Canon del Pato on a Motorbike
“It is pitch black. I barely see the asphalt under my wheels and the narrow- and darkness of the tunnel equals a huge weight threatening to put me down on my knees. Like a dark knight, My horn is my sword and I blow it regularly in order to fight any towards me coming vehicles”. But too late…
my luck left me alone within one of the single road 35 tunnels along the incredible canon del pato. Suddenly, just before leaving one of them and to my “surprise” a police car entered the tunnel while hitting the brakes hard and navigating my bike to the far right. I could not believe that the car did not even reduce the speed and by the size of a hair pin the car passed by…
Having had a couple of grey hairs more I pursued my adventurous path with blowing continuously my horn before, during and when leaving the tunnels. The famous road is listed as one of the most dangerous roads in South America and to be honest I was not surprised.
Not long ago the road was not even paved, making the dusty tunnels a russian roulette of driving through. The only risks today are the vehicles on the road or the steep falling cliffs along the road.
It is not just the thrill of mastering the road with its manny tunnels but the enjoyment of the incredibly beautiful landscape of the “duck canyon” held in red, yellow and more multiple intense colours. The road itself winds along the river Santa which cuts the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra into two halves resulting in vertigo-inducing depths of up to 1’000 m.
From time to time I could witness the remains of abandoned villages and mining activities which lifted the whole scenery to a completely different scenario. It felt a bit like in the movie Mad Max and I was just too keen to find out more about what people made them to leave their previous life.
However, time was short and I did not want to experience the many tunnels during moon light. Along the way I suddenly discovered red spots besides the road and many people working on the fields. I got curious and stopped to see what they were doing. It turned out that the local farmers were drying their red hot chilli peppers on the field, packing and shipping them from there all over the country.
I hesitated to try them especially since the roads were spicy enough for my taste.
After some hours I left the canyon and entered for the first time the famous Panamericana or Pan-American Highway, a 48’000 km long stretch of more or less asphalted road where I could significantly benefit from my road tires and increase my speed.
I was thinking about a second to extend my trip and do the whole distance from South America to the top of Alaska, lol.
In conclusion, The scenery of today with its massive rock formations and its steep colourful canyon was just mind-blowing.
It certainly belongs to word’s best road trips and I can guarantee no one’s eye will remain dry. Pure Happiness!