There is a national park near to Villa la Angostura filled with redwood trees. It is a beautiful location where Walt Disney felt the inspiration for Bambi. There is a path through the park leading to other side of its lake and the redwoods. The options are to walk, cycle, or avoid the trek altogether and take the boat across. The path is 12km long, I chose to cycle. I bought a load of mandarins, and took them in a bag instead of water. I intended to take water also but it was too heavy to carry both.
Los Arrayanes is the name of the park, and the first part of the journey involves climbing many wooden stairs. With a bicycle, the only option is to carry it . The bike is supposed to be carried for the first one and a half kilometres of the journey, but it can be ridden down a very steep section after the steps. Cycling uphill is too difficult. The trail has a marker at every km of the journey passed, I decided to take a mandarin break every two kilometres, later that turned to each km.
“It’s flat, apart from the stairs,” – a lie I had been told by a couple of locals who hadn’t been to Los Arrayanes for some time. The path was nothing close to flat, a winding dirt trail of small hills that was my first mountain biking experience for years. Going downhill I was certain I would crash and came close a couple of times, swing my leg over the side to avoid going over at one point. Uphill I had to use all of my muscular strength with muscles that had atrophied after endless hours upon buses and not much else.
Around km number 10 I encountered a cow blocking my path. I stopped, unsure what to do. It was big enough to crush me several times over. But I didn’t want to give up. I got off the bike and walked towards it. The large herbivore walked off, freeing me to continue. Later I encountered a gate that I couldn’t open wide enough to get my bike through. I abandoned it there and hoped no-one stole my rental. I continued on with my bike helmet and was laughed at by many locals for losing my bike. Apparently there was a way to get it through and I walked the last km unnecessarily. The problem with many of these sites is that getting there is such an exhausting endeavour that you have no energy left to enjoy the view. I admired the redwood trees and lakes for as long as it took to recover, and then began the 12km ride back to the park entrance.