Over the Passo De Jama
18.05.2010 - 21.05.2010 20 °C
We were finally given permission to cross the Passo De Jama. At its highest it reaches 4,800 metres which in old money is over 15,700 feet. Well over three times the height of Ben Nevis. The last time I was anywhere near this high I was wearing crampons and carrying an ice axe, not riding a motorbike. The one thing that was similar though was the cold. In parts it was below freezing.
We saw no evidence however of snow blocking the road and so the reason for us not being allowed through on the previous day remains a mystery.
The Argentinian Border post is 100 miles from the Chilian post. Most of that road is at over 4,000 metres so we were very glad to get there get the formalities over and done with and get down to a more respectable and warmer height. On the way there were salt flats that asked to be ridden on and so we obliged.
Our destination for the night was Purmamarca. First though we had to negotiate a brilliant twisty descent through mountains that were coloured green, red gold and brown. There were stunning rock formations that made it hard to concentrate on the road.
From Purmamarca we travelled to Cafayate a small town based aaround a lovely Plaza. The hotel was probably the best we have stayed in. With an inner court yard where we stored our bikes the rooms had old wooden floors and the air of a place that had been around since Spanish rule.
The next days riding was a day of contrasts. We entered cloud forest on single track twisting roads that ascended high into the mountains. However there was a stark contrast to our previous weeks of travelling as the mountain sides were covered in thick lush green forest with lakes in the valleys similar to the Lake District in England. The difference was all the more imapctive by the fact we had seen very little greenery since leaving Peru.
Later in the day we returned to the semi desert before arriving at Catamarca.