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Chasing Trail: The Atacama Experience

Posted October 10, 2017 by Lorraine Blancher . Filed under

Outside Magazine 

For mountain biker Lorraine Blancher, veering off the beaten path has been a pastime that keeps biking fresh and new. And with the Atacama desert on her radar, she teamed up with Scott Sports and the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival to make it happen.

Check Outside Magazine Online to the video here.

For a more detailed trip report - with images and a descriptive word narrative -  visit SCOTT Sports 

SCOTT Sports

Chasing Trail: Episode 14

Atacama. The word rolls off the tongue as easily as nature’s palette moves across the surface of the Mars-like vistas. Home to the driest non-polar desert in the world, Atacama is at once a geological phenomenon and a place of deep history of copper and salt mining. Located on the Pacific Ocean in the northern third of Chile, the Atacama Desert stretches nearly 1,600 km north to south. 

For Blancher, it’s been a place of wonder ever since she picked up a copy of National Geographic when she was younger. She read about the unique geological features of the most arid desert on earth, which also has massive mountains skirting its borders that sometimes saw snow, in spite of receiving an average annual precipitation of 15mm per year. “It’s been a destination that’s intrigued me for years, long before I ever thought that my mountain bike could be used to explore its rugged terrain,” she said. 

This past June, Blancher and filmer Robin Munshaw finally made the trek south of the equator to experience the mystical terrain for themselves.

There’s something to be said about the colors that stick with us long after we leave a place. According to Blancher Atacama was a rainbow of warmth during the day, and a massive star-laden planetarium at night. “Red, orange, and vivid sky blue were the constant colour theme,” she said. “Then, during sunrise and sunset, my favorite times of day, the golden glow would illuminate everything in a way that made the experience seem even more surreal.” Pink sunsets, Purple night skies. Golden hours that seemed to last forever. 

The real treat came in the form of fresh snow falling on the Andes Mountains. “The alpenglow light always feels special to experience. It’s like mother nature is putting on her blush to look her best for those outside enjoying her natural playground,” Blancher described.

To continue reading - visit SCOTT Sports here.