On the Road in Patagonia

Light fills the sky at early hours and is abundant throughout the day. The air is fresh and slightly wet, a chill remains after the evening rain. The great Rio Baker flows beside our camp, it’s current swift and swirling in various directions, it’s power almost tangible even as it moves silently along. It is vast, it’s color is unfathomable, a greenish hue that does not seem real. Clouds descend from the heavens, no longer heavy with rain and instead form a light mist that hovers just above the surface of the water and weaves it’s way among the surrounding peaks.

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I fight the chilly bite of the morning air; we work together in this, she and I- her body works to produce heat, my down filling provides insulation; we’re a good team. It’s damp but we are warm. We pack up camp, shaking the sopping wet rainfly, tucking the damp tent into it’s bag. All the while the river flows beside us, moving forth an entire world beneath it’s surface. Dry bags are stuffed into backpacks. Dogs are fed piles of kibble on opposite sides of a calafate bush that is overflowing with not-quite-yet-ripened berries. As she finishes her pile of food, Curi Cuyen trots down to the edge of the river and laps up the glacial runoff.

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We shoulder the heavy packs, the belt strap grips my lower half, the back brace and shoulder straps hug the rest of me. And then, we walk.

The morning is quiet, this place is quiet, we are all quiet.

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We arrive at a small shelter; the packs are dropped, I feel liberated. She stretches and I stretch with her, the cool air again wrapping itself fully around me. A pick-up truck speeds by along the narrow dirt road, her thumb is out but it doesn’t convince him and the truck continues on. The thumb is dropped, and we wait.

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Oh but what a place to wait. Mountains beckon our gaze in all directions. The Rio Baker continues to flow. Hanging glaciers are wedged between mountain summits, resulting in more waterfalls than can possibly be counted. I’m fit to burst with a desire to celebrate this place, with a desire to leap and bound and yell with glee. Yesterday she was nearly brought to tears as we rode across the bumpy, dusty road. This place moves me as well.

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The name of this land, of this place whose mountains and air, skies and rivers I’m currently getting to know so well- the name of it sits silently on my upper left panel, and just beneath it sits her heart, beating with a similar rush of excitement that I’m feeling.

Patagonia. We’ve finally arrived.

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#LifeOfaVest

These Things We Carry With Us

 

Hacia el Sur!/ Heading South!

What began as a slow evolving dream has come together in quick succession these past few days. With the swiftness of time we are in motion all at once, following the Carretera Austral south through Patagonia. Our mode of travel at the moment is by foot and hitch hiking. The simplicity of to road embraces us constantly. We carry with us all we need and gather the rest along the way- including our horses and route information. As we move south hitching rides and having countless conversations with fellow travelers and locals alike, we are constantly filled with gratitude for the kindness of strangers.

Lo que empezó como un sueño se a unida en una rápida sucesión en los últimos días, con la rapidez del tiempo estamos en movimiento, siguiendo la carretera Austral hacia el sur a travesando la Patagonia. Por el momento nos movemos a dedo o pie, cargando todo lo que necesitamos y recogiendo el resto por el camino como los caballos e información a medida que viajamos y conocemos infinidad de personajes, constantemente nos llenamos de gratitud por la bondad de desconocidos.

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Dusty roads and drizzly campsites; glistening lakes and rivers in hues of blues beyond imagination; mountains and glaciers so grand they steal the breath from our lungs- this is Patagonia. The stories are piling up already, but patience is essential as we prioritize the present and embrace each moment as it unfolds before us. So, until we have a little more time to write and share these stories, we’ll leave the photos to tell the stories themselves.

Caminos polvorientos y campings mojados; relucientes lagos y ríos en tonos de azules más allá de la imaginación; montañas y glaciares tan grandes que te roban el aliento – así es la Patagonia. Los cuentos ya se están amontonando, pero consideramos que la paciencia es esencial ya que priorizamos el presente y abrazaos cada momento a medida que se van desarrollando. Así que hasta que tengamos un pelo mas de tiempo para escribirlas, dejamos que las fotos hablen por si solas!

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”- Henry David Thoreau

” Cuando simplificas tu vida, las leyes del universo serán más simples , la soledad no será soledad , la pobreza no será la pobreza , ni debilidad debilidad. ” – Henry David Thoreau

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Beginning at the End

So, where shall we begin?

Next month we plan to head south to Patagonia with our dogs, buy a couple of horses, turn around and ride north. Sounds pretty straightforward right?

In reality there are a lot of logistics that we are in the midst of figuring out. Just getting from Pucón to Villa O’Higgins, where our ride begins, is going to take some patience and creativity. Because of the remoteness of the region, and the fact that we are traveling with our two dogs, we’re currently piecing together a logistical plan that includes hitchhiking, ferries, maybe a bus here or there and a good bit of luck.

Good thing we enjoy adventures!

Since we haven’t quite reached our beginning, let’s start at the end and introduce the lovely little place we currently call home- the place we’ll be riding back to once we manage to get ourselves to Villa O’Higgins.

Pucón is a little adventure town tucked along the edge of Lago Villarica and located near the base of the smoking Villarica Volcano. We had quite a bit of excitement earlier this year when our volcano made headline  news with its incredible eruption. It was a spectacular sight to witness (we shared our experience the day after the eruption in this post)!

There is a different energy to this place, the constant puffs of smoke that rise from the ash-encrusted cone, they are a reminder that this mass of rock and ice and earth is alive…it’s breathing. The gushing rivers that flow from various points at the base of the volcano are like blood rushing through the veins of this planet. A visible reminder of our own likeness to our natural environment.

The motion of nature here is ever-present- the clouds dance through the valleys, the rivers flow forcefully from glaciers, the wind whips through the ancient forests and volcanic landscape; and of course, there’s that visible breath of the volcano.

My words can hardly do a place like this justice, and each time I step outside I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I call this place home.

Happy Trails ∞ Greta

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