El Bolson to Stealth Camping at Lago Guillelmo

Lago Guillermo, all to ourselves
So after a nice week of time in El Bolson, it was time to pack up and make our way North on Route 40 to Bariloche.  Everyone and their mother told us we should have been riding North to South, because the ride South to North is UP, UP, UP.  Our friends Jerry and Natalie put it into perspective when they told us when riding a bus from El Bolson to Bariloche, the bus was so warm because the drivers have to turn off the A/C in order to conserve enough energy to make it uphill.  Ryan brought up an elevation profile of the ride, and sure enough, we were in for some 13.2 km of incline, with an average grade of 4% and a maximum grade of 12% within that stretch of grade.  Hopefully the Patagoninia winds would not be present for this ride.

We planned the ride to take 2 - 3 days depending on the wind and difficulty of incline over the 120 km ride to Bariloche.  In the end we made it no problem in 2 days, which was great.  Overall, this was a beautiful ride, with a lot of great mountain and lake scenery.

Road Conditions - All paved, gravel shoulder, traffic level was moderate, drivers were respectful of the space. There was only one time it was absolutely necessary for me to dive into the gravel due to oncoming semi traffic from both directions.  Ryan and I have gotten quite used to this by now and are pretty liberal about diving into the shoulder when buses and semis pass by.

Eating Chocolate after the big climb....whoa mama
Most interesting and challenging part of the route was definitely up, up, up, with a beautiful view of some colorful peaks at the top....and with chocolate covered peanuts to celebrate the grueling climb. 

After the climb, we started a long and blissful decent down into a valley where we discovered Lago Guillelmo in our view.  This was about 80km into the ride, so we had made it well pass the halfway point and wanted to set up camp. 

Stealth Camping in the Bamboo

On this route there were many other organized camping and cabana opportunities earlier on before we entered Nacional Parque Nahuel Huapi in the ride, but we thought primitive camping was fine for the evening within the park.

Bamboo forest camoflague

The lake was very large and we had it all to ourselves.  Although signs posted said we were not allowed to camp here, the lake was surrounded by dense bamboo groves that made it very easy to stealth camp in.  We set up camp and made the best ramen noodle dish we have ever had with fresh stir-fried veggies. Mmmmm....msg and veggies. 

Successful day!

Elevation Profile: