In the fall of 2015 , Biology Alumna Genevieve Perkins (MSc/15) and her boyfriend decided to cycle more than 30,000 kilometres from Prince George, B.C. to the southern-most tip of South America (Patagonia). We checked in with her about half-way through her journey. You can read that story by clicking here.
Recently she returned to Ottawa after completing her trip.
Reflecting on her journey, Perkins said one of her most memorable experiences included getting stuck in a narrow canyon in northern Argentina – with an angry bull! “After finally making it past the bull, we then had to push our bikes through 10 kms of sandy tracks in a sand storm,” shares Perkins. “It was a tough day!”
The trip involved camping in some unusual places such as sleeping under bridges, in drainage ditches and gravel pits, on the edge of the Grand Canyon and between a king penguin colony and a flock of flamingos on Tierra del Fuego in Chile.
Some other highlights include:
- having all of our food confiscated after crossing from Chile into Argentina, with 10 hours of riding before we reached the next town.
- crossing through quicksand landslides in Ecuador.
- spending Christmas camped under a tarpaulin eating chocolate and dried fruit.
- waiting for llamas to cross the road.
- paying for things with a 50 billion peso note in Columbia.
Perkins says that the longest distance they travelled in one day was 175 km. The longest descent was 65 kms, without pedalling, in northern Peru. And the hardest day was in Peru when they decided to take a “shortcut” route of 20 kms. “This ended up being nine hours of walking/pushing the bikes uphill over a road which turned out to be a rough horse track. We made it to about 3500 metre altitude before camping in an old stone llama pen.”
Adds Perkins: “Every day was a new adventure as there was no ‘normal’ You never really know what would happen, who you would meet or where you would end up that evening.”
She says the best part of the trip was seeing how other people live. “My boyfriend and I decided at the start of the trip that we would ride wherever humanly possible. This meant no taking the bus or hitchhiking when it was difficult or boring. As a result, we saw firsthand how people live and how little you need. We saw a huge contrast from mansions in Buenos Aires to single room adobe huts in Bolivia.”
Perkins said that another benefit of the trip was: “As a Biologist, I also enjoyed seeing lots of different animals. My favourites were llamas, flamingos, toucans and tapirs.”
Now, she is back in Canada, Perkins will be looking for employment in ecology and GIS-related fields plus “enjoying the luxuries of a normal life. Long term, I am not sure where I will end up but I am certain it will include some other grand adventures!”