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Archive | Americas

The Last of the Kokonukos

Kokonukos is a mountain range with few trails and few people have summited its highest peaks. Here, the chronicling of how we follow an aging kokonukos guide into the clouds,across a mossy carpet, to the top of the range’s highest volcano, Pan de Azúcar.

The Mighty, Mighty Páramo

Today, you hear more about Colombia’s páramos. The altitude and exposure to extreme swings in temperature and weather make páramos something like enormous islands, floating among seas of tropical jungles. Survival under extreme conditions have resulted in a population of plants finely tuned to shielding high levels of UV rays, trapping and managing water, resisting wind and freezing temperatures.

Stand and Deliver: the Nasa Struggle for Autonomy

The FARC have since left Jambaló and the country’s recent ceasefire has brought peace, but the conflict has continually held Jambaló back in rural development: only five of its 35 villages (veredas) have access to potable water, there is but one paved road in the entire municipality, and over 1,000 families still lack access to fertile crop-growing land.

An Arhuaco Solution to Man’s Disequilibrium

The bees try really hard to protect their hive and their honey, and maybe that is part of why Osvaldo identifies the activity as theft. For him, it would be the same with cows, sheep, silk worms or oysters. We are the species specialized in taking. Over a lifetime, we take much more than we give, and though we are capable of giving, we rarely do.

El viaje de la Lucía: el cuento de otro nacimiento

Sin casa de nuevo, estábamos en un ferry cruzando el estrecho de Gibraltar. 10 kilómetros de océano, separando el norte del sur. Nuestro camino por Etiopía, nos trajo nuestra primera hija, y cuando tomamos el vuelo de salida nos metimos en una odisea que no sabíamos que terminaría con otra hija nacida en otro país.

First Hike: Lost in the Andes

I can still remember leaving the trail. It was a worn, dusty path that we had followed from a small lake tucked back in the evergreen forest of the Southern Andes. Ahead of me, an austere landscape of volcanic upheaval, a sea of basalt stacked against a steep shoulder of Volcano Casablanca. The skies were as clear as my 26-year-old mind, and although we couldn’t see the top of the volcano, its geographic position was predictable if not downright obvious. If this is the volcano, all paths lead to the crater, or so went the logic in my head.

You’ll Get to the Top and Remember James Garrett

Holed up in a traditional dance club, Garrett was immersed in Ethiopian dancing, shaking his shoulders and jumping up and down, the energy levels of this 63 year old climber defied nature. The next day, Garrett flew solo to Namibia, roped a random German guy into helping with belays, made the long trip out to the Spitzkoppe and put up a route. How many sexagenarians are doing this with their time, resources and abilities? Nobody I know is like James Garrett.

The Andes Backcountry: How Far will You Go?

If you are willing to hike an extra 20-30 minutes through the snow along rocky ridges, you’ll probably be the only person on the mountain. If you’re willing to hike an extra one or two hours, you will definitely be alone. How far will you go to Ski Backcountry?

Patagonia’s Last Pioneer

Javier was the last of a special breed of Patagón. He was as much a cowboy as a tour guide, he was as much a tropero, (local parlance for rancher) as he was a marketing director. And finally he was a pioneer, not in the “covered wagon” sense, but in the “break ground, sink-your-roots homesteader” sense.

How Kayaking Legend Josh Lowry went down 100 Chilean Rivers in order to save the Puelo

Josh Lowry has gone down nearly every significant river in Chile and Argentina on his kayak and rafts. Now the Kayaking Legend has turned his efforts towards saving the pristine Puelo River which slices through the Patagonia, reaching the Pacific Ocean. I spent a week with the captain himself and you’ll see why I’d do it again.

Tayrona: The Freedom to Travel

Have you see the Lonely Planet guidebook for Colombia lately? For a country twice the size of Texas, the two hundred and something pages do not begin to represent the true tourist potential of this country. Still considered one of twenty most dangerous places in the world, the coverage given to Colombia by the ubiquitous […]

Matacanes & the Leap of Faith

I can’t see the bottom of the black hole called the “Confidence Jump”, but I know if I throw myself into the black abyss I might come out on the other side. At least that’s what Campana, my guide, tells me. After all, he brought me to this juncture where a beautifully sculpted limestone slot […]

Surfing in Mexico with the Queen of La Saladita

Until recently, I lived in San Antonio, and whenever I looked out my window I saw one of two things: buildings or live oak. And neither is very conducive to surfing. When I wanted to learn to surf, I instantly realized that I live in the wrong place, two hundred miles from any ocean and more […]

Los heroes del Route 66: cómo el camino mítico me llevó a Moriarty, NM

Tuve que continuar dos millas más por la carretera nacional I-40 antes de poder dar la vuelta hacia atrás. A la salida Wagon Wheel, regresé al café que había visto ubicado a lado de la carretera. Creía que era el pueblucho Cline’s Corner, donde el 285 se cruce con esta carretera I-40. Rápidamente, me di […]