|Ottawa 45 degree North.|
Ushuaia 54 degrees South.
Today marks the 4-week countdown: we will be on our way to Parque Nacional de Huascarán via Lima. It will be the first stop along an epic adventure that will see us travel great distances (from 45 N to 54 S) to explore some of South America's stunning landscapes.
We've spent most of 2010 preparing: backcountry camping, weight-bearing hiking, equipment buying and evaluating, vaccinations, reading guidebooks and online about possible destinations, getting advice from people we know, studying Spanish, finding someone to live at our house for 3 months (thanks Carolyn!). By itself, an uncommon focus.
We will trek in the tropical parts of the Andes (Huascarán lies at latitude: 9 degrees South) at the very beginning of the rainy season and experience the subpolar oceanic climate of Ushuaia where temperatures average 1°C in the coldest month, and 9°C in the warmest month. We will walk through arable mountains and the highest mountain ranges in the tropics, visit Colca canyon which at 4,160m (!) is twice as deep as Grand Canyon and meander around the driest place on earth. Most of these 3 months we expect to be at altitude.
Naturally, we also follow the news from our chosen destinations: from the major flooding during the last rainy season destroying access to Machu Picchu, to the devastating magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile, to the joyful news of gay marriage becoming legal in Argentina, to the unexpected discovery of 33 miners alive after being trapped underground and now awaiting a lengthy rescue. There is such a sense of resiliency and tenacity.
With the final preparations underway for our departure, I am feeling excitement mixing with a sense of almost dread. That pit of the stomach feeling in the end is exhilarating: with this journey we are embarking on an entirely different way of being. An adventure.