Anna - Argentina Travel Story

 
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Title: Anna
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I participated in the GVI EX74 Patagonia Research and Exploration Expedition. Every day was a fantastic memory. From the week of training to the Final Asado. There was one day in particular though that stands out. We were pushed to far beyond where we thought our limits were. Our entire team had been split into the sub-teams – A, B and C. We were all assigned different locations where we were going to complete Jabalí (wildboar) transpects. My team, team C, was sent to Lago Huaka Mamui, about a 5 hour trek from our base camp. When we arrived we split into another two groups. I was put in a group with EM John Williams and staff member Michael Pollard. We plotted our GPS ponits and were off. A chilli day, but nothing to be concerned about, we made our way to the beginning of the transect. When we arrived we realised our entire transect consisted of climbing up a mountain through thick cane and forest. At first we were all very excited – bush-whacking heaven! We climbed up, grabbing onto cane, pulling ourselves up while scouting out for droppings. About 100 m up the mountain in began to rain slightly. As time went on it got heavier, so we stopped to put on our waterproofs. The highers we got, the colder it got. The winds picked up and the rain turned into snow. Still toasty warm in our water-proofs, we kept going. However, the longer we were bush-whacking, and the more we were rubbing our clothes against wet branches, the wetter we were slowly getting. Eventually our waterproofs and become so wet that we were drenched right through. The wind just kept getting stronger, while the snow kept pouring down – we were starting to get cold. About 700 m into the kilometer long transect we reached a clearing towards the top of the mountain. We looked back at everything we had climbed – there was no way we were getting down that way. Looking a tour bearing, which told us to continue up the mountain, we decided that it was time to turn back. We were colder than any of us had ever been before by that point, and it seemed impossible that we were going to find a way down. Alter searching for the best way to get down, we decided to traverse a bit until we got to the river going down the mountain and leading into the valley. It seemed like the best way to get down, but it also meant getting much, much wetter. But we had no choice, so we made our way down through the river in our already drenched clothing and water-filled boots. Alter following the rover for about an hour we finally got down to the path that World lead us back to our camp. We walked back to the camp in silence – too cold and even talk. We met the other half of our Team C, who looked equally miserable. We were ready to strip and ge tinto our sleeping bags, but unfortunately we could not do that. We had run out of food and we had to make our way back to the base camp, five hours away. We pulled ourselves together, inhaled the little bit of food that we had left, put on our 20 kg backpacks and were off. I don’t even remember tasting that meal of crackers, chocolate and tuna. All I remember is thinking that I had never been so cold in my entire life, and that I just wanted to Stara walking to warm up. The first hour of the walk was silent. We were so cold. We were speed walking with our giant backpacks to try to warm up. When we arrived at the base camp we were frozen. Blue lips, numb fingers and toes – the whole deal. But the rest of our crew, team A and B set up our tents, made us some food and helped us warm up, which we did eventually. I remember that day so vividly because that is the day I discovered what I was capable of. If you need to keep going, your body and your mind can handel so much more than you could ever imagine. You never know your limits until you are pushed to them.

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