Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almost home!

We´re about 46 hours away from landing in Baltimore....can´t believe this adventure is almost done! It´s been incredible, and we have by NO means slowed down as the end has drawn near!
We headed back to Torres Del Paine NP after a day of drying out and resting in Puerto Natales and managed to do a bit more of the backpack, though this time in tennis shoes with day bags. We were able to get up to the Torres of Torres del Paine, which were SO beautiful! I have included pics of us with and without our colorful rainjects on for your viewing pleasure....can you pick us out individually?
It was awesome getting back into the park, especially with good weather.
That evening we were greeted by 25 horses which decided that our campsite was the best grazing area around, and I awoke the next morning with a muzzle pushing against my foot from outside of the tent as a large animal tied to graze UNDER our shelter!!!

Katie and Andy, unfortunatly, we not as lucky as they awoke on the morning of Katie´s birthday to massive winds which cracked a tent pole and ripped their rain fly....good thing the sea kayaking company provided tents! I would say that other than that Katie had an awesome birthday! We met up with the guides to paddle for 2 days on the serrano river, with a third in the lagoon which the serrano glacier forms. It was incredible! There was a TON of wind, but enough of a current to where you didn´t have to work too hard to paddle, though there were some firece moments. The guides even brought a bottle of sparkling wine and a birthday cake for Katie!

We has some pretty bad weather on the second day- huge winds and a ton of rain, which we would watch falling as snow on the hills and mountains above. Luckily we were able to get off the water early in the afternoon and change into dry clothes.

We awoke this morning and paddled the serrano glacier lagoon, which was so beautiful! After packing up we boarded the boat which would take us back to Puerto Natales and somehow ended up in first class....and awesome mistake if you ask me! HUGE seats and plentiful beverages made the journe pass by too quickly. We asked if they would bring us back to Washington D.C but they polietly declined....
SO our bus leaves to take us back to Punta Arenas at 8pm...we just finished up and amazing pizza dinner and are running last minute errands here as we know P.A. will be crazy with the new years celebrations. It´s amazing to think of how quickly the last three weeks have one by. We feel like we have truly lived each moment here to the fullest...which means we are EXHAUSTED.

With that I sign off knowing that you will probably hear from us via email or phone when we land back in the states day after tomorrow. Thank you so much for following our´s been really fun keeping everyone informed on our travels...
be safe this new years eve and know that we are being safe as well....HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Guess What!!
We're off the backpack....
But wait...why would we finish 2 days early...I can't figure out how to type a question mark by the way...
Well, we had no hope for anything but rain or sleet and high winds and saw a way to GET OUT on the fourth day, so we did.
Not to say that the backpack wasn't was absolutly amazing! We had sun on the first day, experienced winds over 100 miles per hour where you were not in control of your facial expressions much less your ability to walk, and toughed it through a 20 mile day where it absolutly poured rain the entire time. We met incredible people, lost the skin on our feet and acquired over 20 blisters between the 4 of us. We saw incredible glaciers, parrots and condors, were snowed on and enjoyed the beauty of a peanut butter and dulce de leche sandwich.
We found a great campsite for christmas complete with cooking shelter and minimart that sold cookies and cholocate...making it a sugar filled hysterical christmas night.
The next morning, with no prospects for sun or warm weather, we made the decision that 3 more days of miserable backpacking did not equal vacation, and so we caught a boat out and headed back to Puerto Natales....
And it's awesome. We're drinking coke, drying gear and playing with the most adorable kitten in the world named Tito who enjoys climbing my pant legs so that he can play with my hair. The right decision was made!
We'll be here until we head out sea kayaking on Katie's birthday, the 29th...which'll end the night before we fly out, so I promise to try and post the evening of the 31st.
Know that you were all in our hearts for christmas day. We were graced with a few hours of sun and felt as though we had been giving a wonderful christmas gift.
We hope you all are warm and surrounded by family and friends this holiday season! And I believe this is the last night of Hanukkah, I hope the last eight days have been wonderful and full of fun and bliss!
Be well!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Greetings from Punta Arenas!!

As you may know, this is our LAST blog for a good bit of time. We are picking up Andy today (hurray!) and tomorrow we are headed into the National Park Torres del Paine for a 7 day backpack which will lead directly into a 3 day sea kayak without returning to a town with internet.
For those of you that may be worried (you know who you are!) we have the satelitte phone with us all of the time, and have always been able to get a signal when we turn it on. Also, there are ranger stations every 5 or so hours along the trail so help is always near by. As well, we are to meet the kayaking company on the morning of the 29th so they have emergency contact information if we do not show....

Now onto our past adventures!
To think that we almost didn´t go to the San Isidro light is ridiculous! It was the most amazing place! Tucked into a protected cove, beneath a beautiful lighthouse, the hostel was filled with warmth and a steady supply of hot coffee to fight off the chilly weather inside. The folks who own the hostel are about the nicest family we have encountered here and the food was to die for (wild salmon anyone? King crab chowder sound ok?) goodness it was awesome complete with down comforters!

We did some trekking, including a long hike to the summit of a coastal range mountain (very very boggy and then foggy on top but incredible none th eless) and sea kayaking and we SAW A WHALE! It was the first one spotted this season and there are usually only 3 or 4 seen in total! We jumped in the zodiak and took off after the HUGE humpback! She/he showed us their tail only once but kept us amazed by surfacing every few minutes and creating beautiful blows!

Also saw sea lions, dolphins, albatross, petrels, penguins....etc etc etc. Totally incredible! Our time there could not have been beat, and instead of droning on about it, here are some photos.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Pali Aike was amazing!

We hired a transport to take us out to the national park, returning the next morning. Pali Aike is three hours away from Punta Arenas- we were able to see huge estancias (ranches) and some cool shipwrecks along the way.

The park was unreal, and in the running for windiest place on earth for sure! Thank goodness there were wind shelters to camp in! We had the park all to ourselves...we saw two rangers and one camper van who left that afternoon. It was like having our own private national park! Guanacos, flamingos, bunnies, rhea; there were tons of critters to see, including an hours-old guanaco!

We hit up a laguna, craters, and a cave where the skeleton of the giant sloth and an american horse was found. Local folks call this area ´hell´or the devil´s home´ and we could easily see why.

Now we´re back in Punta Arenas to shower and get ready to head to San Ignacio in the morning.

We´ll be out of contact for the next two days again, but I promise to post before we head to the Torres del Paine when we´ll be out of contact for almost two weeks.

Also, we want everyone to know that we have mastered the art of grocery shopping and have learned just to smile real big when we speak spanish, so at the least people will take pity in thinking we may have mental issues if they can´t understand why we can´t understand a word they´re saying!

We have also discovered the amazing system of collectivos! They are like buses but are small sedans. They have a route they follow and are numbered but there isn´t a schedule and no written information about where the collectivo goes, so you hope you are getting the right car! We took a collectivo the other night back from the boat and ended up WAY out of town, thinking that the collectivo would then turn around and head back to town on it´s route. We were WRONG. The woman said she was going home and that we should get out...

So we were contemplating the thought of a LONG walk home when lo and behold ANOTHER collectivo of the same number came by. We jumped in and it dropped us off right near our hostal! We now believe the collectivos are run by faries or gremlin magic....

Love to you all! We have been continually amazed at how genuine people are and how much they are willing to help us! I haven´t ever traveled outside the country (and this includes Canada) where I felt so at home and welcome. It´s been an amazing journey. So we´re packing up and getting ready to make more memories...

Oh! And we figured out what P. Diddy was talking of when he rapped about Crystal. It´s a very cheap beer that has a slight lemon taste. Don´t know what all the fuss was about Diddy, it´s just a cheap beer!:)

Hope you all are well and happy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


130000 PENGUINS!!!!!!

This is a photo taken by Liddell, they were so close to us!

Yes oh yes, it was the afternoon of penguins! A two hour boat ride aboard a vessle built in Dade County FL of all places, brought us to the Isla de Magdalena to the Renguin refuge. They were EVERYWHERE!!! It was absolutely amazing. Liddell, Katie and I said hello to every one that we could, and did our best penguin dance ever when we weren´t bracing in the crazy wind. And for all of those who know how we love mac and cheese, you can rest easy in the fact that we brought a bunch of boxes down here and yes, we loved us some annies mac and cheese for dinner!

We also spent today figuring out the rest of our week. For the next two days (aka no blog posting) we´ll be going to Pali Aike National Park. If you want to play long at home here´s a decent website:

THEN we are headed to the end of the southern continent to a place called hostel San Isidro..playing along?

No- we are not doing the crazy 4 days whale watching tour, but we are staying in the inn for a night, trekking, zipping around in zodiaks and doing a bit of kayaking. It looks incredible and I can´t believe we´re lucky enough to get out there!

Hope all are doing well, again- we´ll be offline for two days. You´ll here from us late thursday evening!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What a sweet day!

We slept in- glorious...I was only aroused when the sun hit my left arm. Perhaps it is mental but I tell ya- a missing ozone layer makes for a strong sun!

We loved breakfast at the hostel. I had no idea there were so many different spreads for bread! I mean, we al know about butter and jam, but there was cheese spread, tuna spread, chicken spread, ´country´spread, dulce de leche, sweet potato spread and pumpkin spread. it was pretty rad.

We then grabbed a taxi and were driven by Cesear up to the Forest de Magalleans to do some hiking and what not. It was so beautiful! The area is actually a ski resort in the winter, but during the summer it is incredibly green! The beech trees were so beautiful! Once again I felt right at home with the heather and skunk cabbage.

We hiked up to a viewpoint where we could see the whole of Punta Arenas, the strait of Magellan and the Tierra del Fuego- it was awesome, and as you can see from the pic of katie and liddell- windy.

We wanted to take the ski lift back down but aparantly it doesn´t run when the wind kicks up so we hoofed by foot, running into some curious horses at the end. Cesear met us at the entrance and drove us back tot town where he dropped us off at the general cemetary. This place was insane. It was full of graces that had been literally made into garden beds where merely grass lies atop graves in the united states. There were also a ton of mausoliums and other memorials. What was also interesting were the cultural lineages. About half were Spanish names, the other half were a mix of English eastern European. It was so weird seeing a traditional latin american style mausolium next to a gothic styled one.

We then headed back to the hostel and quickly learned that what we thought was a sleepy town on Sunday turns into abustling city on a monday- great people watching! And I don´t even know if I can describe our dinner at Broccolino. All I know is that there was an appetiser guaranteed to boost your libido, that there can be a happy marraige between crab, aparagus and curry rissoto, a pasta can make you strong and firey like Al Capone and all dishes can be described with the ¨words¨uuuuummmmmppppppfffff and hhhhuuuummmm.

We are off to see penguins tomorrow and so I should be able to post some photos again soon. Patagonia seems to become more welcoming and comfortable every time we have apositive interaction with local folks, this again, does not include grocery stores; THOUGH I DID bag and weigh the avacado today so hurray for that. I would have typed an exclamation at the end of that sentence but I can figure out how to do it on the keyboard. Until later,

Liddell Katie and Liz

Buenos Dias!

Having started yesterday morning with ham sandwiches at 39,000 feet on an airplane at 4am, it was perhaps the longest day...ever.

But an awesome one! we wandered around Punta Arenas for the afternoon, checking out the main square and touching the statue of Magellan´s big toe for good luck! Then we headed uphill to this amazing view where we could see the whole town and across the Magellan strait. This town reminds me so much of Bellingham- brightly colored houses, rhododendrons, calendula flowers everywhere.

One huge suprise was the discovery of a local beer which, despite hesitation, was delicious! Having spent past trips to central and south america drinking cervesa which was cold but with no flavor, the´'Calafate' beer was amazing.

Dinner was a hit despite us not really understanding much of what the waitresses said. We would just stare and smile, desparatly trying to pick up every 6th word said to gain some sort of understanding of what was required! My bumbling exhausted moment was not understanding that the La Luna salad and The Moon salad were the same thing. Katie said ¨The La luna sald sure does look good¨to which I replied ¨so does the moon salad¨....ah the joy of being completely clueless....

We´re off to a local park today after running some errands. We are being safe and having a blast! We love you all!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We´re here!

22 hours of sweaty, hot, stinky flying time and we are now closer to Antarctica than we are to the capital of Chile!

We nearly missed one connection if it weren´t for the kindness of a fella who literally ran us through the airport as we desparatly tried to kee up with him in our sweaty exhausted stupor!

We´re now in Punta Arenas, fully enjoying being able to both walk and lay down fully!

I hope to post more pics in the next few days but for now I leave you with Katie looking glorious in our taxi to the hostel!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here's Liddell showing off the satellite phone! Nice eh?

We're t-minus 10 hours from leaving for the airport and the apartment floor is covered in gear, snack bars and dogs!
To say we're excited is an understatement! We've been practicing our terrible spanish and Liddell has been very helpful in reminding us not to rub the water purifier tablets into our eyeballs. Andy is helpful to remind that they are not breathmints.

Pot scrapers, headnets, battery chargers, suncreen...everything's getting packed away. The only concerns we have are how to maintain the caffeine addiction and whether to bring running shoes!
and to all that we love- we promise to be safe, observant and present to the experience (apart from the flight we all hope to sleep through with the aid of benadryl!)
till next time- liz

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I am actually in the computer lab on the night of December 4th trying to finish my field project- man! There is a ton to do!
Bit this is one less item on the list. Now I just have to go get 45 clif type bars....