for my last full weekend in south america, i knew i wanted to take a solo trip. i had three choices: arica, the northern most chilean city, but also super far from valdivia, it would have required a plane and i really wanted to take the bus. two, i could have went to chilloe, chile’s quiet little patagonia island with a cute penguin population. three accross the chile/argentina border to bariloche.
after reading about one of the mot praised trails in bariloche, and my hunger for more passport stamps, i went with bariloche.
here’s a quickee on my trip.
i can recall all of the best times of my life: mountain biking in the andes, my undergrad graduation night at the moon, seeing the solar eclipse, but this trip takes the cake! i wanted to travel solo because more and more, i’m seeking out my fears, and slitting their throats. one being the unknown wilderness and another being patriarchal illnesses like rape. anywho, this trip was great, i got to ride a bus from chile to argentina, and see beautiful parts of both countries. i hike 4.5 hours, one way, to a pair of alpine cirques in quasi patagonia called ‘frey’. on my walk into the forest, i meditated, took a million pictures, gasped at beauty, cried, asked for help, worried if i would make it to the top, moaned in pain about the heaviness of my pack, second guessed my decision to make this trek, hugged a black girl from brasil, laughed because they tried to separate us 500 years ago, cursed my hiking boots (which btw gotta go!), apologized to my knees cuz i tried them, and declared myself a crazy b!tc* for doing this in the first place.
it was amazing to watch my self for 4.5 hours on that enchanted trail.
i arrived on top of a windy mountain with about 2.5 hours of sunlight left. i initially set up my tent, while trying to not slide down a slope. once my tent was up, i climbed inside, took off my shoes and rubbed my feets and apologized to them for the troubles. wanting to get a chance to see the area before the sun went down, i walked around this mysterious lake, looking at moss and rocks; i thought i was on another planet. i sung songs. sat by a water stream and meditated. i made it back to my campsite right after dark and ate. that night i, caressed my toes and stretched out my legs and read the last chapter of osho’s “love freedom and aloneness,” which by the way is....uh... essential.
at one point in the night i realized a light shining on my tent. i thought it was another campers light, i also had to pee. i pried open my tent and to my surprise, i was met by an orange moon just rising over top of the mountains. it took my breath away, there was so much light and yet enough darkness that when i lifted my head to see the rest of the sky, i saw for the first time in my life, the milky way. like what?!?! lol, what kind of life have i created? i was so proud and shocked and overwhelmed with emotions. sun ra’s “more than life interested me so, that I dared to knock at the door of the cosmos.” immediately came to my head, i mean, this is what i was doing, knocking at the door of the cosmos on this high mountain, in baby patagonia, with the moon lighting my environment. so much so that fear crept around, like girl, don’t say no more because you might get swept up by the mothership for real! lol
that night, i slept barely ( i can never get good sleep in tents).
next day, i woke to a little bit of sunlight creeping in the far skies. i sat and watched and waited for the sun to arrive. showed gratitude and then began to pack up for a rapid trip back down the mountains in an attempt to make a 2p bus ride back to chile. i prayed and banked on my legs allowing my crazy @$$ to make it back own the trail safely, with no injuries and in time for my bus.
surely i fought through pain, took it easy and moved slowly when i walked in steep areas, and sped through the flat parts. i made time goals for my self and met them with perfection. by the end of my 3 hour 10 minutes hike back to catedral cerro, i was cheering myself on in what seemed like a mission that might be impossible, because my right leg started to stiifen up. but i made it out with about 2 hours to spare before my bus ride back to chile. as i waited for my bus back to the city of bariloche, i looked in the direction of my trail while laying on the ground stretching my i.t. band and massaging my calf muscles, and grinned at the thought of my last 24 hours.
for those reading this to learn more about the refugio frey hike and trail: it’s a fairly easy hike. long in that it can take a solid 3.5-4 hours going up. it took me about 5 hours because i stopped for pictures along the way. leaving, it took me 3.5 hours to walk out and that’s with a knee that started to stiff up. the first part has small inclines/declines, but nothing major. at about the midway point of the trail you will hit a few spots that require you to climb over rocks, sometimes asking yourself, where did the trail go. a couple of the bridges are a bit sketchy. once you pass the burnt/dead tree area, the inclines are steeper. it’s very windy on the top, bring something that breaks wind. make sure your wearing comfortable, flexible hiking shoes.
on putting black bodies back into wilderness. i can only highlight the people that inspired me and let me know it was ok to place my black body back in the wilderness. matthew henson (expleorer that made it to the north pole 30 minutes before his ‘boss’) to john francis (took a vow for 22 years to not use motorized vehicles after witnessing an oil spill), zahra and alsie (the trillest sojourners) @theblackalachian and @rahawahaile (black appalacian trail thru-hikers).