Nihuel and into the Canyon Atuel: I want to rename it the Amazing Rainbow Canyon

Lovely sand nooks in the canyon walls
March 25 -  28 km:  We started around noon as we knew that we wanted to camp somewhere in the canyon and it was only 40km in length.  Our biking experience through this canyon far exceeded our expectations.  We both felt, hands down, that this was this canyon provided the best bike riding experience we have had in Argentina thus far.

Stealth camping HWY 144 to Nihuel - The long ride before the JackPot!

March 24: Ride- about 80 km

I blame the groggy 10:30 am start on bike the next day on the 2 bottles of wine we drank the night before.  The only reason this late start bothered me was because the strong headwind picked up at 11am, so we didn't really have much time to enjoy a calm ride.  Again, HWY 144 was a pretty boring route like the day before. Endless desert shrubscape.  But little did we know that it would all be worth it very, very soon.

Malargue Ride North to Stealth Camping on HWY 144

As we headed North Easterly out of town towards San Rafael, the headwind began to pick up from the East.  We rode a bike lane out of Malargue, which is always great to find along the way.

Malargue, dry weather and phallic stalactites!

MacKenzie next to a masterpiece of geologic art

Our next set of biking after our stay and adventures in San Martin de Los Andes started in dry sunny Malargue.

A Series of Fortunate Mishaps: Termas de Queñi Day 3

Morning at the Lago Queñi Campsite

Garmin GPX: 

A Series of Fortuneate Mishaps: Termas de Queñi Day 2

The next day we got our stuff packed out, and he brought the tires to us.. Much to my dismay, the brand new tire was on the front, as both tires were unattached when he took them so the bike shop had no way of knowing that the *back* tire had blown. I certainly didnt feel like swapping them out now - we still had to make up the distance we had planned to ride the day before to make it to the springs in time today.

Garmin GPX: 

A Series of Fortunate Mishaps: Termas de Queñi Day 1

Throughout the trip we've had our eye on various Aguas Termales with the intention of getting a good soak on.  In Villa la Angostura I did a quick search for some "Termas" and hit on an obscure blog with the words "Undeveloped Hot Springs".  This led me to some photos on Google Earth of some springs near Lago Queñi, which could be reached from our next destination, San Martin de Los Andes.

Garmin GPX: 

Seven Lakes Ride - Camping at Pichi Traful Lake to San Martin de Los Andes

The second day started off warm and sunny and ended in a windy, cold rain.  We got another late start around 1pm since we did not forsee a long time riding 55 km on almost all pavement.  The day was warm and the winds calm.  All was good.  Ryan spotted some Calafate berries on the side the road so he turned into a bear and harvested for a while with dreams of making syrup for pancakes.

Seven Lakes Ride - Villa La Angostura to Camping at Pichi Traful Lake

This was the start of the much hyped Siete Lagos Route.  Seven Lakes in 120 kilometers.  In the high season the route is loaded with tourers, buses, backpackers, etc.

Parque Los Arrayanes Ride in Villa La Angostura

Single-track riding by tour bike is really fun! The 24 km hard-packed dirt track through Parque Naciaonal Los Arrayanes is rather easy for mountain biking and goes through some beautiful forest.   There were still some much climbs and decents and we had to portage our bikes up and down some stairs at the park entrance but we went without gear, so this was not bad at all.



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