The Adventures of El Huevito: Villarica and (a little) beyond.

I have a new riding partner: my little boy Sage, embarking on his very first South American bike tour.

This post covers the first leg of his three week Chilean adventure, taking us from the lakeside town of Villarica to the hamlet of Melipueco, located at the entrance to the beautiful Conguillío National Park (photos here).

No doubt many would ride this in a day. But at the tender age of 18 months, Sage prefers to appreciate life at more leisurely pace, stopping to smell the roses along the way. “What’s the rush, papa?” he might well be saying, as he ambles off to go pet another feral dog.

I’ve asked Sage to share the secrets of his packlist for other would-be toddler bikepackers, so I’ll post these soon.

If you would like to keep up with where I am between blog entries, I try and keep my While Out Riding Facebook page regularly updated – along with posting extra photos and gear ponderings. You can find it here, where plenty more El Huevito photos are to be found. 

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Sage, his papa and their rig. Between the Pugsley’s fat tyres, our Chariot trailer, and Sage’s blond curls, we’re quite a crowd puller.


What’s the rush? Watching mama do some yoga, Volcán Villarica in the background.


Then indulging in a little baby downward dog himself.


Day 1 ends in a perfect campspot.


Shared with an enormous pig, a source of much mirth to Sage.


There’s a lovely kitchen table too.


Cooking facilities.


And our home – the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3. It’s creation is another font of fascination to Sage…


… until the falling leaves inspire him into a bout of interpretive dancing.


A Petzl-lit dinner.

And porridge on a bed of leaves.

Breakfast, best enjoyed in a porridge-proof one piece.


Autumnal colours. Winter is coming in the Southern Hemisphere.


Where we can, we keep to low traffic, gravel backroads…


… even if it means some vein-poppingly steep pitches.


We limit limit trailer-time as much as possible, preferring to let Sage stretch out and explore.


Not hat he seems to mind bouncing around in his carrito – the shopping cart – as his trailer is called by Chileans.


Look but don’t touch, Huevito!


One day, Sage…


I did pull the trailer too, honestly…


Our third campsite.


This one includes a feral cat, which Sage quickly adopts as his playmate.


Dinner time; a vegetable feast.


Regional produce.


Warm, sunny days are a dealer breaker on family rides.


As is traffic free riding – even the pavement stretches here are quiet, with plenty of room to relax.


Closing in on Conguillío National Park: Volcán Llaima, 3125m…


Sage, always a hit with the locals…

Photos of our day trip into the beautiful Conguillío National Park can be seen here.

15 thoughts on “The Adventures of El Huevito: Villarica and (a little) beyond.

  1. MIchal

    …the sets of photos with your family looks comletely different than your ‘usual’ ones 😉
    we really liked this part of Chile when we were there and colors in autumn looks great.

  2. Mark_BC

    Hey Cass maybe I can entice you back into North America… I finally got some photos up for my recent trip down the palm canyon in Baja, but still more to come. I am hoping to try it again sometime with others after rains so I don’t need to lug 40 litres of water with me! I’d like to explore the surrounding canyons and oases that rarely get any visitors, if any. After a rain it should be fairly easy with fatbikes and packrafts. And I’ll have honed my fishing and spearfishing skills so it’s possible to live off the sea. If you want to go later in the fall after the rains…

    Also, for August I am hoping to put together a big biking / packrafting trip down the Sheslay / Inklin / Taku rivers in northern BC. Basically, I’d ride a junker bike 100 km up an abandoned mining road from Tahltan BC (58°02’55.90″ N 130°52’42.13″ W) up to the Sheslay River (58°07’08.94″ N 131°57’28.53″ W). Then I’d abandon the bike (salvaging as many parts as possible) and paddle 300 km down in the packraft. There is only one section with rapids but packrafts should handle it no problem. After 300 km I’d get to the lodge at Taku Glacier (58°29’28.64″ N 133°56’27.69″ W). From there I could either paddle, fly or boat over to Juneau Alaska.
    Looking for other people to go with, maybe you can bring the family! Should take about 3 weeks I figure, from Tahltan to Juneau. Plus getting there and back.
    Here is a commerical guiding outfit that does a much shorter route, to get an idea of the trip:

    1. Cass Gilbert Post author

      Mark, I don’t as yet know my future plans, but a trip to Baja sounds particularly awesome, and has much family-friendly potential too (not the lugging 40L of water bit).

      I will sift through the links when I next get a good internet connection…

      1. Mark_BC

        Yeah it’s great down there out in the desert, if you are into that kind of trip, which you are! The challenge with bringing a family into that canyon is the hill you have to climb over to get there, which is why there’s no road…

        1. Cass Gilbert Post author

          Yeah – I was thinking more that they might like to visit Baja at the same time, rather than desert crawl…

  3. Jo

    Hey, great blog post!
    Just wondered – you mention you keep trailer time to a minimum – how long to you ride for at a time? …And do you coincide rides with nap times?
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Cass Gilbert Post author

      Hi Jo,

      During this trip (Sage was 18 months) we kept riding stints to about 45mins or so, maybe up to an hour. But we definitely aimed to get most of the riding done during nap times.

      I’ve spoken to a few families who tour, and the general consensus seems to be around 4 hours riding a day on the bike works well – perhaps half in the morning, half after lunch. Which leaves lots of time for non bikey stuff. We always stopped when we saw a playground, for instance, so Safe could burn some energy, and hang out with local kids.

      I’ve just fitted a child seat to my bike, so next time, I’m aiming to use the trailer for naps, and the child seat otherwise.

  4. Yu June

    I just wish i would have done same experience with my daughter
    I know I still have a chance since now
    Thank you for remind me


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