Monday, March 30, 2009

Pacific Sighting Part 2

We got back to Lalos house arround 4 had a quick shower and jumped into bed for a little nap before our hot springs trip. The alarm went off at 6:30. So I quickly shut it off and went back to sleep as my body was in no shape at all to move. The next awakening was arround 12:30. A little to late to do much so I hit the pillow again and slept through till about 8 the next moring. Looks like im all caught up on sleep for the past few days of late nights and early mornings. That day we ate our terrible "fitness" cereal that someone, somehow talked me into purchasing. Never again! After choking down the box (there smaller here) we headed to the bus station to get some tickets to get outta Pucon and away from Lalo. Conveniently Lalo was for some reasom loafing arround the bus station. As soon as we steped in the door he started flabbing about us looking like zombies walking accross the parking lot. We told him where we were headed, then he sang the beach boys surfing safari for the next 10 miuates. Someone please kill this man!!! Anyway we got our info, rushed home and packed and got outta there before he could waddle home to see us off.

The next bus to Temuco left 15 miuates after we got to the bus station. So that worked out perfectly. It was a small bus with about 30 seats on it. About an hour after leaving the station with 7 of us on it we counted well over 50 people crammed on this tiny bus. Wierd how the only 1st world country we have visited cant afford a bit bigger bus. Luckly this time we had some tickets with seat numbers on them. It was about a 2 hour trip to Temuco where we grabbed our 8 hour ride to Rancagua. Busses here are very wierd, they just seem to drop you off wherever, but if you dont know where wherever is, sometimes it leaves you standing on the side of the highway at 10 at night. Luckly there was a little food stand just closing up with some nice people that hauled out there pay phone and made a quick call for us. This is just the begining of this night. We jumped in the cab and headed for the only hostel in the book. After about 10 minuates of flying through the city we came to a place that looked like knowone had been for years. Thanks lonley planet! The cab driver sayed he knew a place that was a little better. So he continued to drive us to a very fancy place that we could not afford. Then in broken english he told us of a place he knew that we could get a nice room for 14000 pecos. (about 20 bucks) we said sure and off we went like a hurd of turtles. On the way he told us in again very broken english that we got the place for 10 hours and it came with 2 free drinks. Well thats what we could understand anyway. A little worried we contiued. We drove by a place called the "Hotel Nevada" on the way. It had alot of neon and martini glasses on the sign, and Sage and I both looked at each other and chuckled. Arround the corner was where he was going to drop us off. This place looked realy sketchy. The Hotel Nevada may have had some neon, but this place had big hearts everywhere and looked like a dump. We told him that we didnt want to stay here. By this time it was probly 11:30 and we were both sick of being in this guys cab. We backed out of the driveway and went arround the corner to..........The Hotel Nevada! Sage and I were a little unsure about this place but he asured us it was great. A little creeped out Sage asked the driver is it was a sex hotel. He laughed a little then answered yes. Sage and I being a little worried about what the hell was going on told him that we wanted to leave. He again asured us that it was a good place and took us to one of the rooms. You dont even have to check in. All the rooms are unlocked and you just walk in. It was actualy a nice little room. With a few to many mirrors but hell we were tired and didnt want to go back accross town, so we told him we would take it. He quickly grabbed the phone on the wall and began speaking to whomever was on the other end. He stoped beiefly to ask us what drinks we wanted, then hung up and said "alright its done". Sage and I had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into. While we were arranging with the cab driver to pick us up at 10 the next morning there was a knock on the little cubby hole on one side of the room. Sage went over and was handed a tray with 2 drinks on it, some chocolate bars and the remote for the TV. She paid the woman 10500 pecos and the door closed and that was that. The cab driver then contiued to grab the room service menu and tell us what was good and what to stay away from. Seemed like he had been here a few to many times. Wierdest thing ever.

The cab driver showed up in the morning and took us to the hot spot for empanadas. (very good pastry things) then to the bus station to get a bus to Pichilemu. The surf town that we are now in, and loving. We got a nice campsite, in the yard of a very nice couple who have been taking very good care of us. He even took us in his car to the supermarket to get our food. We got to town in the late afternoon, and while setting up our tent realized that we again forgot to hang it to dry and now was starting to mold, very dissapointing. So we tossed it in the sink and scrubbed the hell out of it. We got it clean enough to live in, but our plans of selling it in boliva are not looking so good. We went for a little walk arround town and watched some huge waves break onto the beach. This is supposed to be a nice place to learn to surf but we definatly were in the wrong spot for that. This morning we got a little better orientated with the town and learned the good spots to learn and the spots to watch. The waves were huge again today and the learning spot couldnt handle the big waves and was just whitewash. So Sage and I rented some bicycles from a guy and headed 6kms south of town to watch the pros in action. These guys are crazy, they were surfing right off a real gnarly rock point where they would walk out as far as they could on the rocks, then hop into the water and paddle through these massive waves and strong currents to get out to where the waves are breaking nicely. Then ride them 600 meters are so and hop off and do it all over again. They make it look so easy out there.

We are hoping to get into the water tommorow to do a little surfing of our own. Hopefully the waves coperate for us. If not we are going to take off and head up to Santiago where we are going to go to Valparaisoand mabie try to get some better surf up there, we will see. The weather here is warmish but the water is still very cold, with a nice thick wetsuite it looks manageable. Hopefully things are warming up for you all in the north. I have recieved official word from Jordan that he will be flying into Peru and meeting us on the 7th of may along with Riley Johnson from summerland. Sage and I are both excited to have them along with us for a while.
Thats it for now.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pacific Sighting

We left Bariloche, Tuesday afternoon arround 3 and headed north for Juin de los Andes. The bus ride was about 4 hours, so it wasnt bad. We grabbed a taxi from the bus terminal to the campsite that we found in the lonley planet and set up camp. Finding that we forgot to dry our tent out in Baraloche since we had to roll it up wet in El Bolsen. Luckly it hadent been to long and the mold hadnt started yet and with a good brushing and some airing out seemed good as new. Juin was a nice small town set beside the river with alot of people fly fishing for trout all the way between Bariloche and Juin. We came specialy to Juin to see Parque Lanin, and the volcano that is in the park. We thought that it was just a short bus ride out to a nice national park, but it turned out to be 2 hours of mostly droping off locals that live in the park and the bus dropping us off at the end of the road beside a church in the absolute middle of knowhere. We wandered down to the lake and had some breakfast, hung out for a bit then desided to go check out a different spot. While we where walking back to the church to try to find somewhere to go we ran into a guy that was in the same situation as us except he had just come from where we were planning to go and he informed us that there was just a field with nothing. So we started the "1 km" walk to the beach. about 4 kms of hot dry gravel road later we arrived at the beach. With a nice view of the volcano we sat/slept for a few hours and soaked up a little sunshine in the mountains. We were expecting a little more from the park but everything was so spread out that we couldnt realy see much else. But it was definalty cool to see the huge volcano all covered in snow.

The next morning we had to catch the 6:30 bus, so we arranged a taxi to the bus station for 6. When I woke up 10 to 6 in the tent, still not packed, there was a bit of a panic. Luckly the taxi driver was nice and waited arround a bit for us to finish up packing again a very wet tent. At the bus terminal there was a guy that looked about our age wandering arround sipping a coffee. This gave Sage a definate reason to talk to him to find out where she could get a warm, cafinated beverage of her own. He sent her off across the street for coffee and he asked me if I had heard of anything exciting to do in Temuco, since he had a day to kill till he met his firend. I couldnt lie to the guy, since I had just read in the lonley planet about how shitty Temuco was and to only go there if you needed to catch another bus north. So after chatting with him for a bit he decided that he would jump off the bus with us in Pucon. He had just droped off his rental motorcycle that he had been traveling arround with in southern Argentina for the last 2 weeks. Sounded like quite the trip. The bus ride was a nice one winding though the andes between Argentina and Chille. We went through a huge forest fire site with lots of hot spots still burning up on the montain side. Getting out of Argentina was no problem, but we had a minor panic at the Chille side when we realized that we couldnt bring the 2 avocatos that were grown in Chille back to there home land. The bus driver had a little panic when we asked him about them but he just grabbed them from us and left them on the counter, kinda wierd.

We got into Pucon in the afternoon and had intentions to camp but after having our arms twisted by Mr. Lalo Bravo, we desided to stay at his hostel with Chris (the guy we met drinking coffee in Juin). Now Lalo was quite the character. He was a short, stocky local with absolute rubber gums. This guy talked the ear right off your head, and was more full of shit than anyone I have ever met. It all started with him saying "my place is right arround the corner, 2 and a half blocks" he offered to pay for us to take a cab but we all decided that after a fairly long bus ride a little walk wouldnt hurt. Quickly the 2.5 blocks turned into a 10 minuate hike arcoss town. Chris was a fairly whitty guy from the UK that had no problem telling Lalo what he thought about his measuremet abilitys. When we got to his steet he pointed out his hostel. "Thats my hostel, but it burnt down so you are going to be staying here, in my house" We all had a little chuckle and headded in. It was quite a nice place, and he seemed to have no peoblem moving his belongings so that Sage and I could have his room. Along with his picture of a half naked girl, magazine cut out of a motorcycle, and a stuffed panda the size of a volkswagen bug. So wierd, but atleast the bed was comfy. He made us some coffee and got us some bread and jam. Then continuted to talk untill we all just had to leave before someone hit him. He told us all about his life, and how he runs all the tourism in the town through his website. And how he runs the newspaper in town, even tho the only issue he could dig up for us to see was from febuary 2008 and consised of 8 pages, 4 of them being duplicates of the opposite page. So we left him to book our Volcano hiking tour and headed into town for a cheezeburger.

The exchange rate in Chille takes a bit to get your head arround its arround 600 pecos to the american dollar. So things like accomidation are arround 5000 a night and things like the vocano tour are 35000. Sounds wierd to say that and ice cream is 900 pecos. But we are used to it now and are droping thousands everywhere. We had some great cheezeburgers intown and headded to the bach to check it out. There we ran into a guy that Chris had met in Bariloche from New York who was chatting with a girl from Edmonton. We all sat arround and chatted for a bit then decided to go grab some beers. We sat on the roof top of the little resturant on the beach, and talked about mostly home but Chris and I could sneek in a little morotcycle chat here and there. Sage and I had to go at 8 that night and get our boots fitted for our volcano hike at 7 the next morning. After the fitting, we ran back to the hostel and had some dinner that Chris prepared for us, then headed back into town for some more beers with our little english speaking crew.

Lalo had promised us the night before that he would get us up at 6am sharp and have us some coffee ready. At 7 he knocked on our door and said "Im sorry guys I slept in, the car will be here in 5 minates to pick you up". Appaently Chris had kept him up all night snoring. Made our little morning rush worth it when we heard that. The car arrived and we jumped in and sped off twards the meeting place where we grabbed our gear, jumped in the van and headded up the mountain. It was quite a drive to the base of the volcano where we grabbed a old double ski chair up a short portion of the hike to save us a little time and energy. 2 guys in the group decided not to take the lift but Sage and I and both our guides went for it. When we got to the top one of the guides took Sage and I up the mountain for a head start. It was quite the climb and the guide seemed to be in a bit of a rush. We had a fair amount of grear on our backs and hiked for about an hour and a half to the glacier for our first break. Sage was having a little toruble with the pace that the guide had set. But she did realy well and pressed on to the glacier. We had a quick sandwich at the base of the glacer while we waited for the other 3 to meet us. After a little grub we straped on our crampons and headed up the face of the glacier on to the top and hiked for another hour or so to where we met the rock again. The guides were very pushy and seemed to be in a rush the whole way up. Rushing us all a little and realy taking the wind out of Sage. The guides insisted that she not continue past the glacier, but didnt expain very well why. She was tired but she figure that she could make it, but they just wouldnt let her go on. They desided that one guide would stay with her and the other would take us other 3 to the top. About 3 minuates into the climb I realized why they wouldnt let Sage come. The winds dam near blew us off the side of the mountain, and the only thing that somewhat resembled a trail was the rocks falling from the guilde ahead of me. Its was 50 minuates of climbing on my hands and knees on lava rock. I thought about 10 minuates in that there was no way that we where going to make it to the top. Most of the other groups had turned arround and headed down, but we pressed on. It almost everything I had to make it to the top of that volcano but it was worth it. Being on top was like being inside a tornato. The clouds were whizing arround the top at what looked like 100 miles an hour and just standing was a struggle. The guide gave us 5 minuates for pictures then drug us back down. I was a little dissapointed that we didnt get to see any lava, but the sound of it down in the pit was quite amazing. Crashing and cracking who knows what while stream and sulpher porued out and burned my nostrils. A little nasty but still quite cool. The way down was just as windy as the way up. It actualy put me onto my hands and knees a few times, and I had to pee so bad. That was quite a chore, I didnt even see it hit the ground. When I got back to where Sage was she was so cold that she could barely speak. We quickly tossed on our crampons and headed down the montain. Getting a little blood flowing in Sages veins got her wamer and got a smile back on her face. Once we got off the ice, we had another little break and ate another sandwich. Then it was a 45 minuate downhill run in a dust bowl of shale. It was defiatly alot better than going down the trail we came up, alot easyer on my knees. We all jumped in the van and nodded off till we were back in town.

The volcano hike was quite an experiance. I had some fun but im sure that Sages blog has a different opinion about it. Anyway we are now in a town called Pichilemu that is nicly placed on the Pacific ocean. Very nice to see again. Its late and im very tired so I will tell you all about the journey from the Pucon to hear probly tommorow.

Good Night.

Monday, March 23, 2009

White Water!

We are up in Bariloche now, and what a beautiful town it is. Its apparently one of the largest towns in "patagonia", and is full of touristy things to do. Its right on the Chile boarder and a huge lake, so im only sure that in summer this place is crazy. There is already alot of tourists here. We grabbed a cab from the bus depot to a hosel that Alex and Christine (our friends from Montreal that we met in El Chalten) recomended to us. It was in a tall appartment building on the 10th floor. The lobby of the building was beautiful, but as soon as we got in the elevator we were both thinking this might be our last stop. sketchy. We got to the top finaly and poked our heads arround the corner and at the end of a dark hallway the was the sign 1004 on the door. The hostel being called "Hostel 1004" we figured that was it. We rang the bell and the door opened to the most wild place I have ever seen. The whole front was glass overlooking the lake and some of the town, with tables and couches everywhere. A huge kitchen and what seemed like a great place to stay, of course they where full. So, back down the elevator from hell and across the street to where I am now, "The Backpackers Hostel" still quite a nice place. We dropped our things and headed out into the city to do some browsing. And just that we did. Grabbed some lunch, watched an outdoor free concert and relaxed.

Later last night we went on a journey to book a whitewater rafting adventure for today, after we went to a few places we found a guy that took our money, gave us a slip of paper and said his company was full, but he would find us one and they would pick us up at 9am. After we left we both figured we would never see that money again, no one would come to get us and the mans office would be empty in the morning. We were up at 8 had our breakfast, and for the first time since we have been here the company was early, a man came in the door at 5 to 9 and hauled us out to the van. We grabed a few more people and headed out the hour and a half drive to the launch. After some paved ruta 40 we bumped down a dirt road for about an hour that led us to a field with a nice little log cabin to one side. We could see from the van the breakfast spead waiting for us. We ate some bread and jam, drank some coffee then went to get suited. Within 10 minutes all 6 of us looked ridiculous. Mom, Dad and Jordan im sure you all know! Pictures are coming. We then drove another 10 minutes to the launch point, had our safety lesson and jumped in the boat.

We were with a few Argentinians who seemed like they had never seen a river before, let alone been sent down one in a rubber dingy. But after Sage and I got a good rhythm going for the boat they did alright. Except for one guy, just a wild man with a paddle. The river was a little small this time of year but it was so beautiful it made up for it. Ther water was so clear you could see every rock and log on the bottom. It flows down through a narrow canyon for 10 kms that took us about 2 hours to get through. There were 10 rapids with nice long slower sections in between for swimming. Quite cold swimming but swimming. The water was down arround 4 or 5 meters from its spring run-off level. Our guide was showing us some of the rocks that they cant even see in the summer, that now seemed huge. In one section of the canyon you can see where the water has cut huge funnels in the rocks from the whirlpools. Quite amazing, one of them was probly 15 feet deep with just a little hole in the bottom for water to come out. We had an absolute blast in the river, but when we came to the Chillean boarder we had to get out. We hiked up a huge hill out of the canyon. Luckly there where a few horses to carry out the boat! I couldnt believe these horses going up that steep of a hill. We crossed over the border on the trail up the hill and hit chile for the first time (for about 30 seconds). At the top the van was waiting with our dry clothes. We changed up and headed back to base camp. When we arrived, again we could see the meal before we went inside. This time it was quite a spread. Potato salad, regular salad, wine and a huge huge plate of BBQ steak, chorizo and chicken. We ate till we couldnt move, sat for a bit then headed to town.

Its was quite a day, and we had a hell of a good time. We are both hoping that we can do it again sometime on this trip. Everyone in the van slept most of the way home, except for me and the driver. (of course) I cant seem to sleep with passes like that happening on the highway! When we got back to the hostel we both just relaxed for a bit rubbing our shoulders from all that paddeling. Had showers and now here I am writing this. Tommorow we are heading north again, to Junin de los Andes, with the nearby national park lanin. That is home to a volcano! Should be awesome. Thats the update.
Later Orin.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

El Bolsen

It has been way to long since I have writen on here, bad for you the reader. But even worse for me the memory man and typer. We got out of El Chalten on the night bus up route 40 to Los Antigous. It was about 14 hours of mostly dirt road north. It was a little grueling to be honest, but it was realy nice to make some miles north. We got into Los Antigous arround 3 in the afternoon and grabed a nice campsite on the outskirts of town. Had a little stretch out sleep and then headded into the town. Looks like it might be a striving community in summer but I think we where a little late to get the full feel of the town as it was a little empty. We got some grocerys and headded back to camp. We desided to leave the next day and try to make it to Trelew to see the Penguin reserve. We grabbed the 6am bus out of town the next morning and rode the 14 hours up to Trelew. Seemes long but it actualy wanst a bad day. I did alot of sleeping. In Trelew we tryed to rent a car to go to the campsite then down to the penguins the next day. But even in this country you must be 25 to rent a car. So we grabbed a spot in a hostel and figured we would take one of the tour busses down to the penguins. We had heard the hertz will rent to younger people so we got the hostel manager to call just to check. Success, they would have the car at the front door the next morning at 9. So we put some pictures on our blogs (finaly) and went to bed. (finaly)

In the morning we packed up and headded the 115kms south to the penguin reserve in our nice Volkswagen Gol (not Golf, just Gol) We got to the penguin reserve arround 11 and headded in. We walked about 50 feet before we came accross our first penguin. Walking and squaking its way along, easly 1 km from the ocean. Sage was soo concerened that she was headding to tell the park ranger that there was a lost dieing penguin walking arround out here, when we noticed a few other penguins standing arround. As we continued our walk we started seeing more and more penguins huddling under brush for shade. Then there where just hundreds of them everywhere. They are such helarious animals. There so curious and want to look at you just as much as you want to look at them. They walk right up to you and then put there head from side to side like a dog trying to figure out what you are. We walked a little further down to the water where we sat on the edge of a little cliff and watched them play in the water for a while. They are fast creatures in the water. It says that they will go up to 600kms away to find food for there young. It was so strange to see Guanacos (lama like creatures) wandering arround all these penguins sharing the countryside. After a few hours we where back in the Gol headding north for Gaiman. Its a Welsh community kinda in the middle of nowhere. It says in the book that its good for its all you can eat tea houses with traditional welsh goodies. Sage and I followed a number of large signs down a dirt road to a little mansion. The place was realy well kept and we where feeling a little out of place. As we approched the building there was a plack saying that the tea house had being visited by princess Diana in 1995!! There was a bunch of pictures just inside the door of her infront of the building. Starting to feel a little more underdressed in my cut off jean shorts and tee shirt. A little lady probly in her late 70´s early 80´s met us at the door with a smile and got us set up at a nice table. Then...the food came, plates FULL of sandwiches, cakes and all sorts of goodies with a big pot of tea. So Sage and I sat there for a few hours and worked away at this mountain. It was awesome in there, it felt exactly like Nana´s house. And the treats where very similar to what she used to make. We both left feeling a little sick from all the food but we felt like we needed to finsh what they put infront of us since she seemed quite dissapointed that we didnt want more. After we left we went for a nice drive through the country side back to Trelew where we spent some time hanging arround waiting for the guys to come pick up the car. We then whiped up a salad in the bus station while we waited for our bus to come. Hopped on at 10:45 and headded the 12 hours to El Bolsen.

We are now in El Bolsen having a wonderfull time relaxing and just enjoying the country side. Its a realy nice town with a large market a few times a week. We went today and got some delish waffles with blackberries, strawberries and rasberries with whipcream and powdered sugar.....drool. We are camping here in a nice little campsite a short walk out of town. We have seen quite a few people here that we saw in El Chalten. Its kinda funny how everyone takes the same routes. Today we went out to a waterfall about 10kms outside of town. Nice little spot, not alot of water but quite a tumble down the rocks. We where there for a few hours and had some lunch and just relaxed. Nice thing to do after soo much bussing. But tommorow we head north again. Its only 2 hours so it shouldnt be to bad. We are headding to Baraloche, where we are going to do some more hiking and mountain watching!

Pam, I suppose that a ¨bin trailer loaded¨ might be a bit of a farm orientated measuring device, but i sppose its equal to arround 6 volkswagen jettas. ¨Faulder talk¨ . And im just not sure why my blog is lacking the descriptive language that Sages holds. Sometimes I think shes fit for a life at sea.

Hope to hear some stuff from you guys in the comments section. Miss you all very much.
See You Soonish!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cool Motocycle picture from Uruguay.

The intire town of Cabo Polonia.

A nice old truck!

Sage on her river crossing!

The mighty Fitz Roy peaking out. (camera died on this picture)

finaly a few pictures

The bikes here are crazy! My favorite to date....The WINNER

Cabo Polonia sunset.

The streets of Buenos Aires.

Lots of stray dogs down here. Always seeking shade.

Checkin out something....

Friday, March 13, 2009

the big hike......or TREK

Well the first hike of the trip was a success. We spent most of the monrning running arround dropping off half our stuff that we didnt need at a hostel, where they would keep it safely for us. Getting food and water for the trip and trying to figure out how to get out of town as it felt like we had been walking back and forth across town for hours. Unfortunatly we picked the steepest trail out of town known to man. It was about 40 minuates of hell. It was about like climbing up the sand pit at the Y 4 times with a bag that was improperly packed. But we made it and once we were at the top it was worth it. The trail leveled out and wound arround some marsh areas and back twards the peaks towering above us. The view was awesome and we had a clear view of mount Torre. A thin tall peak that is just over 3000 meters. Looks like quite the climb. It took us arround 4 hours to reach our first camp site. The campsite was in a great loacation tucked out of the wind and righ beside a rearing glacier river. What is it again the makes glacier water so murky? tastes good anyway. We set up camp and headded up to the small lake at the base of the mountain with a glacier hanging into it at the far end. We could feel the cold comming off the water when we were standing beside it. I figure if you fell in you would have about a minuate before you couldnt move. We walked arround to where the river left the lake and found two ropes tightly strung out arross it for climbers to cross and make there summit attempts. There was a little sign there that said experianced climbers only. Open ice and rock past this point... We desided that we better not push for the summit at that point. We payed on the ropes for a bit then headded back to camp.

It rained a bit that night and into the next day, so we desided to stay camped where we were and not get wet on the 5 hour hike to the next camp site. We didnt realy get up to much that day. Lots of lazing arround waiting for the rain to stop so we could go hike arround a little. We made some realy good soup and had that to wram us up a little. It was a little cold for sages sleeping back so I took a turn that night sleeping completly clothed and still froze. The next morning we packed up and headed for Fits Roy. Another valley that ends with a mountian a little bigger than Torre. I believe its summit is arround 3500 meters. The hike was a little tough at the begining arain but leveled out and passed through some lakes and realy nice forests. Our camera battery unfortunalty died shortly after we had a view of the mountain so we only got a few pictures. Lucky we ran into some americans that snaped a few shots of us and said they would email them to us. Sure hope they do. The Fits Roy camp was just as nice as the other. With good wind protection and a river to fill our bottles. We set up camp then went exploring a little and found some nice little streams and fields. That night we used both my sleeping bag and sages as a blanket and had a nice warm night. The Hotcore pulls through again!!!

We left the next morning arround noon to come back to town. This was a nice hike since it was mostly flat with a little downhill here and there. The views yesterday where a little cloudy and it was soo windy that it pushed us arround quite a bit, but luckly it was a tail wind and pushed us in the right direction. It took us about 3 hours to get back to town will a little lunch stop. The final hill was a little tuff on the old knees but we made it without to much trouble. Sage for the amount she told me that shes not a hiker did awsome. And by the fourth day was into a speedy groove. We droped into town arround 3 and the wind in the valley was blowing soo hard that there was no way that we where going to camp. So we found a nice hostel and got a room for the next 3 days since thats the quickest we can get a bus north to where we will cross into chile. Anyway sage is anxiously awaiting me to finish this so we can go make some pancakes, so I best not keep her waiting any longer.
Love Orin

Saturday, March 7, 2009

from sun to snow.

Punta del diablo was great, our second night in the tent was quite a bit better than the first, still a little sand problem, but a little rain comming down kept us cool. We had an awesome BBQ the night before we left at our hostel. The was a guy there from Seattle so we talked with him alot since he has been where we are going. They have a realy neat way of cooking down here. They have these big brick, waist high fireplaces with two grills in them. A larger one that sits about a foot high and another smaller grill thats a little lower. They start a fire ontop of the larger grill and let it burn till coals start falling through. They put all the meat on the smaller grill, then just slide the coals out from under the big grill to the cooking side. Works awesome since you can keep fresh coals comming all the time. At the hostel we had a bunch of chrizo, steak and salad. They cut there beef quite differently down here so it has alot of bones and fat on it, but the meat in between is awsome. It was raining quite heavy when we went for the bus on wednesday. So we used the rain coats and rain covers for our bags that day, kept us both nice and dry. The bus ride went by quite quick, the only problem is when you get picked up at the little stops out in the country, they dont give you a ticket, so you dont have a seat number and when people come on that have a ticket and your in there seat you have to move. Sometimes there is no seats to move into so you are left standing in the isle of a greyhound, very wierd.

We got into Montevideo early afternoon and headded back to Che Lagarto, the hostel we stayed in before, since we knew where it was and the air argentina office was right next door. We wanted to get our tickets to El Calfate that day so we went and did just that. It ended up costing a little more than we wanted to get down here but with time saved on the bus it was defatly for the best. The next day we grabbed the bus up to Calona where we could get the boat accross to Buenos Aires. It was about a 3 hour bus ride, but the seats were plush and it was quite a nice ride. When we got into Calonia the bus took us right to the ferry teminal. We already had tickets so we checked in then hit customs. Getting through customs was a bit of a scare. Apparently we needed to keep our buquebus tickets that we used to get into Uruguay. We did not know this and both of us had tossed them probly at the termal when we arrived in the country. Luckly there was a guy there who spoke english and only took a little convincing to let us out of his country. The boat ride seemed quite long as we putted along at a snails pace. The big boat is way slower than the little one but we desided to take it to save some cash. We got our bags, this time making sure we had everything still attached and headded for the familiar Ostinatto hostel. Lucas was still working there for 10 more days so we got to see him again along with our old room mate Oggy. By the time we got to the hostel it was after 10 and by the time we went to the bank and ate dinner it was midnight, by the time we got to bed it was 1 and we were up at 4 to get the sleepy ride to the airport. Most terrifying cab ride yet! seemed like the cabby was running on less sleep than us.

The plane ride was prety good, except for the guy behind sage who did not want her to put her seat back, and tryed to break her neck instead of telling her by slamming the seat foreward as hard as he could, after the 4th time and some english spanish yelling matches we settled on a half way mark. One rude dude. We threw some left over Uruguay pesos at his head later when he got off the plane. Lucky the stewardest was on our side. The flight was actualy 2 short flights and in total took about 3 hours. It was a bit of a shock when we got out of the airport, we left a huge city 3 hours ago and now we were standing at tiny little airport beside a glacier blue lake with huge mountains to one side and a desert to the other. It was a 25km bus ride to the heart of El Calfete, a small tourist town about the size of whistler. We found a hostel were we could camp in the little orchard in the back for 5 bucks a night with use of the showers and kitchen, made some delicious rice and stirfry then went to bed in the tent. Sage seemed to be a little cold waking up in the night to put on a few more clothes. I slept like a baby (good sleeping bag mom).

We got up this morning at what we thought was 6 to head to Glaciar Perito Moreno. But after we walked over to the taxi place we learned that it was 5 since there is a time change that we were unaware of between B.A and here. Sooo we climbed back into bed for a bit till the real 6, ate some cereal, packed up a quick lunch and jumped in the taxi with 2 other swiss girls and headded for the glacier. We headded up early since if you get there before 8 you dont have to pay the 20 american entry fee. But it worked out just awesome since we where out there for the sunrise over the lake with huge mountains surrounding us and a HUGE glacier to the west with 2 rainbows stretching the full 7 km wide glacier. It was quite spectacular. We then headed along the huge catwalk setup they have that takes you down the mountain side to see the glacier. We had 4 hours to spend out there and it went by way to quickly. We spent our time watching from different viewing points on the catwalks. After about an hour of watching little bits fall we finaly saw a piece about the size of the kitchen table plumit down the 55 meter high face and crash into the water. Sage and I decided that that had made our trip worth it. We sat for a little longer at that spot watching and listening. I never knew glaciers were so loud, the ice cracking is quite an impresive sound. But since this glacier moves forward up to 2 meters a day theres a fair amount of noise. A few more smaller pieces were falling, so we desided to go for a bit of a walk to warm up a little. There was about a 1km loop of catwalks that went along the side of the mountain accross from the glacier. As we came arround the top part of the loop the view was fantastic. We could see almost the entire 7km ice wall but right infront of us seemed to be where the action was happening. Then a big chuck about the size of the bin trailer loaded slipped down from the bottom of the glacier. THEN......about 30 seconds later a piece the full 55 meters tall about 10 meters deep and 10 accross just crashed off the edge shooting chunks of ice an easy 70 meters up over the water, and sent a tital wave down the lake. It was definaly one of the most amazing forces of nature I have ever seen. It just so happened that Sage decided she wanted to catch a few chunks falling on video and ended up getting the whole thing on the camera! It was amazing to see that big chunk of ice fall, and behind the chunk that fell the ice was a dark dark blue that looked realy cool. We checked the clock and desided it was time to head back to catch our ride back to town. When we got up there the cab driver was just sitting in the car eatting his lunch waiting for us. We swung the door open to learn that we still had an hour, and that our clock and our stupidity had screwed us once again. I imediatly changed the time on the clock and we headded back down for some more viewing. Just as we arrived another fairly big chuck came down, then another huge one almost the same size and the first big one crashed into the water. We talked to a man out there that said these big chunks were rare to see falling off. We met up with the swiss girls down the mountain and headded up together and came back to town.

Sage and I then made some lunch and headded out to get all our pictures burnt onto a dvd so that hopfully we can get them on the internet soon. We are going to mabie try later tonight since the place we are at now dosent have computers with dvd drives. I am now very tired of typing and am going to end this entry. If only I could do this everyday I might not have to wirte so much, but its tuff. Sounds like its a little wintery in Summerland and Alberta at the moment but hopefully that fresh snow will melt soon and you guys will have some sunshine. You should check out Glacier Perito Moreno on Wikipedia. Its quite a site to see!
Talk to you soon.
Love Orin

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


The last few days have been great. We grabbed a bus with no problems out of Montevideo. It was a nice modern bus with AC and everything. The bus ride was about 5 hours to Cabo Polonia. We went through about an hour of residential area then we were out into the country. It was very green landscapes with lots of trees and shurbs. Its wierd to see a cow field full of palm trees. There was alot of cows, horses, sheep and the occasional ostrage and a few other birds that I didnt recognize. It was nice to see some wildlife other than pigions. The bus zig zags from town to town dropping a few people off and picking up the odd person standing beside the road. It seemed like a nice short ride and before we knew it we were in the middle of nowhere. We jumped off the bus into some big old 4x4 toyota trucks and blasted through some sandy roads out onto a beach that you couldnt see the end of. On the end we were destin for there were a few little white shacks and a lighthouse towering above the small comunity.

We arrove in the town hoping to pitch our tent in a grassy spot back from the beach. We realy didnt no where we were going and happened to run into a hostel owner that spoke very good english. He continued to tell us that Calo Polonia was a park and that if we camped the rangers would kick us out of the town. He was waiting on two people comming in that hadent arrived yet, and said that if they didnt show soon we could have there room. He said we could go wait for him at his hostel. As we were walking along the beach we heard someone yelling our names. When we looked over we saw a girl that we had met a few days before in Montevideo named Stephie. She is in Uruguay on an exchange program from germany and is doing a little beaching before school starts next week. She was staying at a new hostel in town that luckly had 2 beds left, so we grabed them just as it turned dark. That night we just sat under the stars and looked up at the milkyway like I have never seen it before and saw quite a few shooting stars. Very nice change from the city.

In the morning Sage and I were up to see the sunrise. WOW! After that we went for a walk from the beach we were sitting on, to the beach on the other side of town about a 4 minuate walk, if you go slow. This beach was more protected since it was in a bit of a bay. The waters were fairly calm on this side of town. We continued our walk into town were we found two people sitting the the so called tourist booth. We were hoping to find some new place to stay since the hostel was 24 american a night! The man sitting at the booth told us that there was knowhere, but after a little convincing led us to a crazy old lady that told us she had a place for two that we could have for one night. We wanted to try to find somewhere for three so that we could get stephie outta the hostel and mabie make it a little cheaper for all of us. She showed us the little vacant house that sat accross from hers. It was a nice place with a little burner from cooking a table with four chairs and some kitchen utensiles, with a double bed and one single bed in a room on the other half of the house with a little addition with a toilet in it. Then 5 minutaes after telling us that we could only have two in there for one night she allowed us to have three people for two nights at a cost of 60 american, half the price of the hostel. As we headded back to get Stephie she just happened to be walking right infront of the place so we grabbed her and she was quite pleased.

We spent the next two days at the beach playing in the waves and laying in the sand. After the beach called for a nice shower of cold water that we got with a bucket from the well right infront of the house. We ate good meals in the house like eggs and hashbrowns in the mornings and pasta and bread for dinners. The last night we were in town there was a huge storm out over the ocean with lighting that lit up the entire skyline every 4 seconds or so. It was just amazing. We sat and watched it for almost an hour. Luckly we headded back when we did, cause about 5 minuates after ariving home it rained sooo hard the back door couldnt keep up and we had water pouring into the house. We tossed our bags on the table, put a towl accross the bottom of the down and laid in bed listening to the rain hitting the roof. In the morning we woke up earlyish and went over to the lighthouse to climb up to the top. It was a big brick lighthouse with a very very steep winding staircase that went up thru the middle. Once on top the view was amazing, there was 270 degrees of ocean with beaches running as far as the eye could see on either side of a little village with big dunes in the background. We also got to look at the light inside the lighthouse that I didnt realize was a fairly small bulb. With a very elegant, very large series of lenses arround it to magnify the light. Once down we loaded up our bags and jumped in the truck for the bus stop. We arrived just in time to catch the bus out to Punta del Diablo. Said our goodbyes to Stephie and jumped on an older bus. The ride was just over an hour of half dirt and paved roads, again stopping in smaller communitys alog the way. The bus then dropped us in what apeard to be downtown Punta del Diablo.

With no idea of were anything was in town we found a sign that read Hostel Del Diablo and headded for that. It was hot and our packs were heavy. About half a mile up the road we came to Hostel Del Diablo. A very nice very expensive hotel. He sent us on a wild goose chase arround town on foot to find the right hostel. After asking a few people we ran into a woman traveling here from Argentia who spoke farily good english and she led us to the place. Stephie had a pamphlet that said we could camp at the hostel so we were looking foreward to doing just that. The place looked great but after talking with staff for a bt they informed us that they were full and they didnt allow camping. They were very nice and sent us with a map to the Hostel International about a 20 minuate walk from them. We tossed on our bags again and headded out. H.I. is a bit of a distance from town but they make up for it with free bikes. Altho I wouldnt call these rusty pieces of metal bikes, but we grabbed the best two and headed for some grub. This town appaently shuts down at the begining of march so after some hunting we finaly found a little place to eat. Great burgers and fish. We then hit the beach for a swim and went back to the hostel jumped in the shower then into the tent for some sleep.

Sage was having a tuff time with the mosquitos last night and was hunting two in the tent for quite some time. She seemed to be sucsessfull after some time and we then had an alright first night in our new tent. The new tent is a little small for us, with little rooom to store our gear. So the night was a little cramped and warm, but we learned a few things and I can only imagine tonight will be better. We grabbed our trusty bikes again this morning and headded into town to hunt for a internet or phone place to get in contact with home since it was dads birthday yesterday and I wanted to wish him a good one. Happy Birthday again dad. Hope you got my email. We were hoping to grab a bus accross the interior part of Uruguay up to the falls in Argentina but we are starting to learn that we have to go back to Montevideo up get up there, so we might go back to Buenos Aires then catch a flight to the south and bus our way back up, through the country to the falls and then off to Boliva possibly skipping Chile as its very expensive just to get into that country. We are thinking of flying since its only about 150 us dollars and will save us alot of time that we can spend working our way up. Well we are going to grab some food now and possibly hit the beach again. Hope all is well in Canada and California, hope your staying warm dad. talk to you soon.
Love Orin