Bombing Through Bolivia – Part 2

joe_distWe are back in La Paz, for a night of connection with the outside world before we continue on with our exploration of this amazing country. The last three days have been spent in the mountains west of the city, in a zone I will not soon forget.
The drive there took us out of the La Paz basin, and on to the high plateau of El Alto, where we crossed the lonely plains, with foreboding grey skies overhead. A turn off the main road took us into the hills, and away from any remnants of civilization (or so we thought).
The afternoon was spent riding an epic descent (3,500ft) down into the Sapaqui Valley, a generally barren valley highlighted by scrabbly green fields scratched out of the earth anywhere there was the slightest source of moisture. The trail was a downhill pumptrack, twisting and turning over the hard rocky moonscape, and dicing through the cacti. Consequences were high as any wrong move would take you off the trail into the awaiting arms of the thorny plants. Everybody was really stoked as we loaded the Land Cruisers and headed off to our lodging for the next couple nights, and to the hot springs that were located there as well.
All day we had been essentially alone, besides the odd sheepherder or wild mountain child. The unexpected luxury that greeted us deep in the Urmiri valley was a shock to the system. The Hotel Gloria was built in the 1930’s as a retreat for the La Paz elite, complete with hot springs and nice lodging. We were blown away by this surreal oasis in the middle of the barren valley, complete with flower gardens, nice lawns, and steaming hot natural pools. Keeping in Bolivian style though, the hotel only had short wave radio for contact with the outside world, and electricity for a short few hours every evening.

The next day dawned clear, and with an early start we were up high, staring across at the smashed glacial massif of Illimani (6349m). With amazing weather and a sharp blue sky all day, Marco blew through gigabytes of photos, as Rob, Rene and I shredded all the terrain Urmiri had to offer. To top the day off, cold beers in the hot springs sent us spiraling into a deep state of relaxation and satisfaction.
Our drive back to La Paz was generally uneventful, except for the drunk taxi driver that side swiped us going about 90 km/h on the hill down to La Paz. Luckily it was just a glancing hit, but our adrenalin was pumping as we pulled to the side of the sketchy road and the taxi careened on down the road. A Bolivian hit and run!
It’s going to be an early night tonight, as we are hitting the road at 4 AM, to tackle the Takesi Inca trail, which includes ancient singletrack and over 9,000ft of descending. Yeehaw!

Thermal hotspring soothe-fest

Thermal hotspring soothe-fest

One thought on “Bombing Through Bolivia – Part 2

  1. Ezekiel Schwartz says:

    sounds amazing- looking forward to more adventures!!! by the way- the suit looks sharp…do you have a suit? love, p,j &e

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