￼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 a coffee table book spread out in front of me.
Josie looks up from her phone. “Tommy’s friend said he can’t take us over to Rio Palvated.” The chance to scout this weakness in the “moat around our castle” had figured prominently into us coming out of Valle Alerces a few days early. The food truck owner’s friend was a salmon fisherman and had offered us a boat ride across the Golfo de Corcovado. It turns out our “in” had asked his boss and the powers that be had shut it down.
“Hmmm, well that sucks” I say in my usual flat, intonation.
We continue to sip beer and eventually eat pizza as the wheels in our head turn and we toss around ideas, not unlike the baker tossing his pizza dough.
The next morning finds us up and moving bright and early, well for us anyway. We pack our bags and bring them down to the dock. Our plan was to wait around and ask for boat rides as people came and went. We were the first ones there. We sit and wait, watching dolphins, loons, herons, penguins and finally, boats and people. Three parties come in and Josie talks with them all while I stand there and nod and smile. All three are commercial or municipal operations and all reply in the negative. Nope.
We sit and think and wait some more. The morning ferry to Puerto Montt comes and goes. Finally we throw in the towel and head back to town. Check in with Nicolas, owner of Chaitur and operator of the local bus station, as well as supplier of our new housing unit: a partially complete, cold water only, big backyard, home, is our plan. He usually has a few connections that can help us out. Turns out, he is out of town on a tour and won’t be back till five. Strike three. Empenadas, cold showers and chill out time it is.
Three strikes and your out, that is the way the game is played. We have scouted a rad looking valley, have plans to return to it, and are staying in a free house however; so while today may have been a wash, we still have made some good offensive moves. Maybe the valley has been explored by climbers; maybe we won’t be the first. Maybe we just aren’t asking the right people the right questions. Regardless, there are three outs per inning and nine innings per game. It seems even with a few outs, we still have a bit of time left for more good offensive moves.
Featured Image: Chaitén’s northern entrance, via Ruta 7, the Carretera Austral.