Freelance travel photographer, MatadorU student, and Matador contributor Jeff Bartlett shares some pictures from a recent cycle tour through Argentinean Patagonia.

A journey that began with an innocent conversation about possible honeymoon destinations resulted in a 2,700km cycle journey up Patagonia. Beginning in Punta Arenas, Chile, we quickly crossed into Argentina and spent two months along the Ruta 40. The deserted highway follows the Andes northward, zigzagging between the tiny towns that dot the Patagonian Steppe. Although a popular motorcycle route, venturing by bike allows the senses to absorb every sound, taste, and view that makes up this legendary region.

1

Sunset over Magellan Strait

1. The Strait of Magellan marks the end of the South American mainland in Punta Arenas, Chile.

2

Yellow flowers, Patagonia

2. Wooden fences and thick vegetation are often the only protection from relentless westerly winds in southern Patagonia.

3

Cyclist and mountains

3. Pedaling away from the Andes and onto the Patagonian Steppe outside El Calafate, Argentina.

4

Borrowing owl, Argentina

4. A small borrowing owl lingers during the sunrise in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

5

Perito Moreno Glacier

5. Perito Moreno is one of three Patagonian glaciers that continues to advance despite global climate change.

6

Cycling over a Patagonian river

6. The arid Patagonian Steppe is often interrupted by lush valleys and trout-filled rivers.

7

Abandoned observatory, Argentina

7. Rugged and isolated conditions proved too taxing for the now abandoned Austral Felix Aguilar Observatory in Santa Cruz.

8

Snowy peak, Patagonia

8. Unpredictable Patagonian weather results in sporadic snowstorms in both winter and summer.

9

Patagonian horse

9. A lone horse grazes freely along the Rio de las Vueltas in El Chalten, Santa Cruz.

10

Camping, Patagonia

10. Wind-protected camping is a huge find, but it isn't always pretty.

11

Parque Nacional Los Alerces

11. Lush green forests replaced dry campo in Parque Nacional Los Alerces.

12

Trevelin, Argentina

12. Luxury B&Bs and teahouses introduce visitors to the Welsh heritage near Trevelin, Chubut.

13

Hawk over the lake

13. A hawk soars above Lago Futalaufquen in Parque Nacional Los Alerces.

14

Magellanic woodpecker

14. The gigantic Magellanic woodpecker is a special sight in the Patagonian forest.

15

Cycling gloves

15. Autumn arrived early in northern Patagonia after an unusually short summer.

16

Horse and car

16. Another way to give a horse its much needed exercise.

17

Cuyo, Argentina

17. Red volcanic rock and conical peaks mark the end of Patagonia and the beginning of Argentina's Cuyo region.

18

Cañon del Atuel

18. After one last descent into the Cañon del Atuel, the journey ended in San Rafael, Mendoza.