Road down from Abra Huayllamarca

Turco to Tablachaca (Bolivian altiplano part 2)

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Second part of my altiplano route towards Yungas. Unlike the first part the roads aren't in a sandy condition which makes me quite happy. And while the views do not have any huge mountains (something that I almost take as a definition of a good view) they are nice enough with green rolling hills. Definitely better than riding a busy road.

June 1

After a street breakfast I set to finish the paved part of the route. After a bit more than 10 kilometers I turn and exchange the smooth black carpet with a not-so-smooth ripio. The landscape around me gets progressively greener and I am passing through green rolling hills.

Old houses along the road
Altiplano is getting greener
Enjoyable downhill and flat section
The flat section is really flat and straight

I stop by in Choquecota where I fetch water, eat some small things, buy carrot for a tasty dinner, etc. As it is still quite early, I am opting out of staying in the village and instead continue on -- I have about 20 kilometers to Abra Huayllamarca.

Bridge before Choquecota
The big bridge is over ... well, not exactly a big river.
I like the vibrant colors of this place

As 20 kilometers were a bit too much, I end up camping before the pass in my usual style -- the first place that is flat and big enough to host my tent. In this case it is a machine-leveled piece of ground.

And the climbing starts
Bike ready to end the day

June 2

In the morning I am observing that I must be in an area with more humidity than standard altiplano -- one indicator is the green bushes but much bigger confirmation is buildup of a condensation on my tent.

Today should be an easy day as I have only 250 meters (of elevation) to the pass. So in a good mood I am starting off just to be stopped by soldiers with guns. Fortunately, this isn't any guerilla party, instead it turns out they are searching for some long trucks which I did not see.

Serrania de Huayllamarca
Views from the climb
There is still a bit of a climb to do

I reach Abra Huayllamarca pretty soon and then there is a time for a good descent. Which turns out to be really beautiful. Serrania de Huayllamarca is surprisingly nice mountain range.

Riding down from Abra Huayllamarca
Views are getting interesting
Nice downhill
The downhill leads to the altiplano in the distance
Downhill views of Serrania de Huayllamarca

After riding down the switchbacks, I end up in a small village Chuquichambi. Here I am eating my lunch although I can't find any open shop. With my plans for today this isn't a big problem though some nice cookies would be welcome.

This is the only tree for kilometers around
Enjoying the downhill
The road is snaking around
Main plaza of Chuquichambi

The afternoon is really flat. I have 55 kilometers to Eucaliptus which is my planned destination for today. On the way I pass several villages (Lajma, La Joya, ...) until I turn northwards to finish the last 20 kilometers of the day. This turns out to be a bit more work because there is a nontrivial amount of wind. But fortunately, all is good and I arrive to Eucaliptus (and no, there isn't any teleport to Australia here) by the evening.

Back at the altiplano
Views to the right are still good
Bloody red river
Upstream the river looks to be more normal

In Eucaliptus I find a hospedaje and tadaaaa it has hot shower. I don't need telling twice to check it out.

June 3

I use the morning to service my bike. First I need to change the chain. And while at it, I check the brakes. The back ones turn out to be in an emergency state as the brake pads are almost completely gone. The front brakes are in a good condition though (and this was my mistake -- before I was checking only the front ones as it is much easier).

When I finally finish the bike mainternance, I continue my journey to Panduro, a small village on Ruta 1. Then I have 10 kilometers of not-so-enjoyable autopista with cold headwind until I reach Konani. This is a bit bigger village and to my surprise it is full of shops.

Ruta 1 is wide but busy road.

From Konani I start another climb. There are some sheeps on the road and unfortunately some sheeps on the sky as well. As I am slowly thinking about my campsite a rain shower comes and I am forced to expressly camp on the first available stop. This is a first "serious" rain in months -- the last time I was lots of water droplets was in the Lakes district of Argentina & Chile. The rain doesn't last long though, after a while it passes. But then, I am already in my tent so there is no point in continuing on.

Leaving Konani behind ...
... I come across sheep ...
... which block my way.
Looking back at the altiplano

June 4

The morning comes with lots of condensation on my tent. And an early wind. Fortunately, this should be only a sidewind for today.

Silent observer

My biggest question of the day is if I will manage to reach 4730m high Abra Tres Cruces. But first I need to climb to 4100m only to steeply descent back to 4000. But the descent opens perfect views of distant snowy mountains.

Descent opens up nice views ...
... of snow-covered Yungas
I can't stop looking
Herding is one of the main jobs around here

After the descent I make a quick stop in Puchani to have a snack. The road from there is very beautiful as it reveals amazing canyon views.

Road after Puchani brings a nice surprise
Cemetery below Puchani
While not a grand canyon it feels like it

Unfortunately, there are many clouds in the sky and the weather doesn't look too inviting. For this reason, in Tablachaca I decide to stop -- it is only afternoon right now but it would be too late when I reach the pass and I don't really want to camp too high.

Canyon gradually transfers into rolling hills
Red and green before Tablachaca

Route

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Download simplified GPX of a route here

Stats by activity:

Activity Distance
(km)
Ascent
(km)
Pedal rotations
(thousands)
bike 205 1.5 49
Stats by day:
Date Distance
(km)
Ascent
(km)
Avg. temp
(moving, C)
June 1, 2017 56.1 0.32 21.2
June 2, 2017 82.7 0.33 16.8
June 3, 2017 36.2 0.42 14.9
June 4, 2017 30.4 0.47 13.4

Elevation data

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(drag over a region to zoom in, right-click reset)

The next table is only for cycling activity.

Grade(%)Ascent (km)Descent(km)
< 2 137.1
< 4 16.6 12.7
< 6 4.4 3.0
< 8 3.2 2.1
< 10 0.4 1.0
≥ 10 0.2 0.5

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