Below: Appropriate for our 21st Anniversary today, a photo of Claire making an oh so typical marriage bed!
Bush Camp on the Rio Santa
Our second day on the Rio Santa was even more difficult than the first because it was long. We had nearly 70 kilometers to Chuquicara, with no improvement in the road surface, save for a few kilometers out of town. We were fortunate to stock up on large sodas and water at a small village and a roadside stand. The touring couple from Austria, Andi and Anita, told us of a bush camp spot they’d found seven kilometers out of Chuquicara. They said there was only one room in the village and it was taken when they arrived; we figured we would be so late we’d be out of luck also.
As we approached the seven kilometer mark it appeared the river was too close on one side, and cliffs on the other to allow any spot to camp, particularly one safely out of sight. But, just before the bridge, just as Andi had described, was a spot completely hidden from the road.
We set our sleeping bag out, and left the tent packed, the better to see all around us. Black mountains created a 360 degree corral for a spectacular display of stars. The Southern Cross tilted to the west as it sunk slowly below a southern mountain and the faint hints of the rising Milky Way.
As usual when bush camping, I eased in and out of sleep throughout the night, keeping time with the changing positions of stars and Milky Way. It cooled through the night and we snuggled off and on, spoke quietly about the stars, and the shadows on the canyon walls cast by the odd passing vehicle, watching for a cessation of movement or change in motor sound. We even found the fog like illumination of their dust clouds entertaining.
We’ve had a lot of experience over the years in bush camping, and have a few interesting tips for safety and comfort:
Claire’s: Not to sound paranoid, but we make a point to obscure our tire tracks going into a bush camp (some bikers call it stealth camping). We also break up the visual lines of the bike and tent or sleeping bag with a bit of camouflage. We have a silent language between us when something has alarmed either of us and we have a few decoy ploys to thwart potential trouble makers. We’ve heard people make camp near us, never aware of our presence until we pack up in the morning. We both sleep a little fitfully this way, but with 12 hours of darkness, we usually each manage seven or eight good hours of sleep. When we’re awake, we’re keenly sensitized.