Writings by Deia Schlosberg
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Writings by Gregg Treinish
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The Secret Truth About Spiders
By Deia Schlosberg

April 24, 2007


After my last update, my 7th grade science teacher and friend, Debbie White, sent me this quote and thought:

"We can make the sun shine when it's dark and make it dark when the sun shines;
we can be warm when it's cold or cold when it's warm. But in the process we've disconnected
ourselves from the essential of life, which is nature…we need to remember that we are all made out of the same stuff. In every one of us there's a little bit of whale, of rose, of fern, of butterfly."
- Jean-Michel Cousteau

I thought of you because you are so connected to "the essential of life, which is
nature…" I think that it is common for people in our society to think that we are in control
of things, but we are really so very disconnected. There have probably been times on your
trek that you've wished for more control of the light or warmth. But the connection you
guys have with nature is unique and I'm sure life-changing. I am awed by what you are

---and it has been running through my head for the past few weeks as we've continued on this project of ours. I think that too often in my travels here, I have been too focused on mileage covered, or what is missing from my life in its current state, or who I can't wait to write the next time we get to a town or any of the other million little things that clutter my brain while I'm on the trail. Thinking of that connection to nature this time, however, perhaps recentered me a bit. I remembered that I need to accept where I am a little more and fight it less, both in terms of where we are in the hike and where I am in some more personal work that I'm doing. Nature is the perfect reminder. If it's cold, windy, sunny, wet, spidery, oxygen-short, or whatnot, I know it's OK. Those aren't good or bad qualities, just states of being, and though some definitely easier to walk through or sleep in than others, they're all okay. They're all REAL, and necessary and beautiful. We have been conditioned away from thinking so, and I'm glad to be reminded of the fact. Hopefully if you aren't out in nature, you have some bit of it nearby to remind you of the "essential of life" and your connection to it.

We finished in Chile by deciding that Argentina would be a better option due to it's availability of reliable water. It has proved our decision to be a good one. Beyond the water sources, Argentina has wowed me as much as any other area with its natural diversity. Our first trek took us over our last salt flat, into high pampas, up and down canyons with assorted wildlife, through cactus forests and along a very winding dry riverbed. Our longer-than-usual stay in town was due to a surprise rendezvous with two fellow travellers we had met once before in Santiago some several months back. Happy for the company of what felt like old friends, we spent a couple of days catching up and swapping stories with Craig and Jodie, Brits on their way around the globe. I realized through talking to them how different travel has been on foot. They are doing a similar epic adventure, but travelling by whatever means are most logical, and getting a good look at several parts of the world by doing so. There was much I envied about their trip--the flexibility and the breadth of exposure and the ability to travel for bits of time with other people to share the experience. (Their travel blog is at www.seemywhitebits.yourtraveljournal.com.) And I also realized how unique our journey is. We are able to see the side of a country that nobody but its few inhabitants knows exists, let alone finds its way into the guide books. Though certainly not for lack of splendour. I want to share these places and experiences with other people, but I would be reluctant to send too many people over the same tracks, as the tourist-touched world and the tourist-voided world are not close to the same thing. I definitely prefer the latter for gaining an understanding of a place.


Trek two of the section started by heading around a large, artificial, as in dammed, reservoir near Mouldes, Argentina. Nature, however, has reclaimed it. Every seven feet it seemed, we were having to duck under rope-like yellow webs spun by hundreds of large spiders, working together in a system that seemed capable of catching large birds. And backpackers. In addition to the spiders were many different kinds of birds, butterflies, bovines and a myriad of spikey, sticky plants. Progress was exceedingly slow, wading through all that life, but the reserve-like feel of it was worth the few days we spent there. To speed up the progress, we elected to take the Tren a los Nubes (Train to the Clouds) tracks back up to the puna, or altiplano. This made for a smooth end to another trek, and enabled us to meet some folks and feel more in our element again.

For the last week and a half, we have had Paul back with us, which is probably more of a gift than he realizes. We have had a few friends from home visit us now, none of which have the money to do it, but all of which made the choice to add the experience to their lives and made it happen, regardless. It means a lot to me. And it shows the importance and possibility of exploration to enrich life.

Of all the treks so far in this 10-month stretch, this last one has been the most diverse. We began in Calilegua National Park, a densely forested, jungle-like area in the mountains with monkeys (which we unfortunately missed) and toucans, and climbed up enough to change our environment to high, dry ridge-tops, towering at 16,100 ft. over the sea of clouds. Our final decent dropped us back into desert-like open valleys with scrub and sheep farms, and a most-lovely stay with a family for the night.


Northern Argentina has definitely far exceeded my expectations. We are now only four days in our hike from the Bolivian border, a landmark that only meant something to me once I realized a couple of days ago that it also means leaving Argentina. I am not anxious to leave, as the country and its people have treated us well, but knowing I will return some seven months from now, after completing the whole northern part of the walk, after seeing my family for a visit, after already having walked 5,000 of the most challenging miles of my life ... makes it pretty significant. From the midst of it, the journey often seems never-ending, all-consuming and overwhelming, but with that little bit of perspective given by the border, I see how finite and almost fragile this chapter is in my life, so ephemeral and rich. I am so fortunate to be connected to so much. In a completely cheezy ending here, those seemingly nasty spiders we've been running into so much lately perhaps are saying something with those webs of theirs. Interconnectedness, man.