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Torres del Paine

Quite an office view these guys have

For most hikers (including us) a boat ride is the way to reach the West side of the park. There are two different options, one that takes you up Lago Gray where the glacier is, and the other takes you along Lago Pahoe and can run in higher winds, so we chose to travel with them. Plus it's a good ride if you just want to take photos of the park.

Even the view from inside the catamaran is good.

But up on deck the view is even better.

Charlie may or may not have gotten a chance to take the helm.

At the top of the pass between the two lakes we got our first glance at some icebergs floating on Lago Gray.

On Foot

And then further around the corner we discovered some wind and rain. Oh, and there was also this glacier thing too.

Eventually another hour or so later we found a lookout (near the refugio that Charlie wanted nothing to do with) and had a quick break.

We hiked a bit further, and eventually found a place to camp that was a bit calmer and had nice access to water. Not to mention an amazing view down below.

The next day we got up for Christmas, and while Charlie took some tree cores for dendrocronology (dating stuff with trees) I found some boulders on the moraines that had a certain species of lichen that grows at known rate for lichemetry (not Lycanemetry, the dating of stuff using werewolves...) and found some glacial striations. Glacial striations are basically scratches on bedrock from the glacier moving over or along. It's kinda like the screen of your phone getting scratched by your keys, only in one direction and many, many scratches over a long time.

Also found what could be a very cool ski line if it wasn't ridiculously hard to access.

I managed to make it most of the way back to camp before my first gear casualty (and realistically gear fatality, they are pretty hard to repair to the safe level for puttering about mountains and boats)

Another view from the creek part next to the campsite.

Then I hiked up the creek, and after a little scrambling past the small waterfalls, I found a taller one. It's a waterfall, it requires a couple of photos.

If there is anything wrong about long exposure water shots, I don't want to hear about it.

Spent another night at our hidden campsite, before heading out to find more lichen (yes, I know I have no pictures of the lichen) and striations.

It's not my fault - I didn't squish the rocks.

It started raining, and with how small the drainage is for the creek it came up so I had to take some more pictures of it.

Then we spent another night, and despite having breakfast for dinner and getting going before breakfast was considered we hiked out on the 27th. The peaks were coated with rime from moisture the night before. This is considered the dry side of the range, so it was just a light coating.

Hiking Out

The creek alongside the trail had also come up and has some nice looking water in it. The top falls is probably not runnable though.

Soon we had one last look at the Southern Ice Field (for now) and we managed to leave despite rather high winds (90+ kph measured on the slightly more sheltered side).

And nearly as quick it seemed that we had our last glance at Torres del Paine.

Now I'm back down in Punta Arenas as we do some more supply work before heading down to Puerto Williams and the boat. Anyone got any good and relatively easy recipes to share that I could cook aboard?

Heading South and Then Heading Back North

Heading South

Over the weekend of the 18th I had an early Christmas/birthday with my family, and then I headed out of Boston on the 20th after almost everyone tried to help me pack. Just as I reached the airport it started to snow lightly.

I made it to JFK and had to wander around the airport, eventually traveling to a terminal on the opposite side, but thankfully all my bags followed me without my intervention. LAN didn't even have their desk setup, so there was a blob of other people waiting. Someone else did meet my fear of having to travel from JFK to LGA but I thankfully did not have any similar problems. I ended up hanging out at a pub with a lot of happy and slightly drunk Air Lingus passengers that were very interested in what I was doing although they were not quite interested enough to buy me a drink.

After the usual experience of boarding a plane with 7 seats across compounded by the gate announcements being in more Spanish than English (didn't understand what row numbers they were calling out), we pushed back to have a good view of one of the larger planes on the planet.

The Airbus A380 in Emirates regalia was window dressing as we sat for a while on the tarmac. Eventually we took off for Santiago which is one of the few routes on the planet that you can measure on a flat map (if normally projected) without having to do any great circle calculations. After watching Inception on the seatback monitor, and then crashing my monitor as I tried to see what else was offered, I drifted off to sleep.

I arrived in Santiago to a slightly tight connection due to bags being unloaded on two different carousels, but thankfully someone noticed that I was heading to Punta Arenas and had a better grasp of the time and helped quickly clear my bags through customs and then getting rechecked. Thankfully I had managed to change some money in NY to tip him, and then I wandered my way through security for the third time to see a Dunkin Donuts next to my gate. I hadn't changed enough money and was not mean enough to us a credit card for buying a couple of donuts, so I searched quickly for wifi before boarding. I managed to pass out before we took off and slept though a good portion of the first leg down to Puerto Montt. After they partly deboarded the plane, and then reboarded the plane with one more person than seats we had available, I managed to sleep for most of the way down to Punta Arenas.

I arrived in Punta Arenas rather tired, but thankfully Charlie was able to sneak into the carousel area to help me with my bags, and then I ate three steak sandwiches before heading to bed.

Heading to North

On the 23d we packed up and started driving up to Torres del Paine and visited Puerto Natales along the way which had a cool port. Some people would call it little, but it's bigger and more organized than Boothbay but less protected despite being tucked deep into the fjords.

It is also home to the first findings of Megatherium also known as the giant sloth.

After heading north a bit further we got our first glance at the Torres del Paine in the distance.

And then we got our first glance at a few of the towers.

We found some wanaku hanging about the road.

Had to stop a few times for photo opportunities.

Eventually we got our ferry ride into the trail organized and found a campsite with a rather nice view for the night.

I'll finish this post with some of the other guests that we shared the campground with. The ferry ride is next.

Gear Fatality #1

Tevas after scrambling around moraines for a day.

Torres del Paine pictures and trip report coming soon.

Too Quick

I was not expecting anyone to be getting Christmas Cards this fast, but since they are arriving I should at least post a little update.

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Puerto Williams also known as the furthest South town in the world (as no one knows what to consider McMurdo).

I'm headed down there to hop on a 70 foot boat for 6 months to do climate change research.

The Ocean Tramp

We will start by sailing out to the Falkland Islands, before visiting the Horn, and then sailing up the Patagonian Fjords.

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Along the way we will be collecting various assorted scientists from various institutions from various parts of the world for various amounts of time. And, at other times it will just be two of us attempting to lose thousands worth of machinery.

Cathance in December

In rained in early December and despite the fact there was snow elsewhere Tom and I decided to hop back on the Cathance river. Rigg also got dragged along for the ride this time.

I love the feeling of getting up on the curler and accelerating down Magic Carpet Ride.


We had Thanksgiving in Boothbay, and we went for one of our favorite local hikes at Ovens Mouth.

Hallie is still scared of water.


Tom took me out for my first run on the Cathance River in Brunswick on the 18th at what some might describe as an extra-medium level. Not medium, not high, but not pushing into the medium-high territory. Perfect with a little extra flow.

The lady from Cathance River Education Alliance came along and took our picture for us.

Tom about to drop into Magic Carpet Ride.

While he may not be exactly where he wants to be, Tom still makes it look stylish.

Oh yay!

Apple Juice in a Sippy Cup

A little bit of starter content in a nice container that hopefully won't spill and get all over the place while I'm trying to get it all set.

A miniature tripod, a cheap timer, and a slr can make for a quick timelapse.

The video starts off to Rampant's Revenge by Albannach followed by The Night Pat Murphy Died by Great Big Sea set to 4254 photos taken on a Nikon d90 at Sheepscot Reversing Falls in Lincoln county, Maine.

Beginner One Whitewater

On the weekend of June 18th I helped my boss at Maine Kayak run a beginner one whitewater course up on the West Branch of the Penobscot River.

A little scouting lesson.

Watching the rafters and safety boaters run Cribworks.