The Lessons: Part Fem*

Expeditions have a way of teaching much if you know where to look.  Some of this year’s lessons are specific to the Valdivian or Siempreverde rainforests, others more general.  Some are obvious, others, not so much.  With those unobvious ones, one has to to search a little harder, dig a little deeper.  I got some of each […]

The Christmas Wall

“You want one of these?” I asked, holding out a Gu packet as Josie racked up for some shitty looking climbing.  Around us, clouds and mist swirled.  Small droplets, mistlets, if you will, pecked at my eyeballs as I squinted upward at our intended route. “Uh. . . sure” she said, taking the proffered calorie […]

…and A Descent

As per usual, my headlamp is fading fast, but its pale glow can still illuminate the tiny beech tree in front of me. No larger than the biggest part of my forearm, it creaks and flexes under Josie’s weight.  Behind it the soft, fern covered, moss smothered ground rises and falls with each creak and […]

Ten Days From Now

26 January 2017 — The campsite doesn’t appear abandoned, its occupants have only taken off for a day or overnight.  The blue gray pyramidal Megalight cook/gear tent is zipped and clipped shut, bombproof.  Its outside is coated with the long narrow leaves of the colihue and the shorter, rounder ones of the beech trees.  Through a soft […]

The Present

There is nothing else. There is only now. There is only here. Time and distance are meaningless. Five miles or five minutes, it is no different. I’ve lost concern for all but two. Everything else is irrelevant, nonexistent, inconsequential. There is only one direction; water flows downhill and I will follow. The world consists of the […]

“Well, Here We Are…”

“Well coach, we’re almost out of innings” Josie quips as we move up into the Rio Alerce’s headwaters.  There is a solid chunk of white granite above us, but it is mostly guarded by a band of crappy looking rock of unknown origins.  Orange, black, white, and grey all meld together into swirling, chunky fragile melting […]

Three Strikes

27th December 2016 –“Shit.” We are sitting in el Pizzeria Reconquista on Chaiten’s Avenida Diego Portales sipping beer, waiting on a pizza. We are just back from our explorations up Rio Alerces and after 10 kilometers of walking and hitchiking we are in need of sustenance. In this case, beer and food. “What’s up?” I ask, looking up from […]