Monday, January 11, 2016

Patagonia Postscript:

few days ago I dropped Lisa off at the airport in Puerto Montt.

Little did we know when we made Patagonia plans so long ago, we were taking a Grand Canyon sized leap of faith. Who knew how it would turn out for two virtual strangers? 

I'm pleased to announce we got along better than I ever imagined.

The only times we had issues was in Patagonia. When we had disagreements, we sorted it out with direct eye contact. I would roll my eyes after an Uber Polly Anna statement she would make. Lisa would slam her eyes shut and hold her breath when I was being too in-her-face practical.  For the last time, typical men vs. women stuff. Somewhere between these Equator versus Antarctica beliefs was the ideal solution. 
Later on we were both grown up enough to laugh about what had transpired earlier.  

For Lisa, being at the end of the world was the culmination of a thirty year dream. For her everything was beautiful in it's own way, including the brief wind and weather. 

For me, being in a region described as a "Magellanic sub polar forest" climate wasn't my idea of a winter getaway. To be honest, the place scared me. The predictable unpredictability of the weather was a constant source of angst for me. Even the CONAF Rangers couldn't provide the most basic of weather forecasts. Contrary to popular beliefs, I'm a very conservative hiker. I hedge my actions with safety being my number one priority. I have a tendency to be a Jewish Mother when I'm with newcomers to the Great Outdoors. Patagonia was the Great Outdoors on a scale of wild and vast like I've never experienced before.

That all being said, the chance of seeing the Towers on a rare warm, blue sky day will be something I will cherish forever. The many glacier views we had after that scenic moment was the extra scoop of Moose Tracks ice cream on a warm piece of peach pie. That was my dessert. I still gaze at my photos in disbelief. 

In the course of those eight days and 80 plus miles of hiking, Lisa taught me a valuable life lesson. Humans are capable of amazing feats once they set their minds to the task. The driving force for Lisa was the thirty year carrot on the stick. She was one motivated person who would not be deterred from her mission. 

Upon returning to the Chilean Mainland, we didn't do much of anything besides try to get over our colds and swat at swarms of flesh gouging horseflies. 

I'm still sick and lying low in the resort town of Pucon. I set up housekeeping in a cabana for six nights. I'm now cooking meals and making my own bed. Outside, the Pucon Triathlon is in full swing. There's 1,600 participants racing about in a fine damp mist. Maybe the sun will come out to bake this crud out of my lungs. I hope so. I need to get back on the trails to get in shape for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu in a few weeks. 

Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed my dispatches from Patagonia. 
Happy belated birthday, Jenny. 

Thanks Lisa for being such pleasant company. Enjoy your first day back at work after your dream come true trip. 

Cheers from Pucon,


  1. Isn't Torres del Paine NP a magical place? (We were in Chile a week after you were, but not backpacking.) Those are gorgeous flowers! Thanks!

  2. Isn't Torres del Paine NP a magical place? (We were in Chile a week after you were, but not backpacking.) Those are gorgeous flowers! Thanks!