilding including stone bridges.

We had to go off route quite often to avoid the steep rocky road.

Climbing up to another pass. Route-finding was difficult as the GPS map was inaccurate and there were no markers or signs anywhere. The road hugged the Peru/Bolivian border.

Soft, cuddly alpacas high on the pampa.

A storm approaches from the west, with Cordillera Apolobamba in the background. Alpacas and giant cushion plants.

A mother alpaca feeeding its young milk.

The road ranged from very rocky to sandy and off-route grassy.

Jude riding off-route on the green pampa grass being chased by the inky storm.

We had to make an emergency camp just before the storm hit us. Next morning we woke up to a white landscape.

Bicycles and icicles.

At our camp two Aymaran children from a nearby pueblito visited us- Franklin and his sister Lasilia. Lasilia had no socks and it was freezing cold- just wearing bare sandals so Jude gave her a new pair she´d bought in La Paz. Frankin got some Pepsi. They were both very chuffed at the gifts.

Alpacas and llamas with snowy backs after sleeping out in the storm.

Jude pushing her bike towards the pass Abra Pumasami at 4750m. We had left the road here following directions from some villagers.

At the pass Pumasami, an Aymaran woman gets a lift on the back of a motorbike heading to Charazani. Morning clouds obscure the peaks of Cordillera Apolobamba.

A caracara, an Andean raptor and scavenger

Cordillera Apolobamba and bofedales (tussock marshlands)

1 comment:

Andre Allain said...

Gday Peter,

Very nice blog, well written and organized. I live in Brazil and I am planning to do a bike trip early 2010 at Titicaca and then from Charazani - Sorata, passing through Aucapata and Iskanwaya.
It has been difficult to find maps and info. You mentioned that you had a GPS. Can you share some info from this route ? Places for food/water, gps maps (if possible) ?

Thanks much . You guys are doing a fantastic trip.