Puerto Natales – The End of the Beginning

Hola from Puerto Natales!

Well, things have come together pretty well. My eight days of adventure have dropped me into Puerto Natales, a tiny little seaside city that is gradually being invaded by twenty year old gringos with NOLS stickers on their nalgene bottles. The trip here was amazing, as you may have read…so much more than I could fit into that little story. The dottering japanese fellow who ate nothing but crackers and beer, the ´instant friends´ that are so easily made and just as easily parted from when traveling, and the desolation… Anyhow, there will be plenty of time to talk about that when I get back.

I met the group last night. Apparently most of them had met before, either on the way down or in town over the last few days. I started by wandering from hostel to hostel, gathering a group of ´los NOLses´ as the locals call us. By dinnertime, we were ten kids from all over the USA, with all manner of likes, dislikes, interests, and experiences.

After a beautiful king crab leg dinner (the local specialty), we cruised back to one of the more popular hotels and met ten more…kaki,kit,jack, robin, brian, gaylan, morgan, beth, john, nick, drew, alex…I can hardly keep track. Some have been in the mountains, some have never been outside. They are mostly traveling very differently from me…I am staying at a tiny residencial on the outskirts of town, paying about $7 US per night and having lovely spanish conversations with the old Chilean lady who runs the place late at night (which is dinnertime here). These kids are staying at $70-night hotels and living it up while I cook pasta and relax. I look forward to getting out into the mountains, more into my element, where I am more comfortable.

It will be a challenge, both physically and socially, I think, these next few months. On the whole though, I like the people and think that some of them may become dear friends in due time.

The trip starts tonight, with the introductory meeting. We spend three days camping near town and organizing gear and food, then off we go. I won’t have another chance to email until the third week of April, but I will try to get a letter or two out with the resuppliers while in the backcountry.

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Thank you all for your emails, word of encouragement, and support. It makes it a bit easier to be wandering about alone in these wild places knowing that you are thinking of me just as much as I think about you.

I am concerned about my email account filling up, so please hold off from responding or writing until my NOLS semester ends in April….I will not get it until then anyhow.

I will miss you all and look forward to swapping stories in a few months.

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