Stumbling on Incas

On December 27, 2013 by Peter

After refueling following our morning ride through Valle de la Luna, we saddled up again and headed out of San Pedro de Atacama with Leo to the Catarpa Valley for a mountain bike ride through Devil’s Canyon. The ride out of town was high and hot in the afternoon sun, and we rode gradually uphill all the way to the entrance to Devil’s Canyon.

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The ride in the canyon was fantastic.

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At times, the trail was extremely narrow and we were practically riding through caves. The canyon is a geology nerd’s paradise.

Tight section of Devil's Canyon

I managed not to bash my little Fuji rangefinder, which proved light enough¬†with the excellent 18-55 zoom on it to carry in my right hand and use while riding less technical sections. I took most of the photos from Valle de la Luna and Devil’s Canyon while in motion on the bike. After a few kilometers, the canyon opened up a bit and we reached the turnaround point.

Towards the end of Devil's Canyon

After a fun descent back down the canyon, we headed back into the Catarpa Valley and rode along the river to our endpoint, where Walter from Rutas Andinas was again waiting with an awesome picnic spread. On the way home, Leo suggested we stop and check out an Inca ruin along a ridge. It was well worth the brief climb.

Climbing up to an Inca ruin

The ridge was one of the most peaceful places I’ve experienced. A warm wind caressed the valley below, and the contrast between the reds, browns, and greens was stark and beautiful.

Jen and Clark on a ridge in the Catarpa Valley

The Inca ruin itself was somehow calming, made up of smooth, rounded stones.

Inca RuinWe could have spent hours up there, but we were roasted from a full day of mountain biking in the sun. You can see the full ride route on Strava.

*All photos are copyright Peter Roady and may not be reproduced or reused without written permission*

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