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“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” - Lao Tzu

18 February 2010

Building muscles in Bariloche

After our lovely stop off in Puerto Madryn we headed to the spectacular mountain town of Bariloche, where we all fell in love. The hostel we stayed at Refuigo Patagonia has the most amazing set of owners that are so kind and caring. This little mountain town nestled in the the jagged mountains of the northern part of patagonia is just like a swiss mountain town. Although this pueblo is the largest in patagonia it still has that small mountain town feel. Despite being very touristy because of the skiing in the winter and the trekking in the summer it is still one of our most favorite places in patagonia. I love it so much I am considering living there, the problem of course is the work visa and finding a job.

Let me tell you though having desayuno everyday looking out at this view from the kitchen makes you want to stay in this tranquillo mountain town forever. It reminds me that the rockies have spoiled me and that I will never be able to get the mountains out of my blood.

The other amazing thing about Bariloche besides the swiss mountain town feel, the chocolate, the amazing views, and the hostel we stayed at is they have amazing trekking. Let me tell you our first trek of this trip was very epic. We went for three days two nights and did a total of 30km over two mountain passes. Since it was three days and there is so much to write about I will refer you to Doug's blog for the second day account http://dougsouthamerica.blogspot.com/ and Morgan's blog for the dinner fiasco of the second night and the third day account http://hokeblot.blogspot.com/

Our first day on this trek was amazing, beautiful stunning and fun for all of us. We had 8,5 km of uphill hiking to do and we were ready. Throughout the day we often felt the heaviness of our large packs but we expected that and rested when we needed too. The day was hot with lots of flys (yeah for me and my natural bug spray!) but these things were only small prices to pay for the beauty around us.

After 3-5 hours of hiking (I can't remember exactly how long it ended up taking us) up to the first refuigo we arrived tired, a little sore but ready to get our tents set up and eat some dinner.

The first challenge of this was choosing a camp spot. Although there were several spots already set up one had to be wise in their choice because the wind was whipping around the mountain top and was not stopping any time soon. We ran into one of our friends from the hostel who had set his tent up in the afternoon and by the time he came back from dinner it had blown into the valley and only pieces remained. So we choose our spots and began to set up our tents. Doug and Morgan ended up moving theirs, and I had a guest to help me set up mine. A cute little white cat that's home was in the refugio decided to come crawl under my foot print while I was trying to keep the rest of my things and my tent from being ripped out of my hands by the wind.

After a few hours of getting blown around we finally got our tents set up. When I finished mine I went and helped Doug and Morgan build a little rock wall near their tent in order to give them a little more protection. After heading back to my tent and putting even more rocks around my rain fly in order to keep the wind out I just sat there listening to the wind and enjoyed the beautiful sunset.

While trying to keep warm and debating on whether I was actually hungry enough to leave the little warmth that I had in my tent to head over to Morgan and Doug's tent for dinner they came over to my tent. I am not sure if it was the hunger or the exhaustion from the hike that made those sandwiches so amazingly good, but they were definitely amazing.

Here are some more photos from the first day of the trek and one from the second day that I had to put up just to make sure it made it to the internet for all to see!

So head over to Doug and Morgan's blog for the next days of our trekks. After the trekk we returned to Bariloche for a few days where we decided to make the long journey to the end of the world....

10 January 2010

What goes with Amorcitos, Acampar y Animales.... oh that's right All night drum circles!

Oh the joys of travelling. Now begins the real journey of discovery... Morgan, Doug and I took this plushy, cushy, lovely bus from BA to Puerto Madryn... 18 hours on a bus is nothing when you get to sleep for most of it... excited upon arrival we then began looking for the bus to get closer to the campsite... although I was already highly aware of how heavy my backpack was in BA and lost a kilo there, the point was drilled home when we walked a kilometer up hill to the camp site. The campsite was nice but we were surround by people, not exactly a relaxing get away but it did not matter, we were off to Puerto Piramides the next day... we began slowly to realize as travelled on buses, and looked up information about places to stay the prices in the guide book we had were a little out of date, so we decided to metaphorically throw out the guide book, talk to locals and only use it in desperation. The day after we arrived we awoke tired, but excited to get to see some animals at the Penninusla Valdez and for our move to Puerto Piramides...

Upon arrival to the campground at Puerto Piramides we soon discovered a shanty town of tents, campers, homemade tents out of tarps etc... the cost of course was overpriced for this overcrowded shantyville. After checking with other local vagabonds to make sure we were not being given the gringo price we wandered around and staked our tents in sandy squalor. After further inquiry of those in the actual pueblo we found out that the animals that we had come all the way to see were located between 55-75 km away... this presented a problem for our travelling ways since our means of travel usually entails, buses and our feet. We then discovered the only way to accomplish what was becoming a spectacular feat of trying to see some penguins, that not only would we have to be tourists and take a little van around that stops for you to take pictures but that we would also have to pay an arm and a leg for it. At this point I would like to mention my amorcitios... Doug and Morgan... I call them my amorcitios when maybe esposos is a more appropriate term... since we are pretty much married on this trip it seems... we have slowly been working out the dynamic of trying to meet the desires and needs of three different people, which as with anything always takes time... at this point in the journey, our disappointment, grunger (that is grumpy hungry) and exhaustion from travelling began to take hold (did I mention that I was already sleep deprived from the all night babble at the hostel the week before)... well needless to say we were about ready to cut our losses and run when instead we decided we needed to salvage this sector, just deal and spend the money to see some animals. After all they were the only reason we had come to the Atlantic side of Patagonia. Our tourist trap tickets in hand we then decided to lay on the beach, finally our tension and stress from the day began to release. Over a warm, cheap dinner of pizza we decided our crappy day merited us a reward which would be spending the next night in a hostel in Puerto Madryn, instead of camping (this was a whopping $3 splurge for us... we are really cheap down here, and I mean REALLY cheap) So we had it set, amorcitios working out our dynamics, acampar (camping) for that night and from the night before, and animales set for the next day... the day had been salvaged... what more could we ask for right? Well little did we know we also must have wanted ALL night drum circles and motorcycle rallies. After going to bed at a reasonable hour so we could get up early the wind began to howl furiously, this is when I learned that my tent is not sand proof when I do not pull my rain fly tight enough. No big deal, I can deal with a little sand in my tent, so back to sleep I went... well next I woke up to the thumping beat of drums a few meters away... OK getting a little frustrated at this point, but this is why I have technology, head phones on and I am back to sleep... ah.. finally sleep... then 3 am rolls around.. I had no idea that not only were we sleeping in a shanty town with all night drum circles but somewhere we missed the posting for the motorcycle rally that was supposed to come through at 3 am. As the rumbling sound and sand from the motorcycles hit our feet, I began to question, what the hell am I doing here... finally when I decided to give up around 6 am to sleep and just pack up my stuff in order to get ready to go for the day, the drum circle participants decided this was the appropriate time to finish their beats and head to sleep... they definitely got the fiercest groggy look of death I could manage at that hour. The next day went off with out a hitch... although I wanted to stab myself in the eye because of the fact that we were in a tour bus and at every stop there was massive amount of people,

I thoroughly enjoyed the seals, sea lions

and penguins...

especially those majestic Magellan penguins...

We got to our hostel that night and enjoyed some lovely showers and rest, along with more dynamics work and some logistics planning, we made some amazingly smart decisions. First we all realized our time in Patagonia is one of the most precious things to us for our trip, so we cancel our ticket back to BA in February and decided we are skipping out on Carnival in Brazil (probably better for our safety in the long run). The next morning was further logistics work and after scouting info and making phone calls we knew we had to get to Bariloche as soon as possible... forget the train in viedma, forget all the other stresses we would have to deal with going to another town, we were heading to beautiful Bariloche... Well the bus station thowarted our ambition to get to the mountains, a little. We found that one of us was leaving that night and two would follow on Saturday, no big deal a few days apart does us good. So Morgan and I stayed hanging out on the beach in Puerto MAdryn for a few days, Doug headed to Bariloche and made tons of friends in the hostel here and started planning our treks. As for now, I am sitting in Bariloche, in my hostel, overlooking the beautiful lake with the mountains in the background, while Doug and Morgan play chess. We are headed to a 3 day trek in the Patagonia mountains, and I can tell you that this is why I came here. I travel because I want to learn, learn to communicate better, learn to travel on my own and with my friends, learn to let go of expectations and planning, learn to just go with the flow. This is why I came here, to struggle, to enjoy my time with my amorcitos, to acampar, to enjoy the animales, and even the all night drum circles. I love the struggle, my friends, and the joy of exploration. Next I am off to trek for 3 days in the beautiful patagonia mountians and after that, who knows. Until next time... Chau Besos!


09 January 2010

From Ba to the Beyond

Well my final week in BA turned out to be totally different from the first two weeks. First I met a vegan from brazil named sara, she was really sweet and I geninuely enjoyed her company and spending time with her. The best part is that I have someone to visit when I get to Brazil. My final week at my quite little hostel in BA turned into a giant party. People, tons of people arrived for the holidays. The hostel became party centeral so sleep depervation became a consistent theme in my life, not because I was partying but instead because the room I stayed in was located between the common area and the patio. This ideal location meant that quite moments for sleep in my room were between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm everyday. One of the best parts about meeting sara was that she loves to read and we found this amazing gigantic bookstore in an old theatre... isn't it beautiful!

Additionally I enrolled in a spanish course for my last week. Although my spanish and confidence in conversation had been vastly improving from the constant talking I did with other guests in the hostel I was really hoping to imrpove my grammar. My classes turned out to be me paying to have conversation and get a little grammar on the side, needless to say I was not thrilled. I was geninuely enjoying my time by myself cooking, reading, knitting, meeting tons of new people and having lots of new conversations when suddenly the 31st arrived. This day brought with it two of my dearest friends to ring in the new year with me in Buenos Aires.

Doug and morgan, brought laughter, joy and excitment for the next step of adventure. While in BA we of course attempted planning (which in many ways was a success and in others was a failure... see next blog), some sight seeing (the cemetary in recoleta was eerily beautiful), general recovery of jetlag for them, and of course the beginning of the epic south america adventure!

18 December 2009

Buen Dia!

So I figured it has been far to long since I have posted anything on my blog. After a long summer of feeling suffocated from working at changs but still really enjoying my time in California I have finally made it to south america. I learned so much the 6 months I was living in California about my self and about what it means to be in a long term relationship and what it means to live with someone that you love. It was so nice to get to have that experience, although difficult at times I am very grateful for all of it. Now as far as south america. I am in Buenos Aires (BA) which I love. I have discovered that living in large cities is something that I can do for a time but that it is not some place that I would like to be for to long. BA is a huge city, I think it is comparable to LA maybe even bigger. I found this amazing hostel online that I have been staying at called hostel Sol. It is a little bit far from all the touristy stuff but I of course love that about it. This colorful hostel spans two floors and is painted in bright greens, yellows, blues etc. Its color also comes from the lively group of people who run the place and those who live here. What I love the most about it is that it is more of a place for people who are in BA for an extended period of time. I also love the fact that it is fairly quite and not a party hostel and of course cheap, all things I really wanted out of my first three weeks here. I have been meeting people of course and gone out a few times which was really fun. Buenos Aires has these amazing 24 hour cafés that all of the porteños (that is the locals) stay all night at and just talk. I of course have already done this with some other travellers and my local friend Nicolás. I fill most of my time here by reading, cooking and going into microcentro (which is the center of the city) on the subte(that is the subway). The hardest part of the trip so far of course has been the language, I was hoping that my spanish would come back better then it has so far but to no avail, not speaking spanish for two years has to much of an impact on your language skills. In addition the accent in Argetina is very different then any I have hear before the say their double ll as sh instead of y and they you vos as a replacement for two. That can also be slightly confusing. I am hoping to remedy a little bit of my language stuff by taking an intensive spanish course next week. It is hard finding a course that is close and not to expensive. I have really been enjoying this time by myself and think that travelling alone is something that I will continue to do in my life. I enjoy it because you do not have a group to stick to which means that you end up meeting more people and talking to others where you would not otherwise. People often worry about safety and security when travelling to another country which is a very legitimate concern because I have talked to multiple people here who have been pick pocketed in discos and on the subte. Fortuantely for me this is not something that I have yet to deal with, but I am also very smart about it. I never take anything more then US $20 with me a day and I do not take anything else important. I am also very aware of my surroundings at all times, there has not been one instance that I have felt unsafe or insecure so far. Which is a plus since I do not have the security of my friends around. Since BA is so European I blend right in... except for the bright green streaks I have in my hair. However I am fairly certain that the stairs I get here are the same ones I would get in the states. If I could I think I would live in BA for a few more months. Only so that I could master the language and meet more people. I am however getting to the place where I am ready to be out of the city and into the beautiful nature that is Patagonia. That is the next step in this great adventure. Doug and Morgan arrive on the 31st just in time to celebrate new years with me. I am looking forward to that and to travelling south. It is so interesting because I thought 6 months was going to be enough time, now I feel like it is no where near enough time for all the things I want to do and all the places I want to see. I think I could spend 6 months just here in BA or 6 months in patagonia, or 6 months in Peru. I am very grateful for this experience so far and am enjoying my life here in Buenos Aires. I will try to do better about updating this weekly from here on out, at least. Besos! Chau!


07 July 2009

Tree hugging dirt worshipper

Well we already knew that I am a dirt worshiper since I love archaeology especially when I get to dig for 'old stuff' and I think that deep down inside we all had a hunch that I would eventually be a tree hugger as well. Those beautiful sequoia redwoods must have had some type of magic over me because as soon as we got there I couldn't help but hug those beautiful trees. JD, Doug, Morgan, Will, Kamy and I visited Calavaras Big Trees state park a few weeks back. The day was rainy but that only added to the beauty of the forest.Experiencing those giant trees was one of the most magnificent experiences I've had so far. Just walking under those 2000 year old trees reminded me of all that had changed in their lifetime and all that will continue to change before they fall. It made me feel like I do when I stand in the surf of the ocean and look out over the vastness of the ocean, small and insignificant yet also apart of everything around me. Maybe it was the quiteness of the forest or the laughter of those around me, whatever it was those trees reminded me what I am doing here, why I am on this adventure. There are no words to descibe the gratefullness I felt to be in that forest with my closest friends that day. Nor are there words to describe the great seqouia redwood except maybe to say that they are incandescently beautiful. Even that can't really explain how I felt standing underneath them.

This at least shows how I felt standing underneath them

So thanks to the giant sequoia redwoods I now have the title of tree hugger in addition to my dirt worshipping status. Needless to say I am really loving my time out here. I am feeling more connected to JD each day and am enjoying our adventure together. I love you.

Love to all!
Truly yours,

Calavaras Big Trees State Park

07 June 2009

Welcome to the rest of your life...

The ending of college for me is not the cliche beginning to the rest of my life. I have been uncovering who I am, understanding the joy and beauty in the world, and already been living my life. So for me the ending of college is just the beginning of a new section of the life I have already been living. This blog is a record for my self but also a way in which I hope to keep those who are interested updated and connected with me. I hope for those of you who choose to read this to please respond to these posts, share your thoughts, feelings, emotions and stories of your own life. Tell me of the things that my stories remind you of from your own life. For those of you reading these post do not feel comfortable expressing your self in this way through posts on here feel free to do so to me in e-mail, or if you just don't feel comfortable sharing with me that's ok also. I hope that this blog instead brings you closer to me and helps you to better understand who I am and who I am becoming as I explore my self and the world around me. I am so excited for this next year and the adventure, life and love it will bring with it. I am excited to learn from others and about myself. I am excited to listen to those around me and to my own heart. I am excited to uncover and explore the inner depths of my soul and I am excited to do this with the people I love and the new people around me. My first stop along this year long adventure is Cupertino California. I get to spend an amazing summer working, camping, hiking, enjoying the city and most importantly living with a very special man. The one who happens to make my heart soar and my soul sing. Here is what our room looked like after a very long weekend of driving and then "unpacking". All of this was my stuff.... However, we nested and it's much nicer now. Please remember to share your stories and lives with me. I hope that you will enjoy reading these and will be able to learn and grow as I do on my continued journey of discovery and exploration.

Love to All
Truly yours,