40° South

Date: October, 2015
Location: just outside of Pucatrihue, Chile

We stopped for the night as it was getting dark early, this latitude just below 40 degrees south has not quite woken from the long winter slumber, even in the Southern hemisphere spring. Driving past dusk is an unnecessary danger we typically avoid: dangerous curves are usually unmarked, nocturnal animals are out, and if a drunk driver was to be on the road, these are the more favored hours. Some rules of overlanding are best agreed to without having to learn for oneself the hard way.

Plus, it is also best to arrive to any populated place in daytime hours to suss it out as well. Overlanding develops many primal skills that modern life seeks to push off as nonsence, but the scientific community is coming around on proving the knowledge recognized in native cultures. The enteric nervous system in the gastrointestinal system (your guts!) is called the “second brain” and connected through a superhighway of chemicals and hormones and an extensive network of neurons to the brain. Learning to listen to and “trust your gut” is a skill we are still learning to honor.

But back to the trip… The low laying fog has been hovering all morning, slow rain intermingling. Emily prepared breakfast in the van, we brushed teeth (which Colette has insightfully noted they never show in movies, but we do two times a day), folded our two-story home back into its compact state, and took to the road for a taste of new.
n3xt4Pucatrihue immediately captivated us- rustic farmhouses dot the hills that end abruptly above the sea, and lush greenery is contrasted by a wide, sandy beach. Rio Llesquehue (this word is Mapudungun, the native Mapuche peoples language) forms a lagoon that exits into the sea when the shifting sand-bars allow it- one day it was flowing lazily, the next two it was walled up, the fourth it was rushing past, having just broken through. It seemed a marvel to watch nature not held back by human intervention, that in this small town the flow of the tide and sand still have a place and are still honored to do as they like. A small gift that rings loud in a world set on a maddening pace towards ‘modernity’ and ‘progress.’n3xt27Pucatrihue, with it’s dirt roads and slowly ambling sheep next to A-frame cottages and haphazardly lay wires, is place of contrast, the culture-clash of old-school fishing and farming slowly being interwoven with weekend getaways. It harkens to what California was perhaps like 60 years ago. Rawness and beauty yet unexploited, but on the verge. The native Valdivian temperate rain forests- rich in ferns and bamboo growing below southern beech and arrayán- are being slowly diminished for further expansion, falling farther from the sand dunes. n3xt28By mindful selection, we visit most places on low or shoulder season. High-season means high prices and crowds, neither of which we are so fond of. We much prefer ghost-town vibes of sand-swept beach homes, to meet the year-round locals, and to taste the character of a place at rest.n3xt8Chile is a country with a fierce pride in their horses. These beauties seemed to belong to a nearby farm, but were free to roam as they pleased.n3xt65October in Pucatrihue, Chile averages 43°F low with a high of 51°F; layers and technical gear are essential to stay warm and dry. After playing on the beach for a while, the drizzle turned up the intensity, so even with rain-jackets and puddle-worthy boots, it was no longer enjoyable, so we piled back into the van- our tiny shelter from the storm. This temperate oceanic climate has little variation in the yearly change in temperature. Lacking a discernable dry season, it averages over 73 inches annually- that is twice the rain that Seattle receives a year! n3xt34n3xt1Perhaps the sweet A-frame waves inspired the local architecture. You’re bound to get wet surfing anyways, so Adam suited up in the rain for some reconnection in the great Pacific Ocean.n3xt5Needing nothing more than what was right in front of us, we camped on a bluff overlooking the beach break. Bright and blustery, with crisp skies and turquoise seas, we gave thanks for the dry day before us. n3xt43“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” -Isak Dinesenn3xt51The choices for conscious commerce are growing every day, and your dollar is a powerful tool. Typical neoprene is petroleum based, which requires removing these depleting reserves of fossil fuels from the Earths crust. Geoprene by Matuse is made from limestone, and is 98% water impenetrable- compared to 65% of neoprere- so it stays lighter and drier.  Vote for change in the micro and the macro.n3xt44Only a surfer knows this feeling- of traveling weightless through an embrace of blue, flying past the ever-changing face of the power held in water that has come to life for a brief instant, one that will never be repeated.

Adam’s dear friend Salman gave him “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan, which transcends the typical descriptions of surfing by non-surfers and delves deep into the long and storied life of a devotee.  The prose will captivate even a non-surfer (Emily read it too), so if you’re looking for a new novel, look no further- we give it two thumbs up.
n3xt46While Adam rode wave after wave in solitary bliss, Emily & the girls enjoyed the simple pleasures of an afternoon on the beach- writing letters in the sand and watching the wind erase them, searching the high-tide line for treasures, making warm tea in the van, folding ourselves into yogic stretches to keep the blood moving, and chasing each other avoiding the one who was ‘it’. Sierra is toddling along, but still slow, so carrying her under one arm is fastest to help her get Coco, or when she is it, we walk on our knees and go really slow.  Her proud yelps of joy are irreplaceable.

Celebrating magic in the mundane. Can you find the magic in your mundane? It is there too. It does not have to be 6,000 miles from home to tap into.
n3xt49Sierra Luna- our little ambassador of love and joy! Playing the harmonica and enthused by her own ability to make music. Emily is updating our camp-log, which we have kept since our departure in October 2012, catalogs where we’ve been each night.  Adam is surfed out, recharging for another session; Colette is no doubt within eyesight or ear-shot. We are always little more than arms distance from each other.
n3xt42n3xt53n3xt23The rains returned, and the forecast said it would be for a few days, so we found a sweet little home stay with Alice of Hostal Inalcar to post up and do a bit of computer business- managing emails, and the omnipresent work of editing and writing for the next blog.  The girls blew their warm breath on the windows, drawing worlds on top of the world. Heated by a pot-bellied stove, the rain fell outside and we were thankful to be in.
n3xt30Around sunset after yet another rainy day, we gathered around the picture window looking west over the mighty Pacific, uninterrupted some 5,300 miles until land reappears in New Zealand. The rains had just ended, and oozing in like warm honey, the suns ripening color transformed the room into a vessel of warm light, raising our vibrations with squeals of “ooh and aahs” as the rainbow illuminations disappeared as slowly as it had come.
n3xt16n3xt18n3xt17The closest supermarket, in Bahia Mansa, is a 15 minute drive away, but their pickings are slim. Asking Alice where she bought her produce- she replied she has a friend with a garden who delivers beautiful produce around locally. So she gave her a call, and the next morning came by with a beautiful selection of just harvested produce! Chard leaves as big as umbrellas, radishes with a little kick, parsley, butter lettuce and one giant spicy rococo pepper.
n3xt19Chile is a country which unfurls like a ribbon down the west coast of South America. Extending some 2,600 miles north to south, it only averages 110 miles wide. The connection of this nation to their coast is palpable- boats waiting to go out, boats in repair, boats bobbing on the westerly horizon.  Seaside family outings with local seafood on small low grills, fishing poles hanging out the back of pickup trucks. Solo drivers parked in their cars, staring westward, looking for an answer.
n3xt60Sunday was warm (for this part of Chile!) and bubbled with commerce and chatter. Local fisherman hollered to hawk their fare, the short row of restaurants each had a girl waving a menu which all offered essentially the same- fried fish & papas fritas, locos, or smoked sierra- a local fish like barracuda. People joked that our daughter was named after the fish because she has so many teeth and so little hair.
n3xt58One especially gregarious local had begun his celebrations a bit earlier than others, but was none-the-less a very welcoming and curious about us gringos in his small town.n3xt62n3xt7The native peoples of this land are the Mapuche, who represent 9% of Chile’s modern population. There are an estimated 200,000 Mapudungun speakers, and their language has been reintroduced in rural public schools in Bío-Bío, Araucanía and Los Lagos Regions. Today much of the land in this area is owned by Mapuche. It is with full hearts we give thanks to visit this powerful place.
n3xt37n3xt36Site-specific art, made with found materials. Making time to connect in meditative practice with the land, to search the high-tide line in earnest for balanced driftwood. The spiral of the nautilus shell represents expansion and growth; a symbol of infinity in sacred geometry.
n3xt39Colette wants to know what all the letters say! The sign says to “please take care of the bathrooms,” the irony was not lost on her.
n3xt41Exploring the many nooks and crannies along the coast.
n3xt3n3xt9Our bodies are capable and made to be used! We encourage our children to go further they thought they could; it is not about distance or height, but the opportunity to accomplish more than they thought possible, to know they are always supported by us, to know to ask for help if you need it.

We are all born wild (any woman who has given birth can attest to that!), and raising our children to not be ashamed of that- the joy in wildness- of wind in your hair, of driving on Ma or Pa’s’s lap down a dirt road, of making seaweed dresses at the beach, throwing rocks into rivers, trying and falling, scrapes and bruises- is our simplest and most profound joy. To be a parent, is to take the greatest trip of your life. You get the opportunity to craft a citizen of the planet, influence the future beyond yourself, to mold a child with your words and what you put before them, fill their minds with what information you present them, what memories you make with them. To process the highlights of your own youth and forge a parental path to share moments that will glimmer or create a stone in their larger foundation.  What a gift, what a challenge, what a trip.
n3xt10We found a sweet little A-frame for only $14US a day (yay, low-season!) , and finding we liked Pucatrihue so well, decided to stay for a bit. That’s the thing about overlanding- it is freedom. The freedom to come or go, to live in a van, or rent a little cottage, the freedom to remove judgement from how we ‘should’ do things and to appreciate what is possible and what can be! So for us, this is also a part of this rapidly expanding movement called ‘vanlife.’
n3xt75Taking a break from her WorldSchooling, Colette pours sister some tea. Their sweet exchange is just such a gift to watch, our hearts burst on the daily.

Also, veggie BLT sandwiches are so dang yum! Thinly slice beets with a mandolin, marinate with a teaspoon of smoked sea salt, a teaspoon soy sauce (or Braggs Amino acids should you have access to that) and 1 tbs good organic olive oil for an hour, then cook on medium-high heat until crispy and bacon-like. There is no processed veggie soy products, or fancy vegan markets, just real, whole food. Emily is the family chef, so must think outside the box to keep things interesting for our plant based diet.
n3xt84The tiny-home came with use of a row-boat as well, so when the sun came out, we dropped it in the water and took it for a row.
n3xt79Our handsome captain at the helm.
n3xt82Thanks to Raen for the glasses, and to Bridge and Burn for the top!
n3xt80It can be both one of the greatest challenges to have kids climbing on you when you need to focus, and also the greatest reward that we can spend our days with our kids.
n3xt76We are used to being the only vegetarians in a fishing village. Emily prepares +90% of our meals- maintaining food integrity for our family is something Emily happily invests a lot of time in. Before we left, we were a bit concerned it’d be hard to eat as well as we did in California. Coming from Los Angeles, you can find almost any global ingredient or pre-made product- dried Aleppo peppers, atemoya, 17 types of edible flowers, or Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Egyptian Chamomile Blossom Matured Maple Syrup- all within arms reach.   So the ease and convenience of such products are not available, but whole, real foods are (as well as processed over-sugared, over-salted crap that we steer clear of).

The thing about food is that people everywhere eat!  There is always something in our fridge or panty, and usually a pretty tasty and colorful assortment. Grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are easy to find in every village or city we have been to. Taking some time each week to create a fridge full of easy to grab items that set us up for good choices, is a great investment of not so much time. This is usually 1) a green herby sauce- like pesto, but sometimes chimmichuri or gremolata 2) a nut butter (depending on what is available at the fairest price), 3) hot sauce for the adults, as we can no longer make the main food spiced as we please, 4) a quick protein- hummus or sometimes egg salad, 5) salad dressing for the week.

When at all possible we shop direct at small farms, farmers markets, or roadside stands. Adam is now used to hitting the brakes when Emily squeals “stop!“ as we pass such delights. We usually find a verduleria (green grocer) and stock up there on all our fruit and veg. We go through a lot in a week, as Emily prepares produce heavy food. If we are in a bigger town, there is usually a natural health foods store, where we stock up on sundries like tahini, miso, nori, and organic dried legumes. Last stop is the regular grocery store, to fill in the blanks. In many places that is the only option, so Emily has become well versed in making the best with what’s available.

We have wild harvested calafate berries in Patagonia, coconuts and bananas from Mexico to Ecuador, Pan de Indio in Tierra del Fuego, miners lettuce from canyon cracks, blackberries everywhere in Chile in summer, apples and pears in fall, morels and dandelion in spring and Adam has fished countless rivers and streams along the way. From a hand full of farms, we’ve pulled our own veggies and plucked our own berries, thanking the farmers for their noble work. Giving place to where our food comes from, explaining the cycle to our girls is very important. So much of the global economy is food based & in making decisions with our pesos, we can vote for sustainable choices.

And here are some sweet potato chili fries to balance out all that granola.
n3xt78n3xt86n3xt87n3xt14In our few weeks in the area, this fickle right-hander broke only one afternoon- so Adam of course took the opportunity and slid into the lineup of one.
n3xt54The weather was set to be clear for the day, so we rose early, packed a picnic, and set off to Bahia Mansa just a few km away to find an off-season way to Caleta Condor- a cove whose beauty everyone we met agreed upon.
n3xt26 The only way to Caleta Condor is by 2.5 hour boat ride. In high season, there is a charter boat that runs regularly, but in off-season it’s closed. We found a fisherman down at the dock that was heading out. Being low season, we were stoked to find someone heading down for the day! His accent was so thick it was nearly impossible to understand what he was saying through his mumbled words that exited from the side of his mouth in tight knots. Imagine the thick drawl of a Maine fisherman, then apply that to Spanish… yep it was about as impossible to understand as that. Every time I asked him a question it was met with a hand wave to get on the boat and turning his head to prepare for departure replying in haste. So we got on the boat for a day-long adventure!
n3xt89Layered up in as much waterproof gear as we had, we set off into the great unknown!
n3xt91 The technical gear came in handy, as the sea-spray was intense!
n3xt90 Then, as we thought we were arriving, the motor went out. So the small boat that was in front of us was launched and this poor guy was sent to tow us away from the rocks and into the entrance to the hidden bay. It was a stressful few minutes as we drifted closer to the rocks, and our poor amigo rowed furiously.
n3xt92 Our captain finally got the motor going again, and all in the boat cheered in celebration!
n3xt94 They taxied us up to the beach, and we talked for a minute and asked what time they would be back to pick us up, to which they replied no, they were not leaving for a week. UM… what? NO, I asked at port and they said yes 2.5 hours there and 2.5 hours back. We waxed semantics for a bit, but essentially they pointed up to a house on a hill and said there was a guy with food and shelter.
n3xt97 When something seems intense, we look to frame it in another way, focusing on the positive side, giving thanks for what parts we do like, and looking for other solutions if there is something that needs to be shifted. And sometimes you look like this. Only four extra diapers for Sierra, enough food for lunch and a few snacks, nowhere to sleep, no blankets.  Reframing a crappy situation isn’t always so easy!n3xt98 THIS is the famed beach of Caleta Condor whose beauty every Chilean we met agreed upon. The white sand is not made from coral, but from quartz crystals! Known as the stone of harmony, it balances energies and gives clarity. It was surely just the medicine we needed to recharge after the draining and stressful reality of getting ourselves stranded in the actual middle of nowhere. There are surely worse places to be stranded, can we agree?
n3xt99 Kids have power in so many ways, and the brightest is their joy. Stranded? No worries Mama, let’s dig in the sand, you’ll feel better soon. Protected from the wind, it was warm enough to kick off our shoes.
n3xt102 n3xt103 n3xt104n3xt105 We ate our picnic on the beach, and hiked around exploring for a few hours. The house on the hill was locked up, and as the sun dropped towards the horizon we saw the silhouette of a man followed by a dog, so we headed up in hopes to find some shelter for the night. We had a tent in the van and everything we would need to post up happily- that is IF we had come expecting an overnight adventure…
n3xt107Don Florentine has lived in the remote Caleta Condor, Chile for 30 years running a small hostel out of his home. After we were stranded on the beach with no return boat back, he invited us in and baked us homemade bread- which is all he knew how to make because his wife was out of town visiting family. Florentine stoked the wood burning stove and Emily did the cooking for our modest dinner and breakfast, of which we were very thankful to have.
n3xt108 We became fast friends and polished off a bottle of rum as we watched the sunset, and Adam gave him his first ever joint! n3xt109Via short-wave radio, Don Florencio helped us arrange a ride back to Bahia Mansa- with the same folks who had brought us on a one way ticket to paradise.
n3xt100 As there is no gas station close by, they would have to use the last of their gas to motor the 2.5 hours back, then drive an hour to Osorno to the closest gas station to fill up their barrel, then drive back, spend the night, then motor back out the following day- their agreeing to go back a week early came with a heavy price tag.n3xt110 Back on land, the hiccups continued in the form of a nail in the tire. (When it rains it pours?)  This tire plug kit is a great solution that is heavy enough to withstand constant heavy load and diverse terrains. Our Goal Zero Sherpa 100 powered our portable air compressor; Adam used the river to check for leaks and soon enough we were ready to roll onto new pastures!
n3xt67Running in a field of rapeseed flowers, which produces canola oil and is typically genetically modified. All through Chile there feels this rushing tide to be ‘modern’ and mimick the Standard American Diet. The mega grocery stores push rows of dairy and meat, processed ‘convenience’ foods and gmo fruit and veg. With an acronym of SAD, childhood obesity rates through the roof, diabetes soaring, and depression unstoppable, why would a nation try to recreate that?  Trust us Chile, don’t follow suit! Run away, run!n3xt69We departed the coast, past typical farm houses, and across all 120 miles of Chile back to the border of Argentina.n3xt68At Puyehue National Park in Chile, on the western slopes of the Andes, we used our CONAF family pass- which was CLP$35,000 (about $55US) and valid for a year after it was purchased. Excluding Rapa Nui & Torres del Paine, it gives access to 32 National Parks, 47 National Reserves, and 13 Natural Monuments. Well worth the price of entry!
n3xt113 n3xt114n3xt112At the border we processed out of Chile- first the aduana (customs) office for us, then the separate customs for the van- then into Argentina- one office for us, one for the van- then we were back in the Andes of Argentina once again. On the northern shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, we found a small camp near the Rio Huemul. Free camping for the win!
n3xt122Colette wanted to do some sketches before she choose which she would like to make into her jack-o-lantern (the final choice was far-right, middle row). She drew her favorite design on the pumpkin, then Papa helped carve it.
n3xt135With a little tea light inside, the girls were in awe! Colette wanted to keep her ‘new best friend’ well past the point he had started to turn and smell a bit funky, and cried powerfully when we had to throw him away.
n3xt136“But I’m a kitty!” This precocious creature used her washable markers to self-adorn when both parents were out of sight. Oh, the things kids do!
n3xt11 Have we told you how much we love our pressure cooker? Until we really got high in the Andes in Peru we really had no idea how life-changing this magic device could be.
1. Artichokes in 12 minutes instead of 45? Heck yes! Reduce the time it takes to make a meal! Of key importance after a long day on the road.
2. Not only does using a pressure cooker save time, but also precious fuel. This stretches our tank, reducing the frequency of the headache associated with finding a place to refuel our propane tank. Even if there’s no headache envolved in refilling a tank, reducing your usage of non-renewable resources is important!
3. Reduces interior moisture from cooking- great in cold places where condensation collects keeping you colder.
4. The van (or home) stays cooler with reduced cooking times- especially helpful in warm environs.
5. Food retains more nutrients, as the longer foods are cooked, the more they lose nutrients.
6. You’ll probably eat healthier. Less oil is required for cooking, food retains moisture and foods that take a long time to cook are now easier to access- beans, legumes, pumpkins and root veggies are about to step up.
Even if you are not on the road, get yourself a pressure cooker, it’s not just for grandma (but she did know what’s up!).
n3xt137This little toddler is expanding her appetite, and the pressure cooked foods- pumpkin, squash, potatoes, beans and lentils- have her healthy and happy.
n3xt123Colette and Sierra are reticent to dive into the savory oatmeal, but Emily & Adam love it! Toasted sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, a row of nooch (nutritional yeast), garlic greens and hot sauce atop slow cooked oats with a drizzle of sesame oil and a pinch of sea salt. Don’t knock it before you try it!
n3xt116Earth is comprised of 70% water. Only 2.5% of that water is freshwater, and .065% is drinkable. What a precious resource!
n3xt118Early one clear morning we set off to find “Old Vinegar Canyon” which Adam had located on an old rock climbing page that indicated there were bolted routes. So we packed up lunch and snacks, some hot water for mate, the kids and our climbing gear for a day spent in the bosom of sweet Mother Nature.
n3xt117 After meandering in the thick forested woods for several hours without locating the canyon, we returned to camp for the day, instead walking to the river later for some rock therapy of a different sort- building stone houses, throwing rocks and stacking cairns.
n3xt119The next day, we started our hike by hiking away from where we wanted to go, so we could gain enough distance to visually locate the canyon. Sometimes you have to go backwards before you can go forwards! We located for Old Vinegar Canyon and hiked up, up, up and into the nearly 45° angled canyon sloping down from the heaving rocky bluffs.
n3xt124Mind, body & spirit –of both parents & children- are all better for forging a relationship with the natural world. A connection with the outdoors just feels good!n3xt125Of course, there are the mountains (pun intended) of scientific research that show rates of childhood obesity, ADHD, and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have skyrocketed as kids time outdoors has decreased in the past decades. Free time and free play in the outdoors aids an increased life-span, greater well-being, fewer symptoms of depression, lower rates of smoking and substance misuse but also an increased ability to function better at work and home. Sunlight provides vitamin D that helps make healthy bones, and protects against heart disease and diabetes. Being outdoors improves distance vision and lowers rates of nearsightedness, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Environmental education fosters creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual development. Green plants & vistas reduce stress and increase attention span. Even ‘risky’ outdoor play encourages creativity, social skills and resilience.

The importance is measurable in scientific terms, but more than the world of graphs and charts, is smiles and deep peace. Of connectedness and understanding of interconnectedness. We offer the opportunity to see the natural world, in heat and cold, with thin dry air and in humid lowlands, as playground and school ground, for the brutality and beauty it offers, for the peace it provides and curiosity it inspires.n3xt131 n3xt127 Party of one… going up!
n3xt128 Mate is THE official drink of Argentina- as well as widely consumed in Uruguay, Paraguay, many areas of Chile, and southern Brazil. It is said to have the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate.”  It is packed with a high concentration of vitamins and minerals- 15 amino acids, vitamins A, B 1, 2, 3, and 5, C, E, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, selenium and potassium. The energetic properties in mate is a compound called mateine- different from caffeine- and produces a smooth increase in alertness, gives no jitters, and doesn’t interfere with sleep. The taste- somewhere between grass and green tea- will grow on you so give it a go!
n3xt130Only a few routes were climbed before the wild winds showed their Patagonian fury. More mate to warm our bones was sipped before we enjoyed the much easier climb downhill to camp. Sierra hitchhiking in the Ergo, as her land legs aren’t that sturdy yet!
n3xt126The area we were camped at in Nahuel Huapi National Park fires were not allowed- as there are all stages of tree life around in abundance- so we drove a few short miles to another site that is open year round, but only charges in high season- yet another reason to enjoy shoulder season. With plenty of dry wood gathered at our previous nights camp, Adam lit a fire and we stared peacefully at our overlander tv.
n3xt140Grandmother tree graciously providing fuel for our fire, sacred fire bringing light and warmth, sacred water lapping gently at the pebbled shores, intergalactic powers listening to our voices intermingling beneath the galaxies both near and far.
n3xt139The deep, clear waters of Rio Limay carry nearly 250,000 cubic feet per second (!), draining from the eastern end of Lago Nahuel Huapi. As the Andes fall eastward, the ecosystem changes from thick forest to arid steppe. It was amazing to see the landscapes change so dramatically in half an hour.  The gift of water is well appreciated in this area just north of Bariloche that is typically 10-20 degrees warmer and usually not raining- easy to see why it is popular for fly-fishing, rafting and visual feasting alike.
n3xt143The only way to get to Villa Llanquin with your vehicle is the locally run ferry which is free!
n3xt145n3xt159A few farms (mostly goats in these arid parts) and houses dot the other side, but the reason we came was for the rock climbing. n3xt156 The morning proved as reliable as all said it would be- warm and dry and we happily walked a short distance to the very identifiable, sweet little bump of rock called Piedras Rojas which has 37 bolted sport climbing route ranging from 4C to 8A+. YEW!
n3xt146 Colette got up on some of the lower sections.
n3xt150 Some local Bariloche climbers got up a bit higher.
n3xt154The community of folks that climbing creates is just such good vibes all around. Theres no feelings of judgement if you aren’t that good, or what your gear looks like- in fact- the opposite rings true- the more busted the more regarded you may be by virtue of having spent more time on the rock.
n3xt153A dose of tiny house realness: lunch dishes drying , half-eaten apples, kids in everything, and computer at work.
n3xt167Observational learning at work! After a day at the crag, little Sierra Luna is trying to climb too!
n3xt162 We relocated the van for our next night in Villa Llanquin, right next to a little meandering stream. Adam & I both remarked that it would surely be dry by summer, but in the early spring it was a gift to have!
n3xt161Day two at Piedras Rojas- up at at ’em early climbing in the shade. The heat fills in quickly, especially if the sun is on you- so we moved around a bit to stay in the shade.n3xt169 n3xt171Traditional education provides a great service for many, but for now, we are living a different kind of learning path that diverges from the antiquated industrialized learning institution. Education is very important to Adam and I; we are life learners, searching to absorb all we can from these rich experiences we are sharing as a family. For us, there is not a limitation of four walls that dictate a time to ‘sit and learn’- that mentality is so narrow, and the world is­ so wide!

Adam and I had radically different experiences in school but we both agree that the teachers we had and the support available to us in those experiences were crucial to our access to education. We work to foster an environment for asking questions through child-led learning, which in turn leads to many wonderful discussions that link subjects together. As Americans, we have many options for schooling our children and we will continue to “World School” the girls as we travel long-term. We spend more time outdoors, less time with screens, more time doing, less time commuting, and weaving these experiences together.
n3xt182 Late afternoons when the sun slanted in, we stripped off our chalky and dusty climbing clothes to hop in the delicious creek in front of our camp.
n3xt176The days passed easily, one slipping into the next. Warm nights under an umbrella of a trillion stars, bright mornings fueled by the excitement of climbing new routes, slow lunches in the shade, and still more climbing until the late sunset at nearly 8:30 pm!

Atop  a spire, shirtless freedom was a liberating reward for making the ascent.
n3xt180Colette created a system: white dust was “her magic” and red dust was “Sierra’s magic.” She would bend ceremoniously low, using two hands to gracefully cup the silt, then like an exploding firework jump upward and toss magic in the air. “See Daddy, I told you I was magic.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves Colette.
n3xt173 n3xt175Thank you for everything Villa Llanquin… until next time!
n3xt165