Easier than expected for 1200 meters of climb today. I spent half a day riding in colder cloud/fog and the rest in much nicer sunnier skies.
Not long after leaving Buta Ranquil, the picture above was my view. It was a few degrees above 0C (~36F) and cold on my hands during descents. I expected the route to have hills and was fortunate that wind was minimal and even at times a light tailwind.
Coming down one of the first hills, I could barely see under the clouds.
From 34 kilometer point there was a ten kilometer hill. It was a slow climb but never very steep. This guy on horse just crossed the road ahead.
At the top of the climb the view opened up and I was out of the clouds. It also became warmer. Nice to see some mountains in the distance including some I hadn’t seen before.
Wide sweeping views and otherwise still a dry terrain.
One subtle change I did notice is the little gullies now seem to have water in them. While the landscape is dry, it does start to point to an area with just slightly more water than before. The hills above also occasionally have snow patches.
Can you spot the armadillo? It was doing best it could to hide.
As I got over the last hill there was a sign warning of winding road and steeper descent ahead. It was all still reasonable, but nice finish to the day with a downhill.
In the distance is Chos Malal. This is first town over 10,000 people (barely) since Malargue some five days before. There is a nice small town square and a few hostels. Also surprisingly not one but several supermercado grocery stores.