Local adventurers walk through tough times in Patagonia
As the new year approaches, we revisit Leadville adventurers Gregg Treinish and Deia Schlosberg as they continue their epic trek from the top to the bottom of South America.Treinish and Schlosberg, both of whom hail from Ohio, set out from Quito, Ecuador some 18 months ago, bound for the southern-most tip of Tierra Del Fuego. The couple took September off to rest and spend time with family and friends, then returned to Santiago, Chile, in October to continue their journey.Patagonia has brought its fair share of hardships to the inspiring hikers, but in typical fashion, they have found a way to overcome adversity day in and day out. They’ve also found a way to appreciate the beautiful, finer points of life they encounter on a regular basis. The Summit Daily News has been tracking the journey since it began. In line with our tradition of including excerpts from Treinish and Schlosberg’s blogs, here is the latest from www.acrosstheandes.com.
Gregg Treinish – Dec. 17 I think back to what was now over a month and a half ago since we last wrote and it is impossible to appreciate how much things have changed since then. We had been looking forward to Patagonia so long that nothing else seemed to matter. The time has come and to say it was different from what we expected would be the understatement of the century. The challenges that we faced this last section would put any in the north to shame (at least while they are out of sight and out of mind). To accurately depict the roller-coaster of emotions that we have gone through during this past section would be nearly impossible. Never before in my life have I been in tears so often feeling so utterly defeated, wanting to quit so badly. I walk a mile admiring the scenery, still amazed that I can be this shocked after 18 months at how dramatic the land really is. Thoughts of how outrageous it is that we have walked from the equator and have actually reached Patagonia fill my head – I am proud. But that mile passes and I start to worry a bit about the fact that the trail we have been following is now starting to get just a bit harder, a little muddier, a little steeper. I am fully aware of what happened the last time our trail began to deteriorate and I wonder if we should turn around. …Sometime during the end of our journey into Huaraz (Peru), we got this crazy idea that Patagonia was going to be easy – smooth sailing with clear trails. We expected weather, we expected cold, but we did not foresee the challenges that we have actually had. In the last three weeks, we have averaged little more than four miles per day. We have fallen desperately behind schedule and have grown worried about arriving in Tierra del Fuego before winter does. Strangely, despite the incredible difficulty we have encountered in Patagonia, I am not too bad off. We are still on the path, we are still keeping our eyes on the prize which now only lies 1/6 of the trip’s total distance away. … We have found food in our new surroundings, the trees drop nuts, the streams give us alco (a cucumber-like plant), the rivers and lakes give us fish. Daily we are amazed – Patagonia has not been disappointing.
So, I sit here in San Martin De Los Andes without a clue of where or what we will encounter next, and am not upset, not dreading going back out there. I know that we will find a way, I know that we will do what we need to do like we always have. I have told a few people about out struggles of late and the response is usually, “That is what it’s all about, right?” We have a lot to look forward to in this next month. David, my little brother (who has never been backpacking before) will be joining us for most of it and the chance to spend time with him down here is something that I have been looking forward to for an incredibly long time. As we inch further south, we are hopeful that the bamboo will continue to rise after a long winter of being pressed to the ground, making the hiking infinitely easier. Also the Browns will be in the playoffs! Struggle, beautiful struggleDeia Schlosberg – Dec. 17We’re dirty. Covered in dirt from dragging ourselves through forest and crawling on hands and knees under fallen logs, through mud and dead leaves. Sliding down lichen-covered logs in the rain and getting black very-organic soil under my nails as I stop myself from sliding too far. I have sand, ash and cinder in my hair. I want to be clean, to see the brown water get washed down the drain and turn gradually to clear, to see soap suds and feel that my skin is my skin and not a film insulating my body from the sun and the breeze.
We stop in a hostel, ask to use the shower there (the communal shower), ask if we can pay a little for the use of their water to finally feel clean again. But the young girl working the hostel doesn’t have the authority to let us bathe. She makes a phone call, speaks a quick explanation into the receiver, then holds it against her chest and looks to us. “Where are you from?” she asks. “The U.S.,” we answer following a brief hesitation.”The U.S.,” the girl says into the receiver. We are in a tourist town and this reminds us – people are not people here, they are an embodiment of every person from their country that has stepped foot here before them and nothing can change that. The girl finishes up her brief phone conversation and hangs up.
“Ten dollars,” she says. That’s more than we pay to stay at a hostel. We leave, dirty. Next time we will be from Bolivia. …I love what we’re doing down here. I’m proud of it, and it’s certainly an education no grad degree could provide. I meet amazing people and have an understanding of the earth that would otherwise be impossible to attain. There is pretty much nothing I would trade for this experience. That said, I never want to be away from family for this long again. Perhaps that is as big a lesson as any of the others. My thoughts are with my family now, especially.
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