Monday, December 20, 2010

Bum Knee...

Since our last hike to Laguna de los Tres I have been stuck in close proximity to the house.  The night before the hike Susan, Kaci and I enjoyed a lovely evening at the Chocolateria.  While we were walking back I was running ahead to make a joke of something, tripped and landed face down on the gravel road.  I didn’t slide, just went from upright to flat instantly.  Susan and Kaci burst out laughing, I was laughing and crying and couldn’t get up.  Finally after about 5 minutes of this Susan helped me to my feet and we wobbled the few blocks home.  We woke up early as planned and headed out hiking to Laguna de los Tres where there are perfect views of Fitzroy.  This hike is beautiful and lucky for me relatively mellow except for a few steeper parts.  I loaded up on ibuprofen because my knee was bothering me a bit, but it felt alright until we were finishing mile 15 to bring us back into town.  Something was definitely not right.  Since then I have been stuck around town and in the house waiting for it to heal.  Trying to go climbing, bouldering, a short run (bad idea), yoga, and then yesterday I thought I was ready for another hike with the girls. 
We loaded up our packs again with some warm jackets, food and water and were off.  My knee was feeling excellent!  I thought for sure it was healed.  The first 7.5miles to the summit I felt fine and then on our way down there were extreme winds, keeping us from even being able to stand in one place.  So on the way down we were skipping and running through scree, propelled by the wind and doing what we could to stay upright and avoid slipping on rocks.  This of course tweaked the knee and I hobbled down the rest of the trail back to the house.  Looks like maybe I should study healing practices from Kelly Cordes as he has become a pro after a few unfortunate accidents recently.  Luckily some friends are in town, and our new friend Carsten (whose property we are staying in) has a foosball table, and I am in training.  Tommy seems to be passing me up, however.
In the meantime, Tommy has headed up into the mountains once with Jay, once with Mikey Schaefer and Jens, and recently with Colin Haley who has been keeping us entertained in the evenings with his endless jokes and accents and on afternoon bouldering outings.  Colin and Tommy climbed Brenner-Moschioni on Aguja Guillaumet in a day, and since then the weather has not been cooperating.  

Today is chilly with the wind blowing sheets of rain sideways.  We're off to meet Colin for a bouldering session at the "gym" in El Chalten.  If anything, it's been great training down here!  

Happy Holidays to everyone!  We are wishing we would have brought Elf down here to get into the Christmas spirit!  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

First Days in El Chalten...

We have made it to El Chaten, a quaint and eclectic little town at the southern tip of Argentina.  The town is scattered with houses full of color and friendly town dogs cruising the gravel roads.  People walking around the streets are typically equipped in Gortex jackets and hiking boots or climbing approach shoes pegging each person for what they have come to Chalten for.  
We heard the weather was supposed to be clear yesterday so we were up with the sun, which happens to be a bit after 4am.  After breakfast and making sure we had our crampons and harnesses in our packs we were out the door and headed out of town on foot filled with excitement and slight delirium.  Moving swiftly we covered ground and coming upon a ridge the Torres and the surrounding glacier and mountains were laid out majestically ahead of us.  I gasped and I’m pretty sure my heart sped up.  I didn’t know what to do or say other than laugh.  I started moving again, running a little to catch up with the others, still processing the terrain I had just seen.  This was the first glacier I had ever seen with my own eyes.  The amount of snow and white stuff and ice boggles my mind still.  On top of that is the unique and grand form of the Torres.  What an amazing creation.  We kept hiking and coming upon different views, which made me more and more excited each time.  The trail brings you to a river with a tyrol (sp?) to get you across.  We sat down to eat an empanada and put our harnesses on and clipped onto the rope.  Moving along we arrived at water trickling down and rock and filled our water bottles, sipping cold and delicious fresh spring water.  Onward we went and found ourselves atop a talus and scree field and switchbacked our way down onto the Torre Glacier.  Tommy and Jay decided to make their way to Nipo Nino, a climber area at the base of El Mochito.  Kaci, Susan and I chose to tromp around the glacier in our crampons, enjoy the warm sunshine and gaze in awe at the mountains.  
The wind started to pick up and we made our way off the glacier and to the trail.  We started back, refilling water bottles at the fresh water again and then over the river.  After the river the hike started to seem like the hike down from Long’s...never ending.  We remembered certain parts of the trail from the morning, and didn’t remember other parts.  As each person passed us going in the opposite direction we greeted them in different languages to entertain ourselves.  Alas, we got to the point where we could see town and rejoiced with a hoot while our legs hobbled on.  Back at the house it was difficult getting up out of our seats once down.  Heavy eyes fought to stay open and we forced our legs to bring us to the panaderia to get some empanadas for the guys’ return.  
“Tres empanadas de jamon y queso, dos maiz y dos capresse por favor” I sputtered out to the lady behind the counter.  She spoke quickly back to me and my brain strained hard to understand.  I paid, thanked her and waited while Susan and Kaci ordered.  
The guys got back a couple of hours after us and I started dinner.  After food and some wine, the sun was finally going down (10pm) and the whole house crashed hard and we slept deeply.
Howling winds swirled around the house and Fitzroy wasn’t as clear this morning as it was yesterday.  Apparently this is more the average weather this time of year, so it feels a bit like home but with warmer temps.  Today is a day of relaxation.
The weather is not looking well for the mountains this weekend so we will spend our time around the house and around El Chalten bouldering, sport climbing and I’m thinking probably at the Chocolateria, too!  I’m really trying to learn Spanish, and last night dreamt in Spanish!  I have learned a little each day, and thanks to my 2 years in high school I have an okay base.
Tommy is doing push ups right now, which means he is getting antsy and we should probably get moving and go for a walk or something!  Not great internet for uploading pictures, but I hope to find some way to do it so I can share the beauty!  It’s really unbelievable!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Picture Update!

Here are the picture updates that didn't work yesterday.  Today we made it safely to Buenos Aires where we met up with Jay and Kaci and then flew to El Calafate.  We decided to check out Buenos Aires during our 6 hour layover this afternoon and while eating at a cafe I got my purse stolen!!!  No bueno!  It was on the chair I was sitting in, and some how while Susan was facing me and Tommy was next to me the whole time someone grabbed my purse without any of us noticing!!  I thought I was pretty good with cities, but might need some getting used to again.  Luckily a bit before we stopped at the cafe I handed over all of my credit cards, passport and driver's license to Tommy to keep close to him in his wallet, and I had taken my phone out of my purse, so all in all I just lost my insurance card, AAA card and $45....and my favorite purse and wallet, but these things can be replaced.  I'm happy to be back in the mountains where it's a bit more quiet!  El Chalten tomorrow!!

putting the turkey in the oven!

my handsome husband.
the final product!

house remodeling!

more remodeling!
Climbing gear!!
charging station...getting packed for Patagonia!

TC packing up in the dungy basement.

just 3 of our bags for traveling...lots of luggage!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On The Road Again...

I just can’t wait to get back on the road again...
Here we are, sitting at the Denver International Airport.  This is our 6th trip since we got married June 17th, and since that time we haven’t spent more than 14 days at home at one time...mostly averaging 10 days!!  It has been a whirlwind, and a pretty good honeymoon.  :)  I think I’m adjusting alright and really starting to embrace it.  I’m getting systems down, learning which food options are in each concourse and understanding that “home” isn’t just our “home”.  We feel pretty lucky to get to spend all of this time together and these are the perfect times and places for it!  
This past week at home has gone by quickly, but was enjoyed deeply with a delicious Thanksgiving feast with friends and family and some good R&R.  We made sure to get some home improvement stuff in, which is an ongoing project at our home in Estes.  Tommy taught me how to install light switches and light fixtures and outlets since there were a handful we were replacing and I successfully installed one of each!  Woo!
The last couple of days we have been frantically packing for our 2 month trip down to Argentina.  It’s amazing how much stuff you need to pack, how much you don’t need to pack, how easy it is to procrastinate, how hard it is to actually initiate putting your things into the duffle bag, and when you arrive at the airport how many bags one person is able to carry to the check in counter!  
This trip to the airport will bring us to Atlanta where we will pass 5 hours together with Susan and then we jump on our Delta flight to BUENOS AIRES!!  After a 6 hour layover in BA we get on a plane to El Calafate with Jay and Kaci and spend an evening in a hostel there.  The next morning we will board a bus to El Chalten, a small climber-ish town at the base of the Patagonian mountains where we will be spending our first month. we come!
Tommy and I are really excited to spend this time down south learning Spanish, eating delicious beef, wine, chocolate, and pastries and of course...CLIMBING!  Tommy doesn’t have any set objectives of what he wants to accomplish in the beautiful mountains, but he is built for this type of climbing;  burly, hardcore, sleep depriving suffer fests.  It sounds like he does alright not sleeping for 30+ hours and going hard at it shivering through the night and enjoying it in the meantime.  I don’t know if I’m quite that type.  However, he wants to try and climb a smaller objective with me!  We’ll see! 

Pictures to come when we get a better connection!