The city of Chilecito
Chilecito, at the foot of the Sierra Famatina with its peaks over 6000 metres, is an old mining town with an abandoned cableway linking the city to the mine. Even nowadays, it is possible to visit the nine stations parts of the cableway. I didn't visit all the stations since, from station 3, difficult hiking is required and at this time of the year the cold is very intense in altitude. I drove the motorbike to the Mejicana Mine; the last station of the cableway (station 9) at an altitude near 4500 metres (see the next blog).
During almost a week, I stayed with Oscar, a motorbike aficionado that offers a roof to other motorbike travellers. I had a good time at his place, and it was a very pleasant week. We talked a lot about motorbikes and even more about travelling.
I did several excursions in order to visit the surroundings of Chilecito. There are sites to see for a few days.
Molino San Francisco
The founder of Chilecito, Don Domingo de Castro y Bazán, once dwelled in this 300-year-old mill.
I only visited the outside as the museum has been permanently closed for the last months.
Here is the first station of the mining cableway, in the city of Chilecito. With a length of nearly 34 km, the cableway was constructed in 6 sections and each of them was operated using a steam engine. Stations 1, 5, and 9 didn't have a steam engine and were used to load/unload ores. Stations 4 and 8 had only a steam engine. The other stations (2, 3, 6, and 7) had a steam engine and were also used to load ores.
The transport capacity was 25 tons per hour on the way down and 15 tons per hour on the way up. The fuel used to produce vapour was wood. About 1 ton of firewood was needed for any 45 minutes of operation. The mine was operating at full capacity from 1906 to 1914, and intermittently until 1925. The total quantity of wood used is estimated at 25,519 tons for the years 1906-1914. The resulting deforestation must have been a disaster...
The museum at station 1
Here is the station 2, located about 9 km from station 1 in Chilecito. The elevation gain is about 400 metres above the city located at an altitude of 1000 metres.
Union de los Ríos
Near the city, there are a few rivers with yellow waters. At this place, I am at the meeting point of two rivers, one yellow and the other with a bluish colour.
Station 3 is located at 8 km from station 2 with an elevation gain of 800 metres (at an altitude of 2190 metres).
La vuelta del Pique
Trail from station 3 to Chilecito via the village of Guanchín.
Parque Nacional Talampaya