July 16, 2019
Hola familia y compadres!!!!
BIG reveal…. we are in… Disney World. Psych!
We are chilling with the guanacos (our llama-like friends) in PATAGONIA!
As fortune told us (Tyler/Elly revealed our destination via fortune cookies) in the Atlanta airport, we boarded a plane headed south. Way south. Many hours later we landed in a crisp, cool Buenos Aires and hit the ground running with our local expert and guide, Augustine. We quickly dropped our bags at the hotel and hopped back in the bus with our favorite guide Augustine and driver, Daddio. We were given a quite comprehensive tour of Buenos Aires including the La Bombanera futbol stadium, the colorful Caminito neighborhood, and the amazing Recoleta Cemetery. After the tour, the group enjoyed our first dinner together – Argentinian pizza, a fun first Moonup complete with some super sweet puffy jackets for alumni gifts, and lovely goodnight hugs. We had an early start for this crew as we made way even further south to El Calafate. With the help of our positive and energetic LODs, Taylor and Leah, we hopped up for our 2:30 am wake up to a tremendous storm. So tremendous that it delayed our flight. Although we were quite delayed, your kids were troopers and took the extra airport time to get to know one another and hacky sack squad of Tyler, Martin, Leah, and Parker! We finally hopped on our plane and soon enough we were seeing our first aerial views of the iconic beauty that is Patagonia. We were eager to get off and see these views from the ground and meet our next guide, Juan. He greeted us with enthusiasm and sack lunches to enjoy on the road, while we got a fabulous tour of a glacial valley on the way to El Chaltén – the town that would be our home for the next 2 days. Upon arrival to the cloud covered postcard town, we laced up our hiking boots and hit the trail for a beautiful, snowy hike. The walk was much welcomed after the long travel to stretch our legs and breathe some fresh mountain air. Thanks to early sunsets, we rolled in to the hostel at dark and indulged in warm drinks and a filling dinner of Argentinian beef and flan dessert. Our Moonup was enjoyed in the cozy indoors while we watched snow fall onto the streets outside. We woke up to a fresh snow turning El Chaltén into a winter wonderland. LODs, Madden and Parker, started us off with a motivational morning huddle before embarking on another day hike. Between off season emptiness and the snow, only our footprints broke the silence on the streets. We climbed above town to unmatched views of the valley where we stood in awe of the beauty. Sierra has quickly become Miss Congeniality with her popular trail companionship and enjoyed conversations. Lunch was enjoyed on a frozen Laguna Capri. A single snowball thrown by Martin quickly escalated into a full blown snowball fight on the lake where Bo’s arm was a force of nature. Julia, Meg, and Elly built a lovely little snow woman who adorned a frisbee beret. The hacky sack crew continued to practice their skills on the frozen lake for some extreme hacky sacking. After hiking all day with our fingers crossed for some clearer skies, the clouds finally lifted upon our descent back into town. We even got a glimpse of the majestic Fitz Roy peak – the iconic Patagonia brand logo. Golden hour at a viewpoint over the valley proved to be an epic photo location where we relished in the light and filled our SD cards. We arrived back to the hotel with just enough sunlight to go enjoy walking the streets of El Chaltén where most businesses are closed due to the winter season but we managed to find some Knick knacks and additional warm layers. Everyone pitched in a couple of favorite songs to create a playlist to enjoy for our travel from El Chaltén to Puerto Natales, Chile. LODs Court and Meg got us ready to rock out and kept the group in high spirits during the long, chilly errr Chile travel day across the border. Juan suggested a couple of historic stopping points where we could stretch our legs and further our education on the area. MK has demonstrated admirable leadership throughout our whole journey. Bo enjoyed some much needed R&R and enviably slept nearly every minute of the full day journey. Upon arrival in the picturesque town of Puerto Natales, Quinlyn, Taylor, Martin, Meg, Sy, Court, and Elly went for a jog along the water watching the sun sink behind snowy peaks and pink flamingos stand in the cold water. Our cozy hostel appears to be straight out of a magazine, complete with sheep skin throws over the chairs. After a filling dinner, Court and Meg led a Moonup for the books that left us even closer with one another. The next morning we met our guides “Chapa” and “Chalo” who took us to a nearby cave for a day hike. We met up with a local, Jorge, who owned the land nearby the cave and showed us around parts of his mild 10,000 hectares of beauty that included caves, petroglyphs, epic views, and some local wildlife, notably some massive condors. This was probably everyone’s favorite excursion thus far as the weather was as beautiful and sunny as our LODs Sy and Dabney the reeny-bopper. We finished up our “rest day” hike and headed back to the town to look in local shops. We are currently preparing for our first major expedition: a 5-day backpacking trek in Torres del Paine! We are so excited to explore more of this special part of the word. So far this trip has been a BLAST! We couldn’t be more fortunate (see what we did there) to share this adventure with your wonderful children!
Adios y Paz,
Elly & Tyler
July 11, 2019
Hello Mystery Trip friends and families!
The moment we’ve all been waiting for…. the group has all arrived safely in Buenos Aires, Argentina to start their adventures in the Southern Cone! Can’t wait to hear what they’re up to next…