We’re honored to be a part of a three month long, beach themed Pop-Up shop hosted by the good folks at Alite Designs. We have a selection of goods from our new collection for sale along with a bunch of rad products from other local makers. The shop is open Thursday-Sunday from 11-7 and is located at 3629 Taraval Street in San Francisco. Swing by and check it out!
After learning that our desired route was no longer an option, we got out the map and figured out what to do next. Any way we went, we were looking at about 700 miles of driving to get to our next stop which was only about 20 miles away. The reason we came here was because of how undeveloped, rugged and untouched it was. As frustrated as we were, this was all part of the adventure. At this point, the rain was heavy and hadn’t stopped for about a day. The first option on our map saved us about an hour but the road looked like a pretty unused service road so we weren’t sure what we were going to find. An hour down the road we experienced an all too familiar situation, the road had completely flooded and was impassable. So again, we had to turn around and revise our route.
The next two days weren’t much to write home about. We backtracked into Argentina and drove the Panamerican Highway south until we were east of Coyhaique, cutting into Chile and finally back onto Route 7 again. After stocking up on supplies, we continued south and ended up spending the night on a small Llama farm outside of Cerro Castillo. Before the sun disappeared we threw back some beers and got a much needed game of frisbee in.
The next morning we packed up and continued down the road to one of the few planned stops of the trip and the one I was most excited for; Conservacion Patagonica. 15 years ago, Doug and Chris Tompkins started working on a project to protect large reserves of land from power companies in Chile. These companies proposed huge, hydroelectric dam projects throughout the Patagonia region that if passed, would completely change the natural ecosystem and landscape. Luckily, the Chilean government decided against the proposal and Chris and Doug were able to purchase a 650,000 acre reserve that was then turned into Conservacion Patagonica.
Just driving in, we already understood why this was such a sacred piece of land. The Baker River began running alongside Route 7 and followed us all the way to the park. It was easily the most beautiful stretch of road we had seen. Just imagine that turquoise blue water you see on those tropical beach screen savers but thrown under a endless backdrop of towering mountains. The sight was surreal to say the least. The road led us into a huge valley where we were told the park headquarters were. We knew the park had just opened to the public a few weeks prior so we had a little bit of concern as to how crowded the only campground might be. After pulling into the entrance and briefly meeting Doug to ask for directions (no big deal), we were happily greeted by an almost entirely empty campground. Each spot had a small Refugio (open shelter) with a huge table and a few counters. We set up our tents, hammock and my kitchen on-the-go before indulging in another much needed game of frisbee. The campsite sat under a huge mountain that was home to the only established hiking trail in this part of the park.
The next morning we geared up and started the 14 mile loop that we had spent the previous evening staring at. We ascended up a huge mountain to reach the plateau where we weaved through small, emerald lakes and along the cliffs overlooking the whole park. I’ve never been on such a beautiful and long hike without seeing a single person. It was exhausting but I felt like I could’ve kept going on forever. The adrenaline of being across the world, overlooking an almost untouched valley with three awesome friends was unmatched.
We’re excited to announce the launch of a new campaign called Adventure Club where we will be selling a collection of products to benefit a social or environmental organization. For our first collection, we’re working with the good folks at Outdoor Endorphins, a non-profit based out of East Palo Alto that works with underserved youth to improve social and emotional well being through outdoor activities. 100% of the proceeds form the products purchased will be helping us fund a beach clean-up and surf trip with the kids. We’re running the campaign through GoFundMe so head over to the link in our profile to check out all the products, read more about Outdoor Endorphins and support a good cause!
Grab a T-Shirt and help out the campaign here!
Before beginning this post, I would like to start by saying thank you to the three friends of mine who had the balls to join me on this trip. They were forced to make “real world” sacrifices that would go against most people’s instincts. They quit their jobs, scraped together every last dollar they had and took the plunge so for that I am grateful. I can only hope they got as much out of the experience as I did.
Patagonia has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I never really knew much about it, where it was exactly or why I even wanted to go there so bad but something about it was engraved in my brain. Last year I finally decided to go for it and booked a round trip plane ticket into Santiago. All I knew was that I wanted to drive as far south as I could, making most of the trip on the Carretera Austral, also known as Route 7. I decided to try something different this trip and plan almost nothing. All I had booked was my plane ticket and a pickup truck. No itinerary, no campsites or hostels, no plans. This lack of planning was far outside my comfort zone but I figured this was the trip to test my luck.
We flew into Santiago the day after Thanksgiving, drinking the entire 22 hour flight and sleeping through our entire first day. Not the best way to start a trip but for three guys that just quit their jobs to backpack around Chile, we couldn’t help but celebrate a bit. We spent some time traveling around the cities of Santiago and Valparaiso. After drinking way too much beer and eating pounds of french fries we headed south to Pichilemu to surf and get out of the city. Pichilemu sits on the beautiful coast of Chile, reminiscent of California hundreds of years ago. It’s mostly undeveloped with rolling golden hills and never ending beaches. After two weeks of traveling around central Chile, our fourth member joined us and we headed south.
The start of Route 7 was about 1200 miles south of Santiago so we spent the first two days doing some intensive driving. We had to cross into Argentina and then Back into Chile to reach the road. To save money on taking a ferry to reach the northern point, we crossed over at Futeleufu and headed towards La Junta. As we kept driving back into Chile, the sun began setting and we started to get desperate for a camp site. As we were driving around Lago Yelcho someone spotted a small dirt road heading down to the water. We decided to give it a shot and it ended up stumbling on a enclosed beach right on the lake. Heaven. We parked the truck, unloaded our stuff and started shotgunning beers. The gods of Patagonia were looking out for us.
The next morning we packed up and headed on to finally reach Route 7. We decided to head north to Chaitén so we could say we drove the entire road. Chaitén got hit by a huge Volcano a couple years back and the town was definitely still recovering. We swung by the hot springs in Park Pumalin before heading back down to La Junta to find camp for the night. We noticed the Rio Palena on the map and decided to drive along the river and see if we could find a place to sleep. We found another small road heading down to the water and decided to stick with the theme from the night before. As we drove down we discovered another amazing, waterfront spot to pitch our tents. Another night of fishing, cheap beers and camp dinners was exactly what we wanted.
After another great night of sleep we packed up and headed west to the coast following a tip we got from a local dude about an awesome little beach town. Two hours of driving and a river crossing later, we finally got to the coast. It was completely untouched with lush mountains rolling into grass covered sand dunes. The coast was rough and rugged, much like we imagined it. Unfortunately a little too rough for our little pick-up which ended up getting stuck in the sand on our way out. With a bit of man power and a few beer boxes, we ended up getting it moving after about two hours only to reverse about five miles out onto solid ground.
Once free from the clutches of loose sand, we headed back towards Route 7 with the plan of continuing south. The funny thing about plans is that sometimes they don’t work out. When we reached the road again we were told that a huge landslide had taken out an entire chunk or Route 7 and that it was now impassable. The only options were to wait until who knows how long for the road to clear or to drive 750 miles back into Argentina and then back into Chile to reconnect with Route 7. It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong. To be continued.