24-Nov-2011 -- This report is the third out of nine reports reaching or attempting confluence points during my 2-week bicycle trip around Cuba. The story starts at 21°N 76°W and continues from 20°N 76°W.
This confluence is just 10 km beeline distance from the coastal town Marea de Portillo where I had spent the night. But the road distance is 41 km with a difference in height of 1015 m. Moreover, this was the steepest and worst road I have ridden on. The ascent was almost vertical, such that I hardly could push my bike upwards. And the surface consisted partly of pure rocks, mud and streams. No wonder that I didn’t see any car or truck.
However, after 4 hours of hard work I reached the mountain village Minas Frias (=Cold Mines). Right before entering the village I left the road, hid my bicycle in the bushes and hiked even higher to a mountain peak with antennas on it. From the peak, I could continue on a footpath along the edge up to a distance of 236 m. Here I thought that I had to give up, because an extremely steep descend through impenetrable forest was ahead. But I tried it and progressed slowly. Even though it was very hot and humid, I had to wear full clothing to avoid scratches and wounds on my skin (most of the plants have very mean thorns). Several times I was close to giving up, when I suddenly crossed a footpath at a distance of 130 m. Even though I could not follow the footpath because it was perpendicular to my route, the fact of its existence and the prospect of an easier return gave me confidence.
Finally, I made it to the spot which was – as expected – in deep jungle. I returned to my bicycle via the village of Minas Caldas, which was much longer but easier, more pleasant and quicker. It turned out that there is a footpath within 100 m of the confluence point! You don’t even need to leave the path to make a complete visit.
The rest of the day I coasted down to the town Bartolome Maso where I found a nice tourist hotel to spend the night.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 1300 m
- Distance to a track: 400 m
- Distance to a footpath: 90 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 1300 m
- Time to reach the confluence from the main road: 120 min
- Time at the confluence: 13:24 PM
- Measured height: 1014 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1 m
- Position accuracy: 6 m
- Topography: mountainous
- Vegetation: jungle
- Weather: partly cloudy, 26° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Steep Thorny Descent Confluence
The story continues at 21°N 77°W.
More pictures of the trip can be found here.