Our Journey to Patagonia

Updates on our journey to the end of the world to run the race of our lives.

Day 4: Mirador Los Torres, The Base

Its incredible how amazing this place is. The reward of being able to be in the presence of such beauty was worth all the pain we endured on the way up. We spend a good hour here taking photos and marveling in the scenery. I only wish we had a few more hours to stay here, just so we can continue to be in such beauty. 

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This time of year the lake was completely frozen over. Since this hike I have seen photos of this at springtime when the lake was melted. I actually prefer the stillness of the frozen lake and the sound of the avalanches falling from up high. I think its a lot more beautiful than the photos I’ve seen with it thawed. Its like the ice makes the place more quiet, more peaceful,

Now we are contemplating on how peaceful it really can be…Can we walk on it? (please excuse my bad photo of my feet) 

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walking: good. 

Now we make Caio jump, success!

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And then he falls into a hole in the ice:

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Just kidding!

So now we are brave and “team nandau” wanders out for a group shot. These are some of my favorite photos of the trip. 

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We ran out of water on the way up. So I suggested we do better than Evian and drink Los Torre’s finest:

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Freezing cold melted glacier water. It tasted awesome. It tasted just like water that fell from the sky, froze up for years in a huge ice formation until the sun broke it down to melt and flow through the cracks and crevices of the towers, under the frozen lake, and down river to my cup. 

We then hung out for a while longer, fueling up on snacks and just exploring and taking it all in. No one wanted to begin the journey home, but knowing that we only had a few hours of daylight left and not wanting to hike in the dark we had to leave at some point. But for now, we have fun hanging out with new friends in a beautiful place. image

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"You are an ocean in a drop of dew, 
all the universes in a thin sack of blood!
What are these pleasures then,
these joys, these worlds, 
that you keep reaching for,
hoping they will make you more alive?”
-Rumi

Today is Sunday, the Lords day, but not a church to be found. Yet somehow this place we find ourselves in is so Spiritual, is so existential.
Someone once said that Mass is the threshold of Heaven. Even though we could not attend Church today, I still felt like I was at that threshold. The entire way up the mountian (and throughout the race yesterday) I had been going between asking God to help me through this next mile, this next hill, and simultaneously thanking Him for that next mile, and that next never ending hill. And at once this place makes you pray. Not by kneeling or reciting words, but by moving, by being alive. That is how the Love and Worship of God should be. Not priority on a list of things, but your entire being, every step, every rock, every stream, and every sky. 
Somehow walking on that frozen lake made me feel the presence of Him. To fear him and at the same time marvel in His work. To be able to create something like this and to allow me to be a part of it, I felt like I was in his presence. To me those aren’t the towers of the three brothers, that day, and my life leading up to it, lead me to see the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost watching over me as I walked across His waters. 

"You are an ocean in a drop of dew, 

all the universes in a thin sack of blood!

What are these pleasures then,

these joys, these worlds

that you keep reaching for,

hoping they will make you more alive?”

-Rumi

Today is Sunday, the Lords day, but not a church to be found. Yet somehow this place we find ourselves in is so Spiritual, is so existential.

Someone once said that Mass is the threshold of Heaven. Even though we could not attend Church today, I still felt like I was at that threshold. The entire way up the mountian (and throughout the race yesterday) I had been going between asking God to help me through this next mile, this next hill, and simultaneously thanking Him for that next mile, and that next never ending hill. And at once this place makes you pray. Not by kneeling or reciting words, but by moving, by being alive. That is how the Love and Worship of God should be. Not priority on a list of things, but your entire being, every step, every rock, every stream, and every sky. 

Somehow walking on that frozen lake made me feel the presence of Him. To fear him and at the same time marvel in His work. To be able to create something like this and to allow me to be a part of it, I felt like I was in his presence. To me those aren’t the towers of the three brothers, that day, and my life leading up to it, lead me to see the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost watching over me as I walked across His waters. 

Day 4: Hiking to the Base of Los Torres

The day after the marathon us and “team Nandau” decided to go together on the hike to the base of Los Torres. We were told that it would take about 4 hours up and 3.5 or so hours down, so with our marathon (and ultramarathon) legs we decided to get up (relatively) early to begin our hike.

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The journey began on the 1 mile “walk of shame” from our refugio (where the poor hikers like us stay) to “Hotel Las Torres” where the women in Uggs that own and use hairdryers go, this was also the end of the race from yesterday, and here is where we begin another journey. 

Even though we did not all run together (Andy was with me, Caio was kicking butt by himself, and Jon Paul and Hanna were basically racing each other throughout the marathon) we still felt like we all endured something great which made us feel like we’ve known each other for years already. This hike was one of the first things we got to do as a group, and almost to the point where we crossed the bridge from passengers in a van, to Chilean friends for life. image

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The first part of the ascent was KILLER. I mean I thought I wasn’t going to make it, I was in such pain, my legs were burning, and I promptly shed all my layers down to my short sleeves I was sweating so much. Then I remembered we signed up to climb UP the mountin, somehow forgetting how much climbing UP that entailed…

But somehow your body likes to forget pain that you felt, like some kind of chemical seems to make you forget that your legs are on fire and makes you turn around to see where you came from to see this view:

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So upward and onward. You can kind of see the winding path in front of Andy going through the Valley.

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This whole hike can make you feel so small and so insignificant. Its amazing to think how long these mountains existed before we did:image

Is staying “on the trail” really necessary? haha yes it is…

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about 3km up there is a “base camp” where we were hoping to get a cup of tea and some snacks for lunch. Unfortunatly it was closed, but fortunatly we had our lunches packed, so we ate lunch outside as the Gauchos were readying their horses for the hike down with supplies from the camp. These horses had everything between trash and wood, to propane tanks and plastic containers. I thought about stealing one of these horses for the remainder of the trip up.

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The first signs of snow! And trees as well! This hike was pretty cool because within 3-4km we had various kinds of scenery, desert, african like, rocky, snow, and riverbeds 

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This whole area is so alive Its the only way I can describe it. The moving path, to flowing streams, to trees reaching up to the sky. You can see where people touch the trees and wear down the bark to this deep red color. It happened on my walking stick too. Its like the trees are truly living, and this is their flesh.

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So we have very little photos of us walking through the snow, because quite frankly it felt very dangerous. If it wasn’t a rock it was snow, and under that snow could have either been more rock and solid ground, or a hole or a gap. There were times when I would step on what I thought was solid snow, only to find my leg up to my thigh in the snow. In my mind all the holes were deep and dark and would make you fall straight to the center of the mountain, so needless to say I was a little worried.

But no matter how much you worry, how scared or tired you may be, or how much pain you feel, nothing beats the reward of a good hike. 

Here we begin to see the tip of the towers…

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and then all of a sudden before you know it…

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Day 3: End of Marathon Day
Goodnight Patagonia. Until tomorrow

Day 3: End of Marathon Day

Goodnight Patagonia. Until tomorrow

Day 3: MARATHON DAY!! FINISH and CELEBRATION!

Guess who’s a first time marathon finisher? 

And Guess who’s STARVING! Good thing we see a huge pig slaughter/BBQ for all the finishers complete with all you can eat bbq lamb, potatos, salsa, and most importantly…beer. 

We couldn’t have asked for a better view either. What a perfect day!

Day 3: MARATHON DAY!!

More photos from the race and a view of our awesome friend Hannah!

Day 3: MARATHON DAY!!

Today’s the day! Finally time to see if all the training will help me make it through this amazing race through one of the most beautiful places on earth. Andy was interviewed by a local news team. Watch the video and check out the awesome translation of “Nguyen” 

Day 3: MARATHON DAY!!!

Good morning Patagonia! Let’s get to know each other a little better while I suffer on your hills and marvel at your beauty. 

An early morning start to the marathon. Here is our “breakfast” of “champions”, a few slices of bread, butter, sugar, a bowl of corn flakes, and milk….Oh and of course Hot tea since I’m still feeling very very sick :( 

let’s do this!

Day 2: Patagonia Tour: Grey Glacier and lots of photos of ice

Our last stop was to the end of Grey Lake where the bits and pieces of the glaciers from Grey Glaciers float down to melt. Here we see some really “cool” things: glaciers and our new friends, Jon Paul, Hanna, and Caio!

Day 2: Patagonia Tour: Grey Glacier fun

Messing around and being cool as an iceberg.