July 23, 2010
Some wild campsites are worth the extra effort.
Pedaling in the Andes, southwest of Mérida, we came upon this idyllic site. We had been looking for a place to set up a tent for the previous ten miles. The road was narrow and winding. The surrounding countryside was rocky farm and grazing land.
I spotted a beautiful tree and what looked to be a flat patch of earth surrounding it. I hiked up the steep grade, and discovered that the view was stunning. I hiked back down and announced to Kat that the site was indeed camp worthy.
Now we just had to get our bikes and gear up there. It took six trips and almost an hour to haul our bikes and panniers up to our Andes perch.
After our tent went up and our heart rates went back down, we boiled some water for tea and sat back and soaked in the view. We soaked in the sounds, as well — birds and bugs, someone hammering, cowbells, the laughter of kids playing, music from a small radio. After the sun set, the stars popped out, while the lights from a couple of dozen farmhouses glowed like fireflies in the valley below.
This is the kind of campsite you dream about when you're back home, scurrying about in your too-busy world ... and the road calls out your name.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.