- After telling our ride we were from the States he promptly put on his CCR classics, we really miss music!
- Our first class V water with olympian and kayaking pioneer Chris Spelius’s company Expedition Chile
- Being told the “girls dominated” as paddlers next to the brawny midwestern boys on our trip
- Sarah finally got a new sleeping pad!! …and I used the excess for shoulder/hips pads for my pack (unlike Sarah and Trin, I haven’t had them the whole trip, now I feel like I’m wearing my comfy Osprey pack!)
- Picking fresh cherries
- After telling our river guide Josh that we heard horseflies taste like honey, we learned that ants apparently taste like oranges. We are invisioning a very organic ants-on-the-log but have yet to try it…
- Spending a full day lounging and swimming on our own private beach
- Wading up to our chests in all our clothes to be rescued via boat from returning on the awful jungle trail
- Having the best showers of the trip so far- consistent hot water and pressure! At a campground no less…
- Ringing in the New Year’s on our secluded beach and listening to the music from across the lake
- Camping next to the most tranquil river in Los Alerces
- Bathing in the rivers and forgetting that even though we were “clean” we still hadn’t done laundry in almost three weeks
- Being able to throw out trash throughout the park and not have to pack it out
- Homemade apple juice on a hot summer day
- Being swarmed by the black horseflies instead of the yellow/green ones- they are easier to catch!
- Doing the last hike in my shoes which have a hole in the tread and inevitably fill with rocks with every step
- Getting sunburnt in 10 mins of exposure. We go through bottles of sunscreen like water and keep getting darker!
- I woke up to Trinity yelling she had a “leech” on her neck. All I could manage to say through sleepy eyes was no way it was a leech because they live in water. It was a slug and left quite a mark- both physically and mentally on Trinity. We affectionately refer to it as her slug-bite. She may have discovered the newest cross-breed of slug-leeches.
- Another traveller breaking a “hitchhiker code”- if three girls stop a car, you can’t just throw your stuff in too without saying a word!
- As much as we love sleeping without the tent and under the stars, it comes with a cost. Sarah got shit on by a bird while in her sleeping bag… a little too close to the mouth.
- Seeing volcanic ash along the trails and beaches
- Getting straight robbed by campgrounds! They charge US$10 per person to camp, unlike in the States where they charge per campsite. When we asked if we had to pay the additional “tent fee” if we just didn’t put up the tent, the lady looked at us like we were locas! (and waived the fee!)
- Waking up to a skunk outside our tent and praying the papparazzi of tourist taking pictures would not startle it enough to spray us
- Sarah’s can opener breaking on her multitool… not as indestructible as we thought!
After re-routing ourselves around the fire to Lago Puelo, I learned that the Bariloche airport is closed due to the volcanic ash (I am leaving this week for my brother’s wedding in the Dominican). Trinity and Sarah hiked from Lago Puelo to El Bolsón via two of the refugios(huts) in the area. I reluctantly left them and went on to El Bolsón to rebook my flight, unsure of whether I would need to take a bus to Buenos Aires sooner than expected (I now fly out of Esquel, three hours south).
El Bolsón feels like a hippie beach town but instead of the ocean it is set in a wide valley of jagged peaks, which were hidden behind the smoke from the forest fire the first few days. Every other day they have a vibrant market of artisan crafts and every other restaurant seems to be a microbrewery. With the relief of rebooking my ticket, I hiked up to Refugio Lindo to surprise Trinity and Sarah, but was unfortunately a day too early and we missed each other. We reunited in El Bolsón for an asado with new friends at Hostel El Bolsón. I leave them for a week on the beach in the Carribbean and they will make their way north from El Bolsón to Bariloche.
Posted by Shelley