Atuel Canyon Stealth Camping N. of Northerly dam to campsite in Valle Grande

March 26

Canyon Atuel right after the sky cleared

The morning started off chilly and cloudy.  What happened to the nice sunshine here?  We looked down the see the river almost completely running dry, a stark contrast to the Class II rapids we had seen in the same spot the night before.  Wow, the Argentine electricity demand really shifts things quickly here. 

Ryan in heaven

Random camera shot of the ground. Rainbows rocks all around us!
We knew we had a big climb out of the canyon ahead of us and so we took our time leaving camp and procrastinated.  We started off and were immediately welcomed with amazing colorful pastel rainbow canyons cliffs.  So we jumped off the bikes and explored the side canyon for a couple hours.  Right when we were so overstimulated by all of the colorful rocks we had bouldered and encountered the sky cleared, and the sun brought out the brillant colors even more.  Perfect time to ride.

Partial asphalt road was helpful during the climb back up
As we ascended and the grade got steeper, the roads became partially paved.  Although it was evident they had not been maintained in quite some time, the pavement that was there allowed us to climb much faster and with more ease.  No tire slippage on the ripio.  This is yet another great reason the ride we think would be better for bikers to head East instead of West through the canyon.  As we climbed the views were great, we had our mini stereo blasting good beats, and all was well. As we left the canyon and entered the Valle Grande we started to see more and more tourists and rafting outfitters driving by.  The Argentine holiday weekend was in full force here on a Saturday afternoon.  We caught one more great view of the canyon, and then headed down to civilization.

One last view of the canyon before Valle Grande

We strolled past about a dozen rafting companies and ate lunch at the Cactus Cafe.  We inquired about rafting but the rapids were only Class I and II.  Only 120 pesos for a half day trip, but I need at least a Class III to make the trip worth the money.  We continued on and rode past endless cabanas and campsites and chose one a riverside campsite for the night. 

Another very great day!

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