Team Gringo arrived on a warm Chilean afternoon at the end of November. After six days racing up the Carretera Austral to meet these guys, I couldn't have imagined how nostalgic it would be to embrace an old friend is a land so far from home. Jamie Curcio is a long time friend, fellow snow shredder, mountain climber, life lover, adventure seeker and world traveler. I remember a conversation had years ago when he told Steph and I that he would love to come join us on our South American journey. When his own travels took him to different continents, the rendezvous was pushed aside. When I was back in Colorado last February planning my next escape to the southern hemisphere he promised that he would make it to Patagonia to visit. People love to talk. So many people spend so much time talking about all the things they would like to do, all the places they would like to see. Most people find themselves at the end of their lives saying 'I wish I had done half of the things I said I was going to do'. Few people actually act on these far fetched desires they chatter about. But some people do...
|home for a few days|
|en el campo de Pablo|
|tent inauguration! |
|wonder where this leads...??|
|after a little dip in the Chilean Pacific|
|straight from the garden|
Mr. Doug Bouck was adopted into the Steamboat 'family' several years ago after moving from Denver. This was his first trip outside the U.S. and it was fascinating to watch his reactions to everything. It is quite refreshing to have a new traveler in your midst because it opens your eyes to all the funny little foreign details that you begin to overlook after being on the road for so long. We were fortunate enough to have the best hosts/tour guides of all time. Pablo and the lovely 'Arelita' took charge of the gringo excursions, piling all five into the truck, mochilas in the back, a regretful goodbye to the casa del campo and off we went for a little tur de Chile. Hope you enjoy the sights...
|Peace on Earth|
|caught in mid-air|
|this pretty much sums it up...|
|Dougy Panzone in Puerto Montt ???|
|fresh off the boat! |
|where the locals eat seafood|
|Food Network worthy|
|Doug, VERY excited|
|just waitin for some scraps...|
A quick five hour bus ride later and we're back in Argentina. We arrived to Bariloche on December 1st, on a day quite similar to that on which I arrived late last June... grey skies, cold rain and relentless wind. Yep, this is Patagonia; unpredictable weather, winter temperatures in summer and a cloudy forecast for the entire length of the boys' stay. We waited out the storm at Tio Mauro's, drinking mate and Malbec. With a little patience and good luck, the clouds dispersed and we were given our only window of opportunity to make a mountain summit. Mau dropped us off in Pampa Linda were we embarked on our climb of Mt. Tronador. The highest peak in Northern Patagonia, Volcan Tronador straddles the Chilean/Argentine boarder and can be seen on clear days from miles away, it's white peak frozen year around by some of the gnarliest glaciers I've seen yet...
|a temporary farewell my friend. CO bound for the north american winter! |
Views from the summit, Paso de las Nubes. Refugio Augustino Rocca
|future mountain lion|
|bird man discovery|
Day 2, hike 4 hours down from Paso de las Nubes, then 5 hours back up the other side to Refugio Otto Meiling, perched impossibly between two glaciers. Doug bailed on us because he wanted to 'rough it' one night alone in the Patagonian wilderness, Bear Grills style. Long story short, he was chased out by mosquitoes and ended up sleeping in the quite posh hosteria. Bear Grills indeed...
Curcio and I struggled up the seemingly never ending mountain, arriving at sunset on nothing but fumes. But as always, the climb was well worth the reward...
|a little morning stretch session|
|Refugio Otto Meiling|
|my Mt. Everest shot|
|this quickly turned into butt sledding|
|misty morning on the glacier|
|it was a messy hike down...mud slide|
|back to civilization, a tipsy after dinner walk home|
|last day, picnic by the lake|
|until next time my friend! |
A little pre-departure drink before the boys 24 hour bus ride to Buenos Aires...
And so it went, adventures with gringos in Patagonia. Thank you for the friendship, laughter and peanut butter. much love amigos!