Sunday, October 25, 2009

15 Days

With fifteen days until departure - most pieces are in place.

We are yet to book a hostel in Buenos Aires. We are waiting to hear back from a staff member about the possibility of helping with upkeep in exchange for a free/discounted room. If we have not heard anything definite by the end of this next week, we'll probably book the Pax Hostel and figure out a more permanent situation in country.

The plan is to stay in the BA vicinity for about a month. Assuming our only obligation will be to help out around the hostel, there should be plenty of time to explore. All indications suggest that day trips to Montevideo, Uruguay are a very real possibility.
I have "committed" to a (tentative) three day rotation:

Day 1: Explore the city/surroundings.
Day 2: Pursue soccer related activities.
Day 3: Write.

I do not intend to establish a routine - this rotation is more so a matter of probability.

Sometime in December, we will start to make our way through the Patagonia.
We've booked a hostel in Punta Arenas, Chile - partly to placate the Argentine customs official that will be skeptical about our one-way ticket - partly to keep us moving.
Once we get down to Punta Arenas, we have the month of January to continue hiking and camping. I'm telling myself I will befriend a local near one of the hundreds of islands that make up a megalopolis of archipelagos along the southern portion of Chile, that will let us work on his isolated sheep farm.

Around February we will be making our way north to Isle Chiloe. Word is that this is a "mystical" region where "time passes differently" - enough said. We have contacted several WWOOF farms on the island and have had replies from most. Unfortunately, our number one choice (Thomas, "el holandes" part mad scientist - part Castaneda) in Puerto Raul Marin has not replied, yet. However, we have already had a lengthy correspondence with a family in Chacoa (just east of Ancud). They are more than happy to have us February through April if we are willing to stay that long.

Looking at the accommodations, I can see us staying a while!

Between the snail farm, the horses, and mollusk harvesting, should be plenty to learn.

It is safe to say, I am more than excited by the prospect.
Of course, we do still intend to make our way to Valparaiso, Santiago, and hopefully Antofagasta and/or Iquique. We are also leaving the door open for a trip into Peru, but nothing solid is planned beyond Chiloe.

So...that is the state of things. Meanwhile, I refuse to sleep. I am exhausting myself in hopes that I will be able to sleep on the plane come November. Until then, I'll force my eyelids open and settle for daydreams.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

To Be Prolific

The trip to Tucson/Phoenix served as the christening of a mini-renaissance within me. Not inspired, but invigorated and envious. To be a fly on the wall for a few days as Jeremy makes "The Guilt Complex" whatever it will be - I felt guilty.

For how long I have been coasting. For how little effort I have put towards the activities that have always brought fulfillment. For how arrogant and wasteful I have been with my days. For my indifference. For my lassitude. For allowing weakness.

In the nonchalant rage that was their touring through Arizona, I was lulled into a vulnerability that had only been alluded to when Jeremy played in Denver last week. The mundane and whorish aspects of their self-promotion. Hawking handbills in guitar shops and canvasing prepubescent shopping malls. A preemptive ejaculation in order to purge the weakest seed. In order to leave only the most viral representation of their art for whomever appears for the show.
This purity and intensity - I have only sniffed the last few months. Here and there I stumble upon something of which I am proud. Only every so often have I produced a work that reminded me why I bother.

Surely, the madness of two thousand miles to ponder Jeremy's mystery, not to mention the might of the sonorous Coronado, and the delirious rhythm of an overdue oil change - have transubstantiated my lower proclivity into a seething fecundity.

The read and written word is back. Participation and Intrigue, requiters of the active masses have brought me home. Ostensibly, the time honored postal mission is revisited. Letters are retracing the spent bends of the interstate highway system and the less trafficked troposphere - bringing bits of me back.
Pynchon and my peers fill my head with beer that steers me clear of trite and septic disaffection. Better than the best brewed bubbles have to offer.

The mere fact that I am so eager to write this nothing, is - for me - success. A fever I can only hope to continue carrying. No climate or harbor for relevance!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Education continues..

Last week I spent about five days in a cabin with Kaitlin and family along the Gunnison River, over the Collegiate Mountains - in the sufficiently remote ranch land braced by Signal Peak and Gunnison National Forest.

Gunnison County is home to the Gunnison, East, and Taylor rivers which boast some of the best trout fishing in Colorado - in addition to an average temperature that is ten degrees lower than anywhere in the state. Though Colorado is experiencing an "early winter" (having just turned to autumn) the low of nine degrees our first morning in Gunnison was quite a shock.

The temperatures gradually rose throughout the stay, but falling in a mountain fed river and leaking waiters will certainly give your feet a different perspective.

Above there are pictures from a hike Kaitlin and I ventured on into the West Elk Wilderness - Mill Creek Trail. The week before the canyon had experienced 80mph winds, leaving giant aspen and ponderosa strewn across the valley and in many places blocking the trail.
It is difficult to glean from just photos, but the hike was quite eerie. The canyon was still but for the constant rustling of the aspen leaves. Only birds and small rodents appeared, though we found mountain lion tracks and scat. In fact, we were in prime mountain lion country (large boulders, high yellow grass, downed trees, high canyon walls), a realization that made the hike all the more tense - despite their reclusive nature.
Featured also are just two pictures from days of fly fishing activities. Kaitlin's father (The Gillie Man) tying leaders and flies. Then we have me on day five. After spending most of the day on our hike is West Elk, there was too little daylight left to rent boots, so I hit the Gunnison in my slippers. Not recommended.

Back in Denver now, it might be easy to forget the presence of the wild. My good friend Taylor posed the question to me the other day: How is the American Frontier? Does the American Dream reside in Colorado?

Well, I gave him more than he bargained for and more than I will burden anyone reading this with..

But the answer is of course, "yes" and "no"..

I have come to find, through Ed Abbey and driving in my own steel dinosaur through eastern Utah - that the rail fence that I once thought plagued the American West (lining miles and miles of uninhabited prairie) does not confine nature - it does not make the land our eunuch - it confines us, it protects us. From a force that, despite the industrial mechanization of our lives, can still reek absolute havoc. The fences protect us from facing all of the forces that we no longer have the instinctual capacity to maneuver. In this manner, the frontier is still a vibrant throng, a population unrivaled.
Yet, there are those who come to the frontier with no tolerance, no adventure in their heart. They will remain the urban mob, with no interest in equilibrium. If by chance they do venture into the hills - it is for a resort like cabin with tens of thousands of square footage and fenced in acreage. For these individuals and indeed for most of us in our daily lives, there is no frontier. However, in those rare moments when we dream of wild things and in the rarer moments when we let ourselves be hunted - when we reenter the chain - then we have reclaimed both frontiers (our mind and our surrounding).

Lastly, thirty days until our departure. Nearly every loose end is tied. Kaitlin's grandmother has offered to store my car in her garage in Colorado Springs. The scent of South America is so strong now that it is difficult to pursue any of the administrative details left. I just know that the days are going by and not too long from now we will be on a plane and everything will change. For now though, we will call the airlines, dry-run packing, and make our last excursions in the American West. I leave for Phoenix tomorrow, but will be back by Tuesday. Then later this month we will head five or six hours south to the sand dunes.

There is so much land.