WARNING: THIS POST IS NSFMS (NOT SAFE FOR MOMS)
KILOMETERS 0 - 160: VILLA CERRO CASTILLO TO COYHAIQUE
I wasn’t first to arrive at the bus stop shelter. Following etiquette, I had to move downstream until the group ahead found a ride. Being new to the game, I didn’t quite have my system in order yet as I walked down the road. My spot was difficult for cars to see, and the limited pull off space and short decision making zone all set me up for failure. Ignorance is bliss though and I gleefully tossed my thumb up into the wind as the first car zipped by. It was day one on the Caraterra, and my first time actively hitchhiking as a primary means of transportation. It’s worth noting that in Chile hitchhiking does not bear the same reputation as in the U.S. and generally speaking, it is a completely normal and acceptable way to get around. On the Carretera this is amplified and has taken on a life of its own. Luckily it was shoulder season so the main hoards of travelers had disbanded, but at times competition for rides can be fierce on this legendary stretch of tarmac and dirt. Maybe it was my positioning, or simply a lack of seasoned aura, but I think my experience level on the road was obvious to the other group; they caught a ride and brokered a deal for Abi and I to hop in the trunk. My first pick up was out of the way and with limited effort I found myself in Villa Cerro Castillo.