So this afternoon I’m trying to figure out how I can stay a little longer without losing my job and my marriage. It has taken two weeks of two-steps-back-three-steps-forward, but after a terrific afternoon on the Futa, I can finally feel a nice surge in my paddling ability. Thank goodness I didn’t plan a one-week trip, as I’d have gone home pretty disappointed as far as kayaking is concerned at that point. This evening, on the other hand, I feel like I could eat nails.
Now, if I had another three or four or seven days I think I could graduate to the big leagues.
And then there’s this Andes to the Ocean sea-kayaking trip that a number of my fellow travelers down here are making—it seems a pity to come all this way and not do that, too. Add another five days. And I’ve missed out on the overnight hike to stay at the remote campesino homestead of a guy named Benedicto that everyone can’t stop talking about. Add two more days. And . . . and . . . well, you get the picture.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very ready to see Belinda and the boys. So I guess I really need to start plotting a return with them somehow. There’s enough to do around here for all of us, and the setup is ideal—after breakfast, the ExChile guides and guests head in all directions for all manners of fun, and by mid-afternoon everyone is back to rest up a bit before dinner. They would love it here. My compliments to Chris Spelius for running such a first-class operation.
Dinner back at the Hosteria—Chilean wine and locally-grown food on the table, mountains in all directions outside, people from all over the world to share stories with.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of pictures—if I had it to do over again, I’d have bought one of the new waterproof digital point-and-shoots for use on the river. The best I could do was send my DSLR along with the shuttle vehicle to get an occasional shot at a put-in or a take-out. So I offer these last two from today before heading off to Happy Hour.
At the take-out for the last run of the trip—just below the aptly-named rapid “Wenumapu” (the native Mapuche word for “the meeting of heaven and earth”)
Tristan, my guide for the past two weeks, smiling because I didn’t perish under his tutelage.
Belinda, Will, and Andrew . . . Daddy’s coming home!