3/20/10: Puerto Natales, Chile
There are four things I can think of at the moment that push Zhou over the edge.
- Waking up early
- Things not going according to plan
- Walking for hours and not getting anywhere
- The wind
All four of these things occurred today – I don’t know how she made it.
This morning we caught the 7:30am bus to Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most popular hiking destinations in Chile. (Zhou would be quick to point out that this came one day after catching the 5am bus to Puerto Natales.) Most people do multi-day treks through the park, but we decided a single day trip would be enough for us since we’ve already accomplished everything imaginable during our Hall of Fame trekking career (see: Annapurna Circuit and Routeburn).
Upon our arrival at the park, we paid the outrageous entrance fees (~$30 each) and followed the crowd onto the next bus to take us to the trailhead. Well, that’s what we thought. After another 45 minute bus ride we discovered that our trail began where we paid for the tickets – this spot was for those doing overnight hikes (read: everyone else on our bus). We found a friendly bilingual hiker who was able to explain our problem to the bus driver and we were told it would be best to do a two hour hike and then meet the bus again at 1pm when he made the loop back to the park entrance.
That’s when we discovered the wind. To put it in perspective: I’ve read somewhere that a sneeze travels upwards of 200 mph, so I worked up a big sneeze to race the strong gusts. I’m pretty sure the wind won. (Now that’s something to sneeze at!) On a more realistic note though, the wind actually did knock Zhou over once, and at one point while looking at a waterfall I heard a scream coming from behind me. “I’m going to die! I’m going to die! I’m going to be blown into the river and nobody will ever find my body!” I saw Zhou stumbling past me, so using my immense strength I grabbed her and pulled her to safety. Then I was nearly blown into the river myself.
Eventually though, we did make it back to the start of our own trail. So at 2:15 (only four hours and fifteen minutes later than we wanted) we started walking. By this point we had already woken up early, completely screwed up our itinerary and been batted around by the wind. So when we realized that the new path we were on was not the hike at all, but rather another road to the hike, I thought Zhou would give up. It turns out we now needed to walk over nine miles round trip just to reach the start of our trail. Plus she was with a crazy husband who now thought that if we moved really quickly we could do the full 12-hour hike by 8pm. But to my surprise, she began motoring through this futile walk. She did eventually convince me that we wouldn’t make it as far as I wanted, but that didn’t stop her from completing over 15 miles of trekking today (given all the extra steps she has to take, that’s the equivalent of 25 miles for me).
If this trip has been about personal growth (which it has), I’ve been very impressed with how far Zhou has come when it comes to things she doesn’t like to do. Today was just one small example, but I felt it deserved mention in the blog. Plus, we got to see lots of good views… look!
Puzzles for Postcards
Rhyme Time! Solve all three of these completely unrelated rhymes.
The desk where a Pixar employee does his work
An ancient work of art made from small pieces of colored glass
A small song sung by a small Siamese pet
Picture of the Day: Can anyone tell me what exactly this look is?