From the town of Famatina, 35 km north of Chilecito, a trail leads to the Mejicana Mine (station 9). The mine's entrance is located there, at an altitude of nearly 4,500 metres.
The trail passes through a series of fantastic landscapes such as the Río Amarillo, Los Pesebre and the Cañon del Ocre. It is not an easy path for a motorbike, and at the end of May, the cold and the wind at the summit are intense.
A yellow-coloured river follows the trail leading to the Mejicana Mine. It is necessary to cross it at least 15 times.
In the morning, the river is still partially frozen. Believe me, there were some crossings in the ice and the river much harder than the one in this photo. Sometimes, the river flow over the trail for a length of several dozen metres, accompanied by a layer of ice and snow.
I would never have taken the risk of driving alone to the mine, crossing multiple times a partially frozen river without the presence of three Argentinians driving the trail with small enduro motorbikes. It's them who opened the path through the river by breaking the ice. I only followed in their footsteps, and I went along with them for safety. A big thank you to these three motorcyclists!!!
On the trail to station 8, I fell and they helped me lift the bike, and to restart in a steep slope with a lot of rocks.
Here I am, at the junction of the trails leading to station 8 and station 9.
At the crossroad, it is possible to spend a night in a refuge. However, at this time of the year and at an altitude of nearly 4000 metres, the nights are very cold (10 to 15 degrees Celsius under 0).
Station 8 Mirador
I managed to drive up to the Station 8 mirador, but I was about a hundred metres short of the station itself. After a fall, I had reached my limit and I didn't want to take any more risks.
Only one of the three enduro friends has driven up to station 8. He was the only one with a 250 cc bike, the other two with 150 cc bikes climbed no further than the refuge. The small bikes were short of power for the climb.
Mejicana Mine (station 9)
I managed to reach the Mejicana Mine at an altitude of nearly 4,500 metres.
It is from that place that ores were carried back to Chilecito using the mining cableway with its 9 stations over a total distance of about 34 km.