Treinish and Schlosberg make it back to Peru
Gregg Treinish and Deia Schlosberg have hiked 5,000 miles through South America since they departed from Quito, Ecuador in July 2006.Based on their monthly correspondences, the Leadville couple seems as strong as ever as they pursue their lofty goal of making it to Tierra Del Fuego on foot before traveling by various (non-walking) means toward the Amazon and ultimately back to Ecuador.
Treinish and Schlosberg spent the first six months of their journey hiking South to Lima, Peru. Once there, the adaptive adventurers decided to hop a bus to Santiago, Chile (travel time: 48 hours) then hike north to avoid the rainy season along the coast.Upon returning to Peru, the couple showed no signs of letting up. Next on tap for the hikers is a well-deserved trip home to visit friends and family, then a flight back to Santiago to finish what they started.
The Summit Daily News has been tracking Treinish and Schlosberg, who have been documenting their trek online at www.roadjunky.com and www.steripen.com, respectively, and posting photos on http://southam.smugmug.com. In line with our bi-monthly tradition, here are a few excerpts from the latest updates.
The section began on the northern shores of Lake Titicaca, and has taken us around 250 crow miles northwest. Our original plan was to walk a straight line to Queropalca and the end of this section. It was only about two days before we decided to dramatically alter our course and head for the heart of Southern Peru’s toughest terrain, this, despite adding more than a few miles to our already pretty damn long trek. As we were finishing our first year, I wrote sometime in my journal that I would make every effort to celebrate life on the second year of this hike, that I would seize every opportunity to climb peaks, see penguins, and enjoy this often overwhelming adventure. The decision to head for the Cordillera Vilcanota largely made itself, and man am I happy that it did. Moving from one range to the next, climbing over a saddle only to see another, even bigger one in the distance and walk to it, this is what it is all about. We have crossed three major ranges since we last wrote, none of which we knew existed upon our return to Peru. What a dream it has been.
In this last month, we have walked through what has easily managed to overshadow those wondrous daydreams of Tierra del Fuego and keep me very much in the moment. Mountains steeper than we have seen, rising out of tropical valleys five, six, seven thousand feet above us, the return of weather in full force, and the challenge that has accompanied all if it has slowed our progress to a mere 8 crow miles per day, this from the 24 or so that we were able to accomplish throughout most of Bolivia.
Our more significant encounters usually take the form of homestays, but this time we had our fair share of authoridades as well. These are men from the small communities who are elected (maybe?) to have the position of “Authority.” I’m not sure what this means. But several times, we have been hiking along and have been approached by a group of them, usually wanting to know where we’re going and why, so they can give us “permission” to go there. Usually for us, that’s over the nearest mountain pass on a small llama trail. In southern Peru, however, these men are very skeptical and are worried that we are miners from Chile coming to take over their valley for its ore. I would probably have a healthy amount of fear about that as well. However, being as it is that we are NOT Chilean miners wanting to take over a Peruvian valley, it can be frustrating to tell them what we are doing and hear in reply, “I don’t believe you,” or “yes, but what are you LOOKING for?” So far, though, once we pull out our maps and journals and photos to prove ourselves, the men are nothing but kind and often invite us to stay with them for the night.
When we find ourselves on the trail of other tourists, it’s always obvious by the way the kids run out to greet us by saying, “Da me dulce.” Literally, “Give me candy.” This is the only phrase most of them know in Spanish, as we are in a predominantly Quechua-speaking area, so only those who have started school know Spanish. Whoever the moron was who began this trend of handing out sweets has got a heck of a legacy down here. We, not wanting to further this nonsense, do not carry candy with us, nor do we hand it out. We try to interact with the kids so that their only impression of gringos is not gumball machines with legs and backpacks. Usually this is fine. Once, two girls even gave us potatoes. Some of the children get rather pissed though, at not having their demand met, and so one time upon leaving a town as sugar-free as it began, we had several rocks hurled at us by a 7-year-old. Can’t win all the time.
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