Tracking an epic journey through South America | SummitDaily.com

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Tracking an epic journey through South America

One thousand miles down, many more to go. That’s the way things stand for Gregg Treinish and Deia Schlosberg, a Leadville couple currently hiking through the Andes Mountains in South America. Treinish and Schlosberg set out from Quito, Ecuador, in late June with the intention of walking to Tierra del Fuego, then up the eastern coast of South America, across the Amazon River basin and back to Quito. Treinish recently reported that the couple’s original plan of completing the trek in one year has been altered to allow for a longer excursion.The Summit Daily News printed blogs from the intrepid travelers a month ago as they were crossing Ecuador’s border into Peru. This is the latest installment.Treinish and Schlosberg are still in Peru, in part because of a two-week break from hiking caused by Schlosberg’s nagging foot injury. After beginning the Peruvian phase of their journey in the small town of Cohechan, the travelers advanced to Karajia where they hiked along the picturesque Rio Belen.- Adam Boffey

Oct. 14By Deia SchlosbergAt mid day, we diverged into a side valley, soon passing by a lone, small cabin where inside sat several men, whistling for us to come over. We obliged and ended up having one of the most memorable experiences of the trip so far. We sat, sharing coca leaves and conversation with these men for some time, learning that they would also be departing soon on foot over Incan roads to head home (only one of the men actually lived in the cabin.) They invited us to walk with them and offered to show us some hidden ruins along the way. Before departing, though, everyone gathered around the table to share a meal of rice, beans, corn and meat – all from the same vessel, all with hands. Taking part in this meal as such was probably not the best move as far as sanitation goes, but socially it was a larger gesture than we even intended. Dionicio, whose home we were in, stepped back from the meal to tell us that we were the first gringos in ten years to stop and talk with him, in his own language even, and the first gringos ever to eat with him. As far as he could understand, everyone else passed by out of fear. We were beyond moved. All we had done was accept a gesture of kindness from this man and exchanged some thoughts and it had meant worlds to him. …Wrapping up this trek, we bee-lined for Leimebamba, our current south-point on the hike. In Leimebamba, we made the decision to go back to Chachapoyas for medical reasons. My foot has been hurting and worsening for over a month now, and for fear of a stress fracture developing, we decided to look into it sooner rather than later. It was also necessary to make yet another attempt at ending our intestinal havoc. … No fracture showed up on the x-ray, so the doctor ordered rest and anti-inflammatories. Resting on a thru-hike is beyond frustrating, especially when we’re racing to beat the bad weather in southern Peru.

However, we made the best of the downtime by spending a week in Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in the heart of the Amazon basin. Absolutely amazing. After the experience there, I feel connected to the Earth and the life on it in a profoundly new way. … It is impossible to enter the reserve without a guide because of permit issues and for the lifetime of experience necessary to safely experience it close-up. … The Samiria River gave us a tranquil tunnel through the dense rainforest and immediately upon setting out, we were overtaken by the symphony of bird, insect, and monkey songs, and the smells of lush plants and flowers. It was not long before seeing our first toucans, our first black monkeys in the distance, giant blue butterflies, an anaconda, on and on. In the course of our four days and nights, we saw several other species of monkey – howler, white, squirrel and pichico, crocodiles, piranhas, a rare white frog, a river otter, pink and grey dolphins, vampire bats, other varieties of snakes, turtles – including the birth of several, countless amazing birds including macaws, several fish species, huge spiders and insects, perisoso, or three-toed sloths, an electric eel, and more and more. …Every day, our guides (and each of us, even) spear-fished from the canoe to allocate our next meal: Fish wrapped in giant leaves and cooked over a fire with yucca or plantain. We learned which type of bark to use for rope to construct a shelter in a sudden downpour, how to get rubber from rubber trees, which bark to use for a stomach-settling tea, which palm fronds make the longest-lasting roofs, and other useful bits, it seemed, almost hourly. Throughout the four days, I felt a very comforting sense of being home in the jungle. I know I will go back at some point.Nov. 2

By Gregg TreinishTo date, our best guess has us at around 1,000 miles down and a lot to go. Deia’s knees and foot both held up relatively well on the last section and we are still struggling to get our stomachs in order. What lies ahead of us is the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash. Since learning about their existence, I have often dreamt of walking through the glaciated peaks that make the Andes famous. I am not sure exactly when we will hit them, but the anticipation is growing at an incredible rate. Not only will it mark a major landmark reached for our hike, but the sheer vastness that is the Blanca makes me want to run to get there.To view Treinish and Schlosberg’s latest blogs visit http://www.roadjunky.com or http://www.steripen.com. Photos and movies can be viewed at http://southam.smugmug.com.