Writings by Deia Schlosberg
(click here to read bio)

Writings by Gregg Treinish
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Flip Floppin
By Gregg Treinish

January 19, 2007


This month has been extremely different than the other six. Currently I sit in a small town called Los Andes, Chile. I will explain how we got here by and by. I am really sick of cities, towns, and anywhere else that is not the backcountry. We have spent way too much of our time, money, and sanity in the metropolitan centers of South America and I can not begin to explain how great it is to be back in the mountains at last. So often by Ecuadorians, Peruvians, and now Chileans we are asked why? What in god's name would posses two gringos to walk across the mountains? Afterall, wouldn't it be so much easier to travel on the roads, near the coast? Well, the walking would be easier surely, the problem is that we would be without the feeling that the mountains bring. The instant that we return to the mountains a calm comes over me. I can actually feel the stress leave. Deia says she can almost visibly see the change too. I am at home in the mountains, very little bothers me there. I can overcome anything, I am who I want to be here. This is not the case in cities. It is entirely too easy for me to get caught up in an atmosphere of rushing, of a lack of trust, of having to look over your shoulder because you never know who could be around the next corner. People aren't as friendly, I am not as friendly. Lima brought out the worst in all of these things. I will return to Lima by and by.

We began where we last left off in La Union, climbing to the incredible ruins of Huanuco Viejo. The site, which is considered the most important archelogical site outside of Cusco (home of Machu Picchu) was actually as impressive as the hype lead us to believe it would be. Thousands of houses, and three impressive central plazas are what is left of a once thriving city. Our drunken guide that insisted on showing them to us made the ruins all the more interesting. As we camped outside the ruins, we would again have visitors. I have a recording this time that you can check out on our movie


page ( http://southam.smugmug.com). We would spend our next several days, avoiding the rain as best as we could, which was really not at all, and meeting some of the more interesting people of our walk. Zenobia was the only of her neighborhood who believed that we would not bite and was brave enough to come and have a conversation with us. Explaining that we must excuse her friends as they hadn't exactly seen other hikers before, she insisted on bringing us fresh milk from one of her 100 cattle along with eggs and potatoes (by the way, never backpack with eggs). Knowing full well that we were headed all too soon to Lima to have a New Year's celebration, but more importantly to have Deia's knees looked at, we took in every site, all the while hoping that they wouldn't be our last for a long while. Arriving at the Cordillera Huayhuash was something special. Not only would it mark the end of our time in the Blanca, but we would now get to see the fabled site of climber Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void," oh yeah, and some of the most outrageous mountains in the world. We only could hope that the news from Lima would bring us back to the hike soon.

We descended from the views of the 23,000 ft . peaks to the coast and after only six hours found ourselves in the heart of the biggest shit-hole we have been yet. I was entirely too excited to get a good hamburger I must say. We would spend New Year's Eve on an incredible beach. For those of you who don't know what a Caldera is, it is what every child draws when you ask them to draw a volcano. Well, it is the top of it anyway. The beach we were on was a Caldera that was half on land, and half at sea. Special thanks to Juan, a friend of Deia's from her time in England for getting us in. Along with ten or so new friends, and an equal number of resolutions, one of which was to finish walking the continent of South America, we danced ourselves into the new year, at least while we weren't chasing the crabs on the beach. This was the best part of Lima. The next week or so brought visits to the doctor, yes for knees, and additionally for an incident with a cat that could have been avoided. Don't worry, no rabies here. The news was good and too many days after our arrival, we were climbing back to Huaraz.

During our visit to the coast which is currently experiencing a beautiful summer, the already awful rains decided to get worse in the mountains. Realizing that we have a lot of months to go and that continuing south from the Huayhuash would mean that we would walk through the rainy season and into the snowy winter, we began looking at other options. Santiago is 48 hours south by bus and about 6-8 months on foot. The weather is perfect this time of year and walking north seems all too natural for me after the AT. In addition, arriving in Huaraz six months from now will mean that we are able to fully enjoy some of the greatest parts of our hike. The decision really made itself. So after going inward at The Way Inn, it was back to Lima and Chilebound.


So as I said, we are currently in a small town in Chile. We have hiked the last four days through a dream. The treatment of the land here is vastly different than in the north, while walking through the endless valleys, I actually have felt like I am in nature. The language is extremely different, but nonetheless, we are able to tell that the people are infinitely kind. We have seen more wildlife in four days than in the previous six months (exception of the jungle of course). The weather is sunny and the days much much longer, as it stays light until close to 10pm. We will walk the length of the Appalachian Trail back to Huaraz and then come back to Santiago to walk six months or so through Patagonia still having Tierra del Fuego as our ultimate goal. We are moving around 25km a day and will need to maintain this average to get north in time to beat next year's rains. Chile is far more remote that its northern neighbors, so the updates may not be quite as frequent. This is no excuse for you to avoid writing us. Please keep the emails coming.