Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the rest of the story. or.... the end. or.... the beginning.

I'm not sure if anyone still looks at this blog, its been several years since its been active but I get messages every once in a while so I thought an update was in order:

On July 18th, 2009 I married the love of my life - a wonderful man that I met by chance in a deserted campground in Torres del Paine National Park. We said our vows to each other beneath the mountains just outside of Bozeman, Montana surrounded and supported by our closest friends and family. I am so incredibly lucky not only to have met Marcus when and where I did, but to get to spend an entire lifetime by his side. I can only imagine the adventures that lie ahead for us...

Crossing the Straits of Magellan May 2006 - Day 3 of the rest of our lives

One joyful day July 2009

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Chau Chile

I'm writing the last entry of this blog from the kitchen table in my dad's house... Having safely landed back in california a couple days ago, I'm still reeling from my trip down south, and the last 8 months. I'll spare you from the headtrip and just say the 2 weeks i spent in Patagonia were the most incredible 14 consecutive days of my life. Punto. It was the most fitting and marvelous way to close out my time there.

I arrived south with a vague idea of plans and ended up going from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, Chile and then did the famous W in Torres del Paine solo in 4 days which was perhaps the most physically and mentally challenging thing i've ever done. I didnt see a single person for three days which was, in itself, a pretty wild sensation, especially in such a magical place. The park was just gorgeous, making its transition into winter with snow in the higher elevations, the moon out almost all day, and the sun starting its descent at 3 in the afternoon. My water was freezing in my tent every night and the one time i set my camera down on a rock away from my body heat the battery immediately died. hmmm. A bit chilly there. But heartbreakingly beautiful.

colors on rio grey, torres del paine

tree. patagonia elements style.

the cuernos, the torres, and paine grande tower over lago pehoe.

water spout on lago sarmiento. the wind was blowing so hard it would create perfect little tornados on the water surface. wild.

After my hardest day (9.5 hours of hiking in a day with only 8 hours of light) i arrived into Campamento Chileno at the base of Las Torres, the namesake of the park, surprised to see there was another tent set up. As i'm patching my wind ravaged rain fly, a young guy comes bounding up to me. Surprise of all surprises the one person i see in the winter at the end of the world happens to not only be from california but grew up in my hometown!!, went to college in maine while i was in new hampshire, and guided climbing trips in jackson the last couple of summers. We became instant adventure buddies and the next morning scrambled in the dark up to the Torres to watch first light set them on fire.

just over the ridge!

brrr! amanecer las torres del paine

After a day of rest back in Puerto Natales, I convinced Marcus (my new best friend) to continue the journey and we jumped on a bus to Ushuaia Argentina (check that puppy on the map!). We ferried across the Straights of Magellen, explored islands on the Beagle Channel, tramped through the snow in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, made friends with some incredible Argentines, and just shook our heads at the magical places we found ourselves in.

Seno Ultima Esperanza, Last Hope Sound. You can see the mountains rise right up out of the sea!

Ushuaia, Marcus, and the Beagle Channel

Happy in a snowy Tierra del Fuego

I was back in Santiago in time to run back to my house and try to pack up my vida chilena, say some tearful goodbyes over a couple glasses of farewell chilean wine, get 3 hours of sleep, and make it to the airport again to head to the states.

What a whirlwind it's been... all of it.
Too much even for words.
Thanks for sharing it with me.

un abrazo fuerte
and much love,

sunrise on the move. tierra del fuego, argentina

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

magnetic south

when i decided that i was in fact going to return to the motherland and put the unfolding of my southamerican life on pause, i knew i couldnt leave without spending some time in patagonia. I´ve been completely fascinated by the extremity of it for years... the intense beauty, the neccesity of adventure and the almost unbelievable landscapes that i, to this point, experienced only second-hand through photographs and legendary stories.

i bought my ticket to the furthest south in chile i could get... Punta Arenas "the edge of the earth" and am making my way north right now. I´m hoping to spend the next two weeks exploring around. First to the cuernos and guanacos of Torres del Paine for 4 or 5 days then hopping over to El Chalten Argentina to visit Fitz Roy (from the groundlevel) and see the Perito Moreno glacier. I´m spending tomorrow in town collecting all of the gear, maps, fuel and food ill need for the next week or so. Im solo at this point, thinking maybe ill meet some interesting travel companions along the way, which usually happens, but if not thats okay too.

So far? Its COOOLD!! But beautiful. On the bus ride from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales today the highway ran along the water for a while and it really did look like the end of the world, the ocean came right up to meet the golden windswept land. No waves or anything, it just looked convex as if the water was about to spill over if not for some unseen force holding it all together.

So ill be gone from the blog for a while but in the meantime thought I´d leave you with some photos of what I might be seeing along the way...

the cuernos, torres del paine


puma! (she doesnt look hungry does she?)

fitz roy peaks at first light

Friday, May 12, 2006


(picture me doing my happy dance over here)
yay! thanks guys for all your good vibes, thoughts, forces, wills... they worked!

I called TPL this morning to accept the job offer they made me earlier this week and I am very very excited. very very.

Things are happening quickly here. My last day at NESsT was yesterday and my coworkers took me out for sushi and beer and a little goodbye party where they gifted me really nice polypro long underwear from Lippi (a chilean mountaineering company) for my trip down south and mixes of chilean music to remind me of my time here. very sweet.

i leave this afternoon to valparaiso with some friends to say goodbye to the pacific and tell her ill see her soon up north. were having a despedida at my house on sunday and then will be shipping myself to the land of wind and ice for the next couple weeks. Back into the life of a hurricane.

It feels really good though. We were sitting in this smokey bar last night, eyes burning, in a city of 7 million bodies where the air pollution rating is so dangerously high that people are warned to stay indoors...

My nesst friends (very much international women and men of mystery) kept asking me if people spoke in a southern accent where i was going or if i would ride a horse to work, did i know anybody that actually lived there? where was it again? in the midwest? montana?

i just smiled and nodded thinking how nice it will be to breathe deeply again. in so many ways.

Monday, May 08, 2006

¡corre a las montañas!

Well as you can tell from my last posting, things were getting a bit nutty here in the city last week. I realized all of a sudden that my mind was spinning years beyond the here and now and over things I couldn’t control, making me restless, uncertain and unhappy. Not good. Something needed to be done. I needed some perspective.

And I knew exactly where to find it.

Sunday morning I bundled in my winter gear and set out from the house at 6:30 in total darkness, starting my day as most partiers in my neighborhood were ending theirs. I met my always-dependable adventure buddy Joe downtown and we made our way to Santiago’s bus terminal. Joe himself was just pulling out of party mode so we got him some empanadas and us some bus tickets for the first leg of a good journey. 10 minutes later we were on a bus headed for the Andes and I was breathing easier. Staring out the window, watching city turn to space, fields turn to vineyards, altiplano turn to rugged jagged peaks. God, I love moving. I love motion.

Our destination was Laguna del Inca, a lake sitting at the base of three beautiful peaks called Tres Hermanos and the famous ski haven, Portillo. We hiked around, got dirty, climbed rocks, laughed, he took pictures of backcountry ski lines for the winter, I took a nap in the sun over the shining green lake. Perfect.

The winding road about halfway up the pass. Every curva has a number... Curva 28, Curva 31. I think its so they can easily find trucks that fall over the edge. Really.

Portillo. Nunca cerrado.

And look who I found in the ski lodge! A photo of the US Ski Team circa 98-99. Check out the second row, 4 in from the left side. My very own Megan Ganong! What a badass you are! Nice headband too, hotstuff.

Laguna del Inca y Los Tres Hermanos

Some perspective. Look for Joe in the red jacket on the rock outcropping on the left. We people are verrrry little in this world.

A little sun nap


Because we were on the Argentine border, the customs police were really strict about which buses could carry whom from where so we had to hitchhike down. We weren’t having too much luck, the sun was starting to make long shadows over the gigantic peaks and we were getting cold. Finally, a rickety old converted bus stopped, we jumped in and asked where they were headed. “Down” they said. “Great” we said. I look up and realize we hitched a ride with a vanload full of construction workers, still wearing their orange jerseys and blue hard hats. Too funny. They were pretty entertaining with their dirty jokes and funny nicknames for each other (granny, little biscuit, fat birdy). I was glad Joe was male and we made it down in one piece.

A couple hours later we were back in Santiago and I was home in time to collapse in bed. Exhausted and happy from a day in the mountains.

Friday, May 05, 2006

madness and monkeybars

so i really suck at this waiting game.
like really bad.

and i hate the feeling of knowing that what stands between me and something i want so much is a decision to that is out of my hands. I guess ive been a bit spoiled to this point by feeling like im actually able to control my own destiny.

a lot of luck and some fierce determination (which i'm pretty sure is genetic) has gotten me in and out of pretty incredible situations. i've always felt like if i wanted something i could make it happen. because when i really wanted it, i would see it and everything else would fall away, everything else would get quiet. eyes on the prize style.

and im really good at holding on. you know those contests in elementary school when your friends would hang from the monkey bars and the last to drop to the sand, the one who could stand the burning of their shoulders pulling out of their body, would win? i was good at that game.

but now, sitting on my hands here i feel helpless. ugh. i hate being helpless. I check my email, pace around the house, feel like puking, all very pretty... and i feel like im losing my sanity. or the small amount i had to begin with. but it will be over soon. somehow i run my mind into total exhaustion spinning through 'what if' scenarios and fall asleep and then its morning and im one day closer to finding out. im most scared that it will be bad news, that this great 'what if' that i now want more than anything else wont be mine at the end of it all.

of course something else will come along if it isnt going to be mine... something else always does. but darn it if i could only bring this other girl out to the playground and challenge her to the monkey bar contest. i could kick some real butt then.

remind me why we dont do that in grown-up world again?

Saturday, April 29, 2006


well this is kind of weird to be writing about the states when im supposed to be in chile but also kind of cool. Like im playing hookie or something... I just got back on wednesday from my TPL interview weekend in Bozeman, MT. Home of Montana State University, the infamous rockin' R bar and the wild and beautiful jordan schmidt.

It was such a shock when i passed through customs in Atlanta at 630 in the morning on saturday. People yelling and pushing and walking around with 94 ounce starbucks coffees and US weekly magazines... i almost scrambled back to the plane. But as I moved further west, it started to make more sense to me and when i had to dodge a policewoman on a mountain bike in the SLC airport I knew i'd be ok. When i flew over the tetons and saw little victor, idaho from the plane i knew i'd be more than ok.

My friend scott came up from salt lake and we had a lot of fun running around town, up snowy mountains, and down springtime canyons. It was also really nice to have a good friend there to get a hug from when i was freaking out or really excited... it was a very - uh - intense weekend. I ended up having 2 days of interviews where i just got grilled, and i grilled back as best i could. There were times when i thought i totally shot myself in the foot and when i knew i absolutely just killed it. I want this job so bad its almost maddening but it's out of my hands and i should find out on tuesday or wednesday. It looks like there are 2 candidates still standing... me and my "phantom contender" so i have to ask for all of you to send some good vibes towards seattle and bozeman for the next couple of days. Preferably they include "hirekellyhirekelly" or something similiar.

I figure with forces coming from thailand, new zealand, korea, south africa, boston, dc, tahoe, san diego, london, sacramento, richmond, burlington, denver, jackson, LA, salt lake,new york, alta, japan, and everywhere else my favorite people are scattered they'd have to fight pretty hard to get a "no" out in my direction. But you never know, right?. Things always happen for a reason i just hope this time they're the reasons I'm thinking of.

Ahhh! the suspense is killing me.

cross those fingers please....

un abrazo. k.