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17/4/2009
Patagonia 2009
Students' memories of the trip.

 

At Assembly, Nicholas M. told Senior students about his experience during February this year:

 

"...After two months, we met again.  With curious faces we got on a bus heading south to Bariloche, without knowing what awaited us high up in the mountains: fights, friendships, laughter and challenges; but above all, an effort and good memories.  We began our trip with no more than a backpack, an insulating pad and a sleeping bag; but we arrived home with stories that will stay with us for the rest of our secondary, a new mentality that altered dramatically our point of view and a group spirit that reflects and demonstrates that when all of us aim together in the same direction, anything is possible.

In the wild, and coexisting with each other, our desire to help, belong and contribute towards the group became evident.  Simple things, such as lifting papers, loading our group’s water, helping to cook or setting up tents helped enormously and made the relationship between us far easier.  It isn’t the tasks and duties which we most remember, but the nights next to the fire drinking hot chocolate, warm within our clothes, sharing ideas, thoughts and laughter.  In other words, the moments we spent together.  Later on, it was time to hop into our sleeping bags which did not necessarily mean going off to sleep, since voices and conversations, which once in a while bursted into laughter, emerged from our tents interrupting the mountain’s calmness; proving the good moments we were having as friends.  This is why I believe that in this trip my mountaineer family was born and thanks to the good atmosphere amongst us we were able to create an unforgettable Patagonia 2009.

A family that supported each other in the needed moments.  Where the singers stood out in the moments where tiredness caught up with us.  Songs that cheered the group, lifted their spirits and managed to make a last effort with entertaining rhythms that went from Disney classics to cumbias.

Perhaps our walks were endless and tiring, nevertheless, they allowed us to reach places and live unforgettable moments we would have never experienced without effort and sacrifice.  Moments such as sleeping on the edge of the summit, with nothing more than our sleeping bags and sheltered by a self made stone wall under the watch of the Cerro Tronador.  Under the stars, cuddling side by side in order to avoid the cold.  Willing to overcome, as a group, whatever weather conditions awaited us at night.  On other occasions, such as diving into Laguna Azul or Ilon, which although freezing, created one of the warmest moments within our excursion since it consisted of games and wrestling in the water.  Fun in its simplest form.

The most memorable moment was reaching the summit of El Volcánico, where after having walked eight hours uphill, we still had breath left to celebrate and appreciate what we had accomplished.  We got to the top of a mountain, we crossed from Argentina to Chile but, above all, we reached the summit as a whole with a smile on our faces since we knew we had achieved what we had proposed to do.  A trek, non-stop, from Pampa Linda to El Volcánico and back to Pampa Linda again.  Only having reached our campsite did we really realise what we had done.  Although we suffered from tiredness, blisters and painful lymph nodes we decided as a group to face the challenge of this 14 hour walk.  This made us terribly proud since we were finally able to say that we completed Patagonia 2009 “a puro pulmón y voluntad”.  Realising that positive thinking is what encourages someone to carry on.  Making us go look for our great adventure.  Testing our limits and even exceeding them, measuring yourself at least once; trying to answer the question of how far can we go.  For this, we must ignore difficulties. It is not necessarily important in life to be strong, but to feel strong.  As my group’s slogan of Patagonia says “it’s psychological”.

This journey gives us the opportunity to escape from our consumption-oriented world and a society that measures you according to how much you have.  It’s the opportunity of experiencing our first great adventure, searching for ourselves or simply living.  Christopher McCandless wrote before dying about the search of his great adventure “Happiness is only fulfilled when shared”. This is why I would like to thank my colleagues, my guides and teachers who accompanied us, for the opportunity of sharing our excursion into the wild..."

 


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Nicholas
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