Hoofin' it to Rio Grande

After a day in Tolhuin overindulging ourselves at the Panadería, testing fuels, troubleshooting the steripen, making our "energy balls" (our secret recipe full of dulce de leche, nuts, oats and dry milk), we were eager to get on the move again. It's only the second week on the road and we have already fallen into routine - this week less snow and mountains, lots more wind and cows. Since we were finally out of marshy lowlands and we started venturing on our own path, away from La Ruta 3, we cut down on mileage substantially. We have been working on our swat team tactics: staying out of sight while we split up to scout campsites, roll under fences, quickly hurdle them or attempt to squeeze through them - I have nearly gotten stuck going through, over or under is clearly the better way to go.

Lesson learned - don't attempt to go through the fence.

A few notable moments this week:
- Hot meals to cap every day of hiking

Hot food!!
 - Seeing our first Guanacos! and then seeing them everywhere...(part of our data collection project)
- A kind local man stopped his car to warn us about drinking dirty water. The water throughout the pastures was questionable, as you can imagine, however we continue to have faith in the Steripen and Chlorine Dioxide tablets. Gestation period for giardia is 1-3 weeks so we will soon know.

Here's to hopin!
 -Making it to the ocean

Look! The ocean!!
 -Beautiful sunset and yoga from a coastal cliff

First night by the ocean.

Sun setting in the opposite direction - these Lenga trees (not in bloom yet) are artful by day and totally creepy going to the bathroom in the middle of the night!
 - We came upon a herd of cows with new calves... and a couple bulls. I found myself wishing I didn't have a bright red rain jacket and Trinity discovered a supressed fear of cows (well, to be fair a fear of any large animal protecting its baby is probably wise)
- The owner of the hostal, Antionella, where we stayed in Tolhuin was en route to Rio Grande and stopped to give us a ride, she was astonished when we refused
- Walking through a desolate wasteland where wind has covered the fence line with plastic bags for miles and making a conscious note to not use plastic bags anymore
- We have been averaging about 15 miles (25km) per day and we have fewer hot spots on our feet than anticipated
- Three hungry, dirty, and smelly American girls with backpacks on stumble into a nice reastaurant full of families enjoying a nice Sunday Mother's Day meal (the waiter looked astonished to see us and then explained he had seen us hiking the day before)
- Realizing the steripen needs Lithium batteries
- Occasionally pretending we don't speak any Spanish so we don't offer up too many details about our trip
- Sarah expressed a very serious fear of running low on food, which we have cured by doubling our food for half the length this week
- At 12:15am, a 5yr old girl put make-up on me- purple cheeks and bright pink eyes. Still not sure why she was running around the hotel lobby but glad to get all dolled up just the same

We arrived in Rio Grande yesterday ahead of schedule and on another holiday!  We have now noted that it might be best to not arrive in a town on a Sunday or a holiday when everything is booked and/or closed. Our route, due to the proximity of towns in Tierra del Fuego, has led us to the coast and away from the mountains. Since we only have a year to see the continent by foot, we have decided to take a bus/ferry from San Sebastian to cross the border to Punta Arenas, Chile! If we have to skip sections along the way, we would rather spend more time in the mountains of Patagonia and forego headwinds, cowpies and speeding tour buses.

Lastly, we are saddened to announce that after many hours of research, desire, and good intentions, many pesos spent on creams and waxes, and after working through the carpal tunnel in our hands and mainly the pain on Sarah's head, her hair is ultimately still just a curly fro. Therefore, we regret to inform our audience that Sarah's hair has refused to dred. The next best option in Sarah's opinion: red. Thoughts?

Check out our new pics under our Section One: Ushuaia to Punta Arenas to see our first month on the road... they will be updated as we make our way!


  1. Don't get attached to a calf, name it Norman and take it with you. You go girls, you are doing great!

  2. I think Sarah should buzz her head. She'll look cute like Sinead O'Connor, not have to bother with it for weeks and weeks, and as it grows out over the course if the year, it will mark the passage of time on your journey!

  3. Amazing pictures, ladies! And yes, I think that red would be a lovely color on Ms. Field's head.

  4. Camping with cows, yuck. That fence doesn't look strong enough to hold back a bull. Lucky for you it wasn't electric! I say hold off on the red hair until you are out of cattle country, or keep a hat handy.

  5. Shelley & friends- You girls rock! I'm excited to follow you on your lil' walk-about through the Andes over the next year. I also think its really cool how you're taking part in some research through the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. What a great idea! Sooo good luck! Keep your head up. Keep smiling. And keep livin' the dream. Safe travels..

  6. I just enjoyed the whole slide show. Fantastic pictures!! Was that a llama crossing sign??

  7. Sounds like the adventure is starting out well. I love the updates -- keep 'em coming!

  8. Dreads are horrible!! They smell and often mold when you try to clean them. Anybody who has even had them knows about Dread Butter! Shave your head if you dont want to deal. in a year form now it will be long again. Otherwise just stop combing them and a year from now you'll have dreads. Like walking across a continent; they take time. Mos Def take a calf. The name Norman sounds great. Think of it as food insurance ;)

  9. Loving keeping up with you crazy girls as you go along! Beautiful pictures! Keep up the good work.

  10. Beautiful photos! I love the artistic/scary trees!

    If you are still having trouble with the SteriPen - when I was in Nepal I kept it in my sleeping bag overnight with an untreated bottle of water so that both were warmer by the morning. It worked better to treat them then. Maybe you figured this out already!

    Great job, so glad you are having fun!!!

  11. Thank you everyone for the comments! We eat them up!!!

  12. It really made me shiver when Sarah told me that on this last leg " she had never been that dirty/stinky". That is really saying something since she has been a non-showering, backpacking Cheley girl for lots of summers! Glad you get a hot shower every now and then!