I began cycling the world in 2014 and two years on I remembered how much I loved hiking the Munro’s back home in Scotland. I wondered why I wasn’t hiking the world as well as cycling it.
Now I’m pedalling in my hiking boots with a 70 litre rucksack strapped to the back of my bicycle.
The possibilities for exploring the world have opened up even further. And this excites me.
Whimping out of cycling across South America is having it’s benefits! I’ve just arrived to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, 20 km east of Ushuaia and I’m ready to hike the subantarctic forest!
I’m camped next to a little river surrounded by the Altos Andes and horse playing wild and free in the green meadows. I cook up a two litre pot of pasta for supper with the intention also of tomorrows lunch. I eat dinner and lunch in the one go and sit back pondering how it’s humanly possible to eat so much and still be alive.
A couple of trekking girls arrive and pitch their tent not far from mine. I’m happy for their company. It’s my first night wild camping in South America.
In my sleeping bag I look over the information leaflet given to me at the park’s entrance.
Capital letters jump out at me. DO NOT DRINK WATER FROM THE CREEKS.
I peer outside my tent and wonder if the water running past is a river or creek. I look harder but still no answer arrives. Why am I so thick? My life is a blur of vacant moments without having Google at my fingertips.
It’s a creek if I wake up sick in the morning.
It’s 11 pm and still light outside as I pop in my new ear plugs. Having suffered more than a few blogs of me whining about not sleeping, too scared the strange noises outside are animals going to eat me, readers have suggested ear plugs.
I sleep like a baby and wake up the next morning having had the best nights sleep of my world tour. These earplugs are now my second most valuable piece of equipment. The first being my bike.
Coffee and pee-pee beckon me into the world outside and I stumble out in the non graceful way universal to the exiting of a one man tent. Something’s wrong. I scan the scene, paying close attention to my tent, bicycle and luggage. A state of confusion ensues. The rear pannier bag which had been at the bottom of a carefully stacked pile of bags now lies on it’s own, some distance away. I walk closer to inspect. The buckle is still fastened but the strap has been loosened enough to open the corners. The surrounding grass is splattered with cereal and crackers and birds of prey are now swooping for my breakfast. I run for my camera, unsure of everything but thankful with a hungry tummy at the opportunity to photograph the Caracara.
The girls in the near by tent appear shrieking out a full recount of the terrifying night they endured. They were awoken by noises and terrified they peaked out their tent. Through the blackness they see pairs of eyes surrounding my tent. Big Foxes. They close their tent in absolute panic and begin screaming. But their noise doesn’t deter the foxes from hunting my food bag and certainly doesn’t stir me..
My ear plugs. Second only to the bike.
First nights wild camping in South America Foxes 1 Ishbel 0
Thanks for being a part of the journey. Life’s too short. Follow your dreams. WBG. xxx
Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.