Monday, September 14, 2009


wow, I just realized I had the ability to post on this blog. Pretty sure no one is checking this anymore, but just for posterity here's the link to the website from our trip!



Friday, January 2, 2009

Final destination

We have arrived in Santiago! Tomorrow we will have our grand tour of the city, but we have already experienced a small portion of it from our trek via metro to get from the bus station to a few blocks away from our hostel. After dropping our stuff and changing into cooler clothes (because it´s about 90ºF here), we went out to dinner before having a group meeting in a nearby park. At this meeting you all will be excited to find out that Cristen Groseclose was announced as our female winner of the hairy leg contest (with Amy Buckner as a close runner-up) and Luke Emory was the overall winner of the guys´ beard contest. I must give all the guys credit though... there were winning qualities in all of them. Pictures shall be posted... at some point. For now, I REALLY need to go shave MY hairy legs, so you all get to practice exercising your patience. 0:-)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just some pictures...

Alrighty... here are some pictures from our adventures. No obnoxious links to flickr this time. ;-) Sorry I couldn't get the text directly under the pictures... silly blogspot.

(1) Working on the roof... Hammer that!

(2) Working on the side of the house.

(3) Group photo with Rosita and the traditional Mapuche house.

(4) Lauren T., Michelle and Jennie working on painting those trail markers. Ye-yah!

(5) This is a group photo from working on the trail in Villarrica National Park. Do you see the truck hidden in the background? That's the one we all squished into... fun times!

That's all for now! More to come in Santiago perhaps? You'll be in suspense for awhile! Happy New Year's celebrations tonight. We're excited to welcome in the New Year here in Chile, but we're looking forward to catch up with you all in 2009 as well. Ciao!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Still livin´it up in Pucón

Hello to all!

My apologies for the lack of update-age. We have been pretty busy the past few days with our two service learning projects and general continued exploration of the town of Pucón.

The day after Christmas included a zipline "canopy tour" of some neat sights in Pucón for those of us who were willing to participate (one student prefered to keep her feet on the ground, so we respected that). My apologies for lack of pictures this post... Hopefully I will have some more time to get those up tomorrow. In the meantime, try to visualize the past few days we've had...

On the 27th we packed up our bags and headed into Villarrica National park where we spent a cold and rainy morning/afternoon working on a trail along the base of the volcano. This mostly entailed moving some volcanic rocks around to line the path or mark it with towers, known as cairns. Since it was pretty miserable weather, all of our spirits were a bit low which didn't help group tensions either since we've been together for two weeks now... Our ride back to the ranger´s station was pretty interesting though because the van didn´t come for us and we consequently were all piled into a pick-up truck. Yes, there are thirteen of us -- plus Hugo, our park ranger. All-in-all, quite the day. Thankfully, the weather cleared the following day, so we were a bit rejuvenated and continued our work on the trail, this time busting out some paints for the official trail-marking posts in addition to blazing a trail through some confusing rocky/ashy sections.

Once we had finished our trail work, we returned to our hostel and geared up for our next project... working on a traditional Mapuche house for our new friend, Rosita. We had a lot of free time yesterday before embarking on this project adventure, but at 4 o'clock we all headed out to a location where we were able to cut down grass reeds to use for the roof of the house. We filled two trailers full of the stuff and transported it to our location where we would be spending the majority of today. In addition to the roof, we used the grassy reeds and bamboo-like rods to line and cover the outside of the house perimeter. It was a pretty tiring day, but we celebrated at the end of our laboring with some food prepared by Rosita and her son -- delicious sopapillas, grilled chicken, potatoes and the traditional mate drink.

Everyone is looking forward to our day off (technically today) to enjoy the last day of 2008 as we please, before we have to travel to Puerto Varas and then the following day to Puerto Montt to the airport to fly to Santiago for our last big stop before returning to the States. Phew! No telling if or when we'll be able to update the blog, but I will do my best to upload some pictures tomorrow.


Oh wait! p.s. Something to think about, we'll beat you all into the New Year because of the time difference. How about THAT for craziness? We're livin' in the future! :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

We conquered the Volcan Villarrica!!!

With style too, I might add. Take a gander at those snazzy bright green suits we got to wear for that incredible excursion up to an elevation of 9,340 feet. Looking down on the clouds was pretty spectacular if you ask me.

As Dr. Koesler mentioned, today is pretty laid back. Most of the group is out horseback riding right now, and we have plans for a pizza dinner and then the White Elephant gift exchange tonight. Just to rub it in, I simply have to mention that the windows are open here in the hostel and the weather is amazing. Christmas weather could not be better in my opinion.

Our only complaint as a group is probably some of the funky sunburns we ended up with and a little bit of physical pains, but otherwise, we are all well here though missing our loved ones for sure.

I´m working on getting some more pictures up now. As you can see I´m adding a few new ones onto the sidebar, but I´m also putting a few more on my personal site if you want to check there as well. Click here to jump over to those. Enjoy!

Christmas in Patagonia

Merry Christmas to ALL! We are having a very low key day today, considering we have been on the move since the beginning of this trip. Most students are still sleeping and enjoying some down time before we pick it back up tomorrow. The group has been DELIGHTFUL and I'm fortunate to have such an eager, willing, and good hearted group. I too am enjoying myself. Elizabeth Kuhfuss, the queen blog poster, will no doubt be sending out a more detailed account of our last few days, including our climb of the Volcano yesterday. But, in the mean time, know that we are thinking of all of you who manage to log onto to the BLOG at this special time of year. We will celebrate our own white elephant gift exchange this evening. Thank you for your support along the way and we wish you a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dreaming of a white Christmas?

We have all safely arrived in Pucon and are spending today relaxing and enjoying the city a little bit. Yesterday involved much traveling as we took a bus from Puerto Natales back to Punta Arenas and then flew from there to Puerto Montt and THEN took a loooong bus ride to Pucon. We got in around midnight or so and after settling in we went out to eat at a restaurant which was open at 1:30 in the morning... Quite odd, but enjoyable.
Today everyone is out venturing on their own, checking out the shops or biking around and exploring. After dinner tonight, we will be checking out our gear and boots, etc. to prepare for climbing Volcan Villarrica tomorrow!!! (--> weather providing.) Then we will have a big dinner celebration of barbecue and lamb shared with the owners of this hostel and another group of Germans who will be arriving either today or tomorrow.
Many other plans are in the making for our time here in Pucon, but it remains to be determined what we will end up doing. Some of our options include horseback riding, white water rafting, climbing a Via Ferrata (that´s my personal favorite), fly fishing, mountain biking, etc. etc. Most likely smaller groups will form to do various activities after Christmas.
More updates to come! We have free internet access here at this hostel, so I´ll try to keep you posted as our adventures continue. :)

p.s. Mallory, Daddy says "Te amo mi niña bonita." <3
p.p.s. Luke says, "I love you, Brittany and Nate."
p.p.p.s. Everyone that is NOT near me at the computer right now probably wishes to express their love for their respective families and loved ones too. :) Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Back in Puerto Natales!


We have all safely returned from the INCREDIBLE wilderness known as Patagonia. Torres del Paine National Park was simply amazing and words cannot begin to describe it. I intend to upload pictures, but unfortunately left my camera and cable in the hostel on the adventure out, so that will have to wait until the next update.

In general, we could not have asked for better weather on our trekkings. It was a bit windy and we had some moments of drizzly rain, but overall it was not too cold and the sky was pretty clear. Our first hike, which was a pretty intense 9 hour-ish journey, offered us a breath-taking view of the Torres (towers) which set the tone for the rest of our incredible 5-day wilderness expedition. We saw some LENTICULAR CLOUDS -- look it up or ask Dr. Koesler if you don't know about these things. haha. Many many flowers, birds and rocks upon rocks should also be included in our list of sightings.

Everyone is a bit sore and tired... but CLEAN because we all showered as soon as we returned to the hostel after saying goodbye to our guide, Cristian.

Now it's time to explore the city before dinner... but more blogging for you all soon!

Oh, and the hairy leg and beard competition is going well! Dr. K thinks she's going to win... lol. The guys seem to care a bit less.

Okay, I went back to the hostel real quick and grabbed my camera and USB cord, so hopefully the pictures will upload above as I'm typing this... SUCCESS! (finally) One is our group photo from our trek up to Los Torres, the other is of our fearless leaders (Dan, Cristian and Rena) in front of Glacier Grey. Woo hoo! More to come. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We made it!

Greetings all!

We have all safely arrived in the southernmost city in the world... Punta Arenas! After several flights and much uncomfortable napping on the planes, we are settled into our hostel in Punta Arenas where we look forward to getting some SLEEP! Tomorrow we have a relatively late start -- 9am-ish -- when we get to go visit the penguin colony. :) Our only misadventure so far was a misplaced pack which was tracked down without too much trouble during our layover in Santiago. Hopefully some pictures will be posted here soon. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good luck packing, travelers!

We are down to our final hours in the States! Good luck packing everyone... soon our blog posts will be sent from the other hemisphere! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Buenos días todos! In a short 2 weeks, we will be in Chile...probably weary from excitement and lack of sleep. Good luck with the last week of classes and finals. We will see you all at the airport on Saturday, December 13th. I enjoyed our little potluck dinner - surrounded by background guitar music and great food! See you at the airport on December 13th.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

WELCOME BACK Chilean Adventurers! I hope you have had an enjoyable summer and are ready to charge into the semester. See you shortly for our first meeting to plan out our semester. We want to be physically prepared as well as prepared to take the right clothing and equipment. See you soon at our first meeting.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First Blog Greeting

I'm sending you our first Blog post. This is a way that we can communicate throughout the summer and for parents and others to see and hear from us while we are away. Let us know how your summer is going from time to time. Feel free to comment along the way. Enjoy!