09-Jan-2011 -- This report is the last out of a series of three confluences that we visited during a three-week bicycle tour through Cuba. The story starts from 23°N 82°W.
After touring two weeks in the western part of Cuba, we reached the historical town Trinidad on the southern coast (22 km beeline to CP). In the early morning at 7:30 I started riding my bike from Trinidad towards the confluence point. Although Cuba is generally not a very mountainous island, this area however is covered with rugged terrain. Starting from sea level, I had to climb a 700 m ascend in the Escambray Mountain Range towards Topes de Collantes, a (to my personal opinion ugly) spa resort located in the nature reserve park with the same name.
From Topes de Collantes, I continued the mountainous main road towards Santa Clara with several ascends and descends that made me climb 2500 m in height that day. Therefore, I was rewarded with views on Lake Hanabanilla, a 34 km long reservoir close to the confluence point.
The crucial intersection is at 2 km from the confluence. There, I turned into a very rough track with such an inclination that I had to push my bike up (and also down). On a stretch of about 1.5 km, I gained 400 m in height.
Quite exhausted from the midday heat I reached the point where I had to leave the track and my bike at a remaining distance of 220 m. I first assumed that covering the last 220 m meant bush fighting due to dense vegetation, but I found a footpath that made the final approach easy.
The confluence point is located in a deep valley, directly down at the lowest point where a little creak is running. So, in order to access the last 40 m it is necessary to climb down a steep slope. The vegetation is diversified with different species of bushes, palm trees, pine trees, ferns up to 3 m in height, banana plants, orchids and several to me unknown species.
On my way back I followed the same route. The area around the confluence point is actually populated with some farm houses along the steep track, but I didn’t meet anybody. Later, I had a punctured tyre that I had to repair. At 5 p.m. I was back in Trinidad.
CP visit details:
- Beeline distance from bicycle parking: 220 m
- Walking time (incl. return): 10 min
- Time at the CP: 12:00 noon
- Measured height: 685 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 6 m
- Minimal distance to the CP: 2 m
- Vegetation: jungle with bushes, palm trees, pine trees, ferns up to 3 m in height, banana plants, orchids.
- Distance to a road: 220 m
- Distance to a path: 50 m
- Distance to houses: 320 m
- Topography: steep mountainous terrain.
- Weather: sunny, 30° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In central Cuba in the province Villa Clara, 22 km beeline north of the coastal town Trinidad. Deep in the forest but accessible via a steep track.
- Given Name: The Steepest Track Confluence
Story finishes here.