One thing Sam and I reflect on almost daily is how lucky and grateful we feel about being able to do this trip. However, we wish we could share some of our overlanding experiences with our friends and family. We think it is such a unique way to travel. It is one thing for us to share our blog with our family, or try to convey our journey through stories, but to be honest, to truly understand what our lives are like they would have to travel with us for a few weeks in our XP.
As Christmas was nearing our parents asked us what we wanted. We are at a place where we have everything we need: freedom, happiness, a bad ass camper, our health. We realized we don’t really want material things, what we want is to share this experience with the people we love.
Anna, Sam’s amazing younger sister has been lovingly caring for our cats for the last year and a half. We decided we wanted to figure out a way to bring her and her boyfriend Cody to Patagonia for the holidays which would make it the best Christmas ever for us. Before we left, Anna and Cody had told us they dreamed of visiting Patagonia one day, but doubted it would ever happen. Sam and I decided one evening in Chile that we were going to MAKE it happen.
First we sent emails to Anna and Cody saying if they could get to Argentina, we would cover all their expenses in country. Next we sent emails to Sam’s parents asking for all our Christmas funds to be donated to Anna and Cody’s airline tickets, we contributed some ourselves and they covered the rest, and within a few weeks by some miracle Anna and Cody were booked on a flight to Bariloche, Argentina. I can’t tell you how excited we were!!!!!!
As soon as I saw them get off the plane I started to cry, it felt surreal that they were here in Patagonia with us. We took them directly to one of the best steak restaurants in Bariloche to give them a true introduction to Argentina with copious amounts of scrumptious meat and Malbec. They were in a bit of a daze at this point after a 36 hour flight, but we were all so excited that the adrenaline got them through the jet lag.
After lunch we decided to leave the city and head directly to the lakes. Of course after three weeks of hot weather, the day they arrived the temperature dropped to 45 degrees!!! It was freezing and our first night camping with them it was so cold we had to spend the entire time in the XP.
The next day took them on the seven lakes route and found a great camp spot on Lago Traful where we settled down for a few days to let them catch up on sleep, hike, relax a bit and for Cody to start fishing. I loved this camp site and the weather was kind enough to warm up for us so we could spend all our time outdoors.
I did not know Cody very well before this trip, but I have to say getting to know him was a total pleasure for both me and Sam. I don’t say this about many people I come across, but Cody is an extraordinary person. He really is. One of the things I found so appealing about him is he has no idea how great he is. He is shy and humble. He taught me to slow down on hikes and look for small flowers and insects. He truly respects nature and everything he does reflects it. On hikes I would always see him fill his pockets with little bits of trash he would find and he even would pick up crumbs from our sandwiches so ants would not come into areas they should not be. He was good at everything he tried, but had no idea that the things that came easy for him were skills other people have tried for decades to attain. He was funny, and smart and I am so glad that Sam’s brilliant, sensitive and caring sister has such a partner in life. The four of us were so compatible, for me at least, every minute we spent with them was wonderful and I felt so lucky to get to know both of them better.
Lago Villarino and Lago Faulkner
After Lago Traful, we headed to Lago Villarino and Lago Faulkner. Both of these lakes were supposed to have good fishing and they also had a free camping area so we set up and explored another lake.
After a windy night, we decided to keep heading north and on our way passed one of the loveliest rivers in the lake district (this is my opinion only) the Ruca Malen. It is an otherworldly blue, so transparent and iridescently aqua and green it almost glows. I loved this river.
From here we head into the heart of the national parks for some of my favorite hikes of the entire trip!!!! More to come =).