Friday, November 30, 2007

The Mines Of Cuesta La Dormida

Originally posted to El Cantar de la Lluvia on Friday, June 08, 2007

The Cuesta La Dormida is one of my favourite destinations. A cuesta is a road that climbs a hill, in this case the Cuesta La Dormida is one of the few roads over the Cordillera de la Costa, the coastal mountain range, the last ripple of the Andes before the coastal flats.

Just before you start the endless well-paved twisties, theres a gathering of empanada shops. Ah, empanadas, how I long for thee. The perfect road food: hot, filling, tasty, they come in several varieties, dirt cheap (two empanadas and a can of coke will set you back $2–and have you burping onion for the rest of the day :D ), and they can be eaten standing up, in full gear. Available: most everywhere in Chile, on Saturdays and Sundays.

We stuffed a few empanadas into our face, and set off up the wonderful, wonderful switchbacks.

Before we start, here's a few words about Rodrigo, also known as Ben Kenobi on the forum. When I met him, he owned a VFR 400, an NC30, on which he started joining me on more and more dirt road rides. After a few months of this, he came out of the closet and bought himself a Transalp. That way he would have the best of both worlds: good power, and an enjoyable dirt experience. As time went by, our rides together became more and more infrequent: the roads I explored became harder and harder, and he really didn't want to put his bike through it. Meh. Sissy!

A few weeks ago he bought a Yamaha TTR-250 Open Enduro as a second bike, so as not to be left behind. It was about time!

A very pretty bike, in great condition. Price, state and year similar to my XR, when I bought it.

We went off to Cuesta La Dormida, with the express purpose of exploring the mines in the area.

A fantastic autumn day. In the distance, the cordillera. And what's that poking up above the horizon?

Aconcagua, South America's highest mountain.

A dude on a KLE came with us.

We reached the mine on the East side of the hill, but it had been closed off with a door and a padlock. I hiked up a short distance, and found another mine, this time no door.

I called the others, and Rodrigo scrambled up the hill.

We explored several mines, but they all came to an end after 20, 30 metres, with very few branches.

This one had caved in, and there was a busted door closing off one of the branches.

None of these mines were active, all of them abandoned.

Apparently they were gold mines: there were veins of quartz and pyrite.

After getting muddy and exploring several mines we went around to the Western side of the hill. I forgot to set the camera back to ISO 50 instead of ISO 400, and as a consequence these pics are extremely noisy.

Hey, what's that digger doing up there? It probably caused the landslide that cut it off.

At the end of the road there was a rather strange vehicle: squat and wide, an articulated body, and a big bucket on the front. It was clearly used for extraction purposes in the mines.

I climbed into the cabin. This thing's made for midgets!

We had fun throwing rocks down the hillside.

And then I went up to the digger.

Everyone else went back to Santiago, but Rodrigo and I pottered around the area. I showed him the trails I'd discovered last year. We even found the spot where I became a devout follower of the Church Of The Toilet Roll You Forgot You Had.

After that, we went back up to the top of the cuesta, and waited for the sunset.

And with that, we went back to Santiago.



Anonymous green light laser said...

The mines seem like a place of interest to visit. I think the state should promote it as a tourist site.

10:13 PM  

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