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Guallatire – Salar Sourire (08/01/2011)
53 km parcourus
C'est calme, c'est grand, c'est sauvage, c'est rien que pour nous.
| C'est calme... |
Sur toute la journée, nous n'aurons croisé aucun véhicule. Il faut dire que nous sommes samedi et que les camions de la Borax (compagnie exploitant le salar de Surire) ne circulent pas.
| ...c'est grand |
Mais au fait, comment se fait-il que les endroits les plus magiques d'Amérique du Sud soient toujours ignorer par les touristes ? En tous cas, je ne m'en plaindrai pas et j'espère que cela restera longtemps ainsi.
| ... c'est sauvage |
Le but de la journée est d'atteindre le refuge de la CONAF se trouvant au bord du salar tout en passant par le centre d'exploitation de la BORAX afin de nous y ravitailler.
| ... c'est rien que pour nous ! |
Arrivés au salar, ayant pu éviter les orages de fin de journée, nous avons la mauvaise idée de bifurquer à gauche vers ce que nous pensons être la BORAX. Erreur, il s'agit en fait d'un village composé de trois maison et d'un poste de carabinieri où on nous propose de déguster un bon café tout en prenant soigneusement note des références de nos passeports. Ils sont bizarres ces carabinieri chiliens.
Remis sur le droit chemin, nous parviendrons très tard au casino (cantine) de la BORAX qui, et ça par expérience nous le savions, va mettre les petits plats dans les grands pour nous préparer des packets lunch de luxe. Six grands sandwichs jambon-fromage, quatre orange et des espèce de beignets géants délicieux dont nous aurons bien besoin les prochains jours.
Ensuite, un dernier rush de 10 kilomètres me fera souffrir jusqu'au refuge.
Liquidé, vidé, mais heureux d'enfin pouvoir manger chaud... et oui, notre réchaud ne s'est pas encore auto-réparé.
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Guallatire – Salar Sourire (01/08/2011)
53 km cycled
We leave the little village of Guallatire in the direction of the Salar de Surire (=it will be the first Salar we'll see). This morning there is someone at the refuge (that was closed yesterday-evening) and he tells us it will climb a lot to get there.
The Altiplano-decor is again very beautiful and colorful, with again lot's of lamas and vicunas.
The clouds seem sometimes to take over the colors of the landscapes (=sometimes seeming pink, then brown and then again a kind of green).
I also saw again a Zorro (=kind of Altiplano-desert-fox), but this time he was too fast to get on picture. There would also be nandu's here (=kind of smaller austruches) but we didn't see any. Also would there be (quiet a lot of) pumas here (=chasing the vicunas), but we didn't see any either (=they are more active at night, but I don't think they attack humans).
It's very hot (=the sun burns) and the light is very bright (= I think it is less filtered, as there is less oxygen here(?)).
Since I broke my sunglasses (with the fall nearby Tacna & Arica) it kind of hurts my eyes. Also Enzo says his eyes are somewhat hurting.
| We will both need to buy some sunglasses soon |
In the late afternoon it becomes more cloudy and a strong wind comes up.
Finally (after reaching the top of a long climb) we see the Salar : a big bright, white (=almost reflecting) spot between the mountains. I think it is very beautiful, but Enzo is disappointed : he says it looks like dirty snow : True, (when coming closer) there are some places where it is a little muddy, because of the Borax-trucks taking the salt, and maybe one day this salar will not exist anymore (once all salt has been taken), but still, let's enjoy what is still there, and some views are still very precious, even magical (to me).
| The Salar of Surire |
We know the Borax-company (which exploits the salt from the salar) is not far and we want to see if they have food for us. At the same time we arrive there, there is also a car with 4 Tchech tourists : they are out of fuel (=not very clever to not have taken extra fuel when coming in these deserts). The administrator of the Borax-company sends them away (saying they don't have fuel for them : hopefully they have enough to reach Colchane), but opens the doors wide open for us = we, as cyclists, get like a privileged treatment : 'There is the commedor' : we could have eaten a great meal there, but we don't have time (as we want to get to the refuge before it starts to rain), so, we receive (all for free) : water, oranges, 6 (very good) sandwiches and some sweet beignet-breads = enough to reach Colchane (=the first village (with food-supplies)). We had already experienced this kind of generosity on Chilean territory in Patagonia 3 years ago in a petrol-industry.
The bags full of food we sprint to the refuge, which is about 12 kms further (as the wind is became really very strong now= predicting some heavy storm), but again, the refuge is closed... Enzo really would like to sleep in a bed now, as his shoulder is hurting. We wait a while (=not wanting to put up the tent), until finally a pick-up drives up to us, and the guarder opens the refuge for us (=people of the Borax had warned him we were there, as normally you have to reserve these refuge in advance (in Arica)). Then he leaves : so it's nice to have a little house/chalet just for the 2 of us to spent the evening, with a little kitchen, bathroom (to take shower), living-room and very nice view on the Salar.