Santiago, Chile

Very quick update from Santiago, the capital of Chile.  I picked Hawk up at the airport yesterday and we’ve been running around doing errands and doing just a little planning.  We decided that instead of trying to line up a bunch of small field trips in the area around this smoggy megalopolopolis, which seems like a logistical nightmare of figuring out transportation, we were going to go “all in” and take one long bus ride south to an area we had heard about at our hostel where we’ll be doing a 5-7 day hike.  Any time we have left over after that we’ll figure out later.

In less than an hour we’ll be on a 13 hour bus ride south to Puerto Montt, which is in Patagonia.  We’ll get there tomorrow, stock up on some groceries, take a local bus to Cochamó, which is the last town on a road before a valley that makes its way up to a pass that will get us into Argentina. The valley has no road, but a horse and hiking trail that connects small settlements along the way, where we’ll be able to get basic things like bread and shelter should it rain on us all day (and it will likely do that at some point).  There are reports of a road making its way in little by little (and tension between development by power companies and locals), so we may be there just in time before the secluded nature of the area is ruined.  To top it all off, supposedly Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had a ranch in the area and used the trail to herd cattle down to the main town.  Sounds like fun.  And since we’ll be about as far south of the equator as Chicago is north, and we’re so close to the (Southern hemisphere) summer solstice, we’ll have a nice 15 hours of sunlight everyday.  Woo!

The hike from the road to the border pass should take 4 long days of hiking,  but we have enough time to slow down and maybe take a day off somewhere and relax.  After getting to the border (yes, there is a border post at the pass and we will check in with the police in Puerto Montt to see if we need any paperwork done before heading in), we’ll hitch back to the main highway that heads north, and make our way up to Mendoza with another long bus ride.  From here Hawk will take a bus back to Santiago to catch his flight back to the US, and I’ll head back north to get back on my bike.

So all in all lots of bus travel lately but no idea when I’ll be back here, so I think this hike is going to make it all very worth it.

Hawk delivered dozens of letters, which I actually haven’t read yet!  I’m saving them for Christmas!  So thanks so much to you all, I feel very loved so far away.

Got to run!

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