The Erhu—The Chinese Violin

It was in Santiago South America that I was first introduced to the Erhu. Ana and I had been exploring the streets of Santiago, Santiago was not new to Ana, but was an exciting new experience for me. The architecture that dated back over a hundred years was mesmerizing, there were elements of many pre colonial countries still in existence and their buildings beautifully presented and maintained. Some had seen the brunt of earthquake damage as did many normal buildings.

Every street and every corner led to a new adventure, the streets were alive with the vibrancy of the people and culture, food stalls dotted the footpaths with their enticing aromas, street buskers added to the flamboyancy of the streets, buskers who portrayed statues, motionless until approached, street pavement artists with their beautiful paintings depicting various scenes, magicians to enthrall the crowds, and in between were street stall holders, selling a vast array of goods from decorative jewelry to shirts and sunglasses. Every street giving off a carnival atmosphere. Interposed were dancers in National Chilean costumes giving demonstrations of the National dance The Cueca.

We entered one street that was set back from the main thoroughfare, here I could hear the strains of music that did not seem to be the normal mixture of Chilean music, this music had more of a classical sound to it, or an Asian sound to it, it reminded me a little of the music I recall in Vietnam in 1970. We continued on towards the origins of this incredible music, and came across a young Chilean teenager playing a very unusual instrument, the music he made was absolutely beautiful, captivated I watched as he played this two stringed instrument and produced the most hypnotic sounds that entranced the mind.

After the young Maestro finished his music, I had questions to ask, and through my interpreter wife Ana, we found out the name of the instrument, it was a Chinese Erhu, the young player had been taught it at one of the musical academy’s in Santiago. His busking was his income and we bought one of his CD’s and congratulated him on his performance. From that moment on it became my desire to obtain an Erhu and endeavour to learn. Back in Australia through our many travels I realised that obtaining this instrument was no easy task, the music stores had never heard of the instrument, it is only now that I have learnt it is called the Chinese Violin in Western countries but still where to obtain one was still a problem.

Last week we visited Adelaide in South Australia for a few days, it was there in Chinatown that I saw my beloved Erhu, at a small stall were two young Chinese girls selling Chinese musical instruments, and they also demonstrated playing the instruments. We purchased the Erhu and also received some papers in respect to having lessons on the Erhu by the noted player Zhao Liang. Having come this far in my quest for the Erhu there was no question in not taking up lessons to learn to play this exquisite instrument, the only problem is we live about four hour away from Adelaide; however we have plans to continue with the instrument, but need to work out a lesson itinerary to accommodate travel.

I have included a video clip of the Erhu being played by a professional, however I assure my readers I have no aspirations to reach the standards of the Masters of the Erhu, they are truly the Masters. If I can make some sounds and enjoy the instrument then it has all been worthwhile. Please listen to the music and I am sure you will find the hauntingly beautiful music as captivating as we did.




Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Yackandandah/Beechworth— A Journey into Australia’s Past

We decided to take a small journey down memory lanes of my past, apart from visiting relatives, I wanted to show Ana some beautiful old country towns that I recall from my Army days.

These old towns date back to the 1800s, an era in Australia when Gold fever was rampant throughout the colony of Victoria; the two specific towns I wanted to visit again were Yackandandah and Beechworth.

For our three day visit we made our home base at Yackandandah, now where is Yackandandah you may well ask, Yackandandah is in the State of Victoria, much like a Province for my overseas readers.

Yackandandah is not far from Tangambalanga, at the foot of Murramurrangbong, and over the hills from Mudgegonga, just follow the dirt track to the intersection and turn right, there’s three cows grazing on the corner paddock of Browns pastures, you can’t miss it. Follow the creek line along and you will enter the old Gold town of Yackandandah.

This historic town has retained its old buildings and charm, I recall visiting the town over forty years ago, it was being used as a back drop for a movie at the time, I do recall having lunch in the old pub with a number of beautiful girls dressed up in period costumes, the actress was either Meryl Streep or Sigrid Thornton, I was in uniform at the time with an old Army mate, just wish we had the stamina to approach and ask for a photo with them.

Having enjoyed the afternoon in Yack, as it is commonly known as, we departed next morning for the other well know Gold mine town of Beechworth. With the changing of the seasons, the trees all through this Alpine part of the country were shedding their leaves, vivid Gold’s and Brown leaves decorated the trees and roads throughout the region, an exciting visit into Natures studio of colours.

What drew me back to Beechworth was its history, a history I never really delved into back in my more adventurous Army days. The Cemetery was my destination, a cemetery is always a good source of a town’s historical background, so we entered the hallowed grounds of Beechworth cemetery which was established in 1856 and contains the graves of many of Beechworth’s pioneers.

Alexander Roy (Dick) Harwood, Dick Harwood was an Australian film producer and the first to introduce Talkie films in Australia.

Jacob Hoffman, an American Civil War Veteran.

John Drummond, Battle of Waterloo Veteran and Pioneer of Beechworth.

James Riley, American Civil War Veteran.

The Gammon Children, seven children of George and Kate Gammon, their ages ranged from 9 weeks to two years, all died from various traumas of family life in the 19th century.

James M Storey, a Mexican War Veteran.

John Watt, shot by a bushranger.

James Ingram, known as, The Grand old Man, a very stalwart pioneer of Beechworth.

Rosetta Isaacs, Sister of Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Australian born Governor General of Australia.

Dame (Annie) Jean McNamara, long remembered for her work as an authority on Infantile paralysis, (Poliomyelitis).

Chinese Graves and Burning Towers.

The Victorian goldfields were characterised by the large numbers of Chinese miners who, along with others from Britain and Europe, came to try their luck with the gold pan and pick. Beechworth was no exception. By 1856, there were many Chinese in the district and the numbers swelled following the Buckland riots in July, 1857, when many Chinese, having been driven out of Buckland, joined their brethren at Beechworth.

The Chinese formed their own community within the town, and Chinatown was to be found along the lower Stanley Road, on the high side of where Lake Sambell is now situated. It had its own shops, Joss House and Temple. The Chinese took an active interest in town affairs and were generous donors to the appeal to build Ovens District Hospital in 1856-1857. They also formed a colourful part of the annual procession through Beechworth’s main street. The Burning Towers were built in 1857, and were used for burning prayers and meals for the dead. The towers were not used for cremation. It is interesting to note that in Northern China, it was the custom to burn paper prayers and meals at the graveside, whereas in southern China, burning Towers were used. The existence of the Beechworth Towers indicates that a large section of the Chinese community here were from southern China. The altar in front of the Burning Towers was not built until 1883-84.

Although there are thought to be about 2000 Chinese persons buried here, it was the wish of all Chinese persons to be buried in China. For this reason it was relatively common for bodies to be exhumed and sent back to China with relatives, where re-burial would take place.

Henry Ah Yett was the last Chinese person to be buried in the Chinese section of Beechworth cemetery; he died at Reid’s Creek on 31st July 1932. Mr Ah Yett was a very old and well known identity of Beechworth and district, having lived in the area for over seventy years. He is believed to have been 105 years old when he died. He came to Beechworth during the gold rush, and was a goldminer for a number of years. He later established a market garden at Reid’s Creek and had numerous customers in Beechworth and Chiltern on whom he called regularly. He was also skilled in the use of herbs for medicinal purposes. Mr Ah Yett was noted for his honesty and his geniality and kindness to children was proverbial.

We leave the Beechworth cemetery and its residents, to rest in history, making our way back to Yackandandah before driving back to Mildura. Leaving behind us an enjoyable excursion, back into the flamboyant exhilarating days of Australia’s Gold rush.


Posted by on April 21, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Ilsa de Negra

 We left early in the morning from the Santiago Bus terminal, our destination today was the Ilsa de Negra, a journey of one hour and thirty six minutes.

Isla Negra is a coastal area in El Quisco commune in central Chile some 45 km (70 km by road) south of Valparaiso and 96 km (110 km by road) west of Santiago.

Isla Negra is best known as the residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who lived there at Casa de Isla Negra (with long periods of travel and exile) from 1939 until his death in 1973. The area was christened by Neruda himself, after the dark outcrop of rocks just offshore. It literally means “Black Island” in Spanish. The Casa de Isla Negra is now a museum that is well visited all year around and especially during summer.

Every year on Neruda’s birthday (July 12), there are celebrations, both at the house and in the artisans’ square nearby. There are poetry readings, music and picnics on the beach.

Although most tourists come in buses to see Neruda’s house, there is also a thriving community of writers, artists and artisans who live in Isla Negra and the surrounding area. It is a favourite vacation spot for middle-class families from Santiago and there are many cabins and restaurants, craft shops, an Imaginary Boat open to visitors up Av. Central and the possibility of eco-tours.

The incessant crash of the waves against black rocks led Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, to select this place as the backdrop of his most famous home. Many of those who visit this area come to learn more about this Chilean legend, who lived here in the 1940s.

The arrival is deceptive. Though it is located just off the highway, we had to follow winding dirt roads to reach the enormous house/museum, which is flanked by tall pine trees. Currently administered by the Neruda Foundation, its more than 500 square meters contain many of the fascinating items that the poet collected: figureheads that once graced the bows of ships, masks of all kinds, bottles, photographs, boxes containing strange insects and butterflies, Latin American pottery, carved figures from Easter Island, clocks, navigational instruments, maps of the world and conch shells of all shapes and sizes.

In the house’s garden, are a bell tower, a boat, a fountain, and the tombs of Pablo Neruda and his last wife, Matilde Urrutia, which look out onto the ocean.

It’s easy to get to Neruda’s house, but if you get lost, as we did, you can ask any of the locals where to find it. Neruda has become the great icon of this town, which is part of the municipality of El Tabo, 111 km west of Santiago.

The spirit of the poet, who passed away shortly after the 1973 military coup, lives on here. You can find murals depicting Neftalí Reyes (his real name), small crafts fairs with paintings of the bard and restaurants with seafood dishes named in honour of his best-known verses.

Isla Negra has a small beach with a view of the open-air bell tower at Neruda’s home. To the north, there are an enormous rock formation facing the Pacific and its large waves. This area is called Punta de Tralca, and it is a popular destination for spiritual retreats. Further south is the popular resort town of El Tabo.

I submit for your reading, a poem by Pablo Neruda, titled The Night in Ilsa Negra.

Ancient night and the unruly salt
beat at the walls of my house.
The shadow is all one, the sky
throbs now along with the ocean,
and sky and shadow erupt
in the crash of their vast conflict.
All night long they struggle;
nobody knows the name
of the harsh light that keeps slowly opening
like a languid fruit.
So on the coast comes to light,
out of seething shadow, the harsh dawn,
gnawed at by the moving salt


Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Uncategorized


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The Woodcarver

I have titled this post The Wood carver, an extraordinary talented Chilean Artisan who makes his livelihood out of Beautiful intricate wood carvings. The wood carver’s shop is in Pueblito Los Dominicos, a village of quaint adobe brick shops, I think of it as a Hamlet housing around 200 unique Chilean shops, located on the outskirts of Santiago in a Heritage listed zone. I won’t go into the history of Pueblito Los Dominicos, as you can find its colourful history by Google, I prefer to let you see it through my eyes. This captivating village with its 200 craft shops is a veritable wonderland of Chilean and Mapuchee culture. A sample of the shops include, Wool work with Alpaca Fleece, Clothing, Jewellery that includes the semi precious stone, Lapis Lazuli which is mined in both Afghanistan and Chile, Chilean paintings, original Mapuche Pottery, Silversmithing, Leatherwork, Sculptures and Copper cookware.

This is the second time that I have visited this Craft village, the first time was in 2009 when I was first introduced to the fascinating craft of Matchstick carvings, I was not disappointed on this occasion and was again able to add to my growing collection, I now have over twenty beautiful pieces, the carvings are so intricate and unbelievable, all carved out of a simple matchstick depicting various scenes, some Religious and some with incredible imagination, The Artisan advised that due to age and eyesight, he was coming to the end of his career as a Master Craftsman of Matchstick Carving, understandable but a magnificent talent. I have posted before on Matchstick carving with a few examples, however the photographs do not do it justice, I need a very small lens to illustrate the small intricate carvings. From Matchsticks we go to the opposite spectrum of carving, Artisans who carve monstrous pieces, pieces that are displayed in Churches around Chile, Crucifixion statues, Virgin Mary’s, various Saints, pieces so large they adorn many churches and are monstrous in size, not only Religious Icons, but huge pieces that adorn the Bow of old sailing ships, much as you would see in old Pirate movies, there are large Book shelves, intricate furniture pieces, and a myriad of pieces that the mind could imagine.

I selected this one Master Woodworker to illustrate his skill, Shop and Wares, he has an extensive array of wares for sale, some tourists may think them highly priced, I certainly didn’t as I watched him work, some pieces take many months to complete, his skill and efforts in his intricate trade are well worth the price, we bought a few pieces and are proud to display and celebrate his Craftmanship.

Our visit to Pueblito Los Dominicos was, and always will be, a very culturally and memorable experience, I leave you to enjoy a few photographs of a very talented man, The Chilean Woodcarver.



Posted by on March 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


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San Rafael Lagune

The last day dawned for our last adventure to the Patagonian region of Southern Chile, the sky was overcast with a drizzling rain and a cool wind blowing from the snow covered mountains. Breakfast was a rushed, yet a nutritious start to the day. At around 8 am we boarded the bus to take us to the pier to meet the Catamaran that was to take us on one of the most unforgettable journeys, to culminate in witnessing the massive Continental Ice shelf, in the spectacular Laguna San Rafael. The bus trip from the Loberias Hotel to the pier was a mere 5 minutes; we could actually see the Catamaran from the Hotel. Once aboard and all accounted for, we began a most remarkable journey. A journey of three hours duration which took us across islands, Channels, and Fiords, all this with beautiful scenery on both sides of the Lagune, this Lagune is very peaceful, it has a surface of170 square kilometres. The first signs that we were approaching the Ice Shelf were the amount of Floes that were surrounding the Catamaran, some were absolutely Turquoise blue, and I was to see them up close later in the journey. The air was not cold but you could feel a slight coldness developing as we neared the Shelf. Rounding a bend in the Lagune came into sight, a magnificent panoramic scene of Ice covered my eyes, it was spectacular, ten kilometres in length and a two and a half  kilometres wide, standing on the top deck of the Catamaran, I stood in awe at this beautiful creation, it was moving, it was alive, occasionally we would hear sounds like gunfire or detonations, this was the Ice moving and adjusting itself, when this occurred large chunks of Ice would fall away to become part of the flotilla of floes that covered the surface of the Lagune. Then began the extraordinary experience of approaching the Shelf up close, we were allotted numbers that corresponded to the boats which would take us up close, these were Zodiac speed boats, we boarded the boats from the Catamaran and immediately picked up speed to approach the Shelf, the speed was a necessary precaution as the Ice would fall unexpectedly and cause mini Tsunamis, depending on the size of the falling Ice. We were able to boat along the face of the Shelf, a few Ice falls forcing us back out into the lagune at high speed, when the Ice resettled we were again able to get close up. I had the most unbelievable experience of being so close to one of the massive Ice falls, that I could actually reach out and touch this 20 million year old Ice, it was massive above water and I could not imagine its size below water, it was truly amazing , the monstrous block of Ice was translucent and spectacularly Blue, I was in awe, 20 million year old Ice, my mind went into imagination mode, the history, the secrets it held, an experience I will never forget. We witnessed this beautiful creation for two to three hours and then returned to the Catamaran. The Skipper sounded the alarm to call the two remaining Zodiacs back to the boat; this alarm is sounded when the Skipper deems the Zodiacs closeness to the face of the Shelf has become a risk. After two to three hours the Catamaran headed back up the Lagune for the three hours trip back to the Loberias del Sur Hotel, the three hour trip back was relaxing and entertaining, it was an open bar on board for the journey, we were to experience Whiskey drizzled over 20 million year old Ice, quite an experience on its own. The Catamaran took on a very festive atmosphere, the drinks were poured, Whiskey over 20 million year old Ice or the National Chilean drink of Pisco Sour, I have developed a taste for Pisco Sour, but on this memorable occasion I did not want to miss out on the experience of Whiskey with 20 million year old Ice. Then the Karaoke began, a mixture of over a dozen nationalities, all singing Karaoke in their own language, then came my turn, the only Australian on board, I chose a song that I thought everyone could relate to, and the singer, I chose Elvis Presley Jail House Rock, it was amazing, so many different nationalities, all singing the same song in their own language. The Karaoke session on board seemed to break down all barriers of communication, I noticed later that everyone was speaking the same language and could understand each other, that 20 million year old Ice certainly packs a kick. I think I will leave that part of my adventures in abeyance for the next 20 million years, just a memory for me I think.

That my Friends, ends the adventures in Chile and the South Patagonia for 2016, I hope you have enjoyed our adventure. You are invited to join our adventures again next year, when we return to Chile, this time we will explore the Heavens through the eyes of the monstrous Observatories in the, earthquake prone area of the Atacama deserts of Northern Chile, from there I invite you to visit Rapa Nui (Easter Island), then down to Juan Fernandez Island (Treasure Island), and finally back down south to the Patagonian region to once again, explore the magical wonders of this Unique and beautiful Country.



Posted by on March 22, 2016 in Uncategorized



The Marble Cathedrals—Capillas de Marmol

We were awoken at 6.30 the next morning, for an early breakfast before boarding the bus to take us to the Marble Rock formations, having got to sleep at about 3 am that morning; I was surprisingly fresh, considering my ascent to the Hanging Glacier the day prior. Time gets a little confused here, having left at an early hour, and again arriving back at the Hotel in the early hours of the next day, I estimate this journey to have been a round trip of about 18 hours, this includes a break for lunch and the inevitable Wee stops. The road to the Marble Chapels, as it is more commonly known, was via a new highway being constructed that links Coyhaique to the southern parts of Chile called Austral, our first stop was at the viewpoint of the Cuesta del Diablo, here we enjoyed a beautiful Patagonian roadside morning Tea. This viewpoint shows a wide panoramic view of the Río Ibañez valley. Following morning Tea, we resumed our journey where we were to be amazed with the the imposing Cerro Castillo Mountain, a mountain with its high granite rock towers reaching up to 2,400 meters and glaciers on its slopes. We continued on south down the Australis highway, which bordered Laguna Verde and Bosque Muerto (Dead Forest), the Dead forest is a remnant of the 1991 Hudson Volcano eruption. Continuing on, the landscape changes into a beautiful lush forest, further on, our next stop was at the little port of Río Cofré. The Carretera Austral continues bordering the Rio Murta heading finally to Puerto Tranquilo in Lake General Carrera, a beautiful colourful picturesque town, from where our excursion to the majestic Marble Cathedrals was to begin.

A brief overview of the actual Rock formations, it is recorded that they were first discovered back in the 1800s, but have only been opened to the public less than 25 years ago, there are a number of opinions as to their origin, some say they were formed from wind and wave erosion, the version I prefer, that seems more logical, was given to me by a very knowledgeable tour guide, he states that they were actually caves thrust to the surface from the Ice age era, during one of Chile’s major earthquakes somewhere in the past. We debussed and proceeded down to the coastline a few tourist boats were waiting, I noticed a few more out in the water as well as a number of Kayaks, life jackets donned we boarded the boat for what we were assured, a memorable experience, The caves hug the coastline a few metres from shore and stretch about 2 kilometres in length, the caves appear suddenly, huge grey-white arches that dot the coastline. Our boat cut the motor as we approached the caves, and then we drifted through the caves, truly amazing, the Turquoise water silently rocking the boat as we looked in wonderment at the intricate swirls patterns that form the Marble walls, below the clear blue waters we could see the formations went deep down below, what we were witnessing from the surface, to imagine these monoliths were thrust to the surface from the Ice age was looking at history in real life. What further massive caves that lay below the surface must be extraordinary, a bygone era secreted in its watery haven. We left the shoreline caves and boated a little further out from the shore, where two massive mushroom shaped formations stood majestically above the waterline, shapes that were covered in greenery it was remarkable that caves burrowed through its structure at water level, these are commonly known as the Cathedral and The Church, huge marble arches support the mushroom like formation, which are the highlights of the Cathedral and Church. Gliding through the caves it was easy to see where their names originated from. It was silent and gave off a Spiritual aura, with imagination, the walls of the caves can appear like some ancient Religious paintings, preserved down over millions of years, we drifted through the caves for over an hour, marvelling in the creativity and endurance of Nature. The Capillas de marmol, as it is known in Spanish, was a truly great experience.

The tour was coming to a close as we boated back to shore; a beautiful Luncheon was prepared before we boarded the bus for the long journey back to the Hotel. The return trip was to be long, down through the mountains and valleys, isolated Farms were scattered around the lowlands, as dusk began to fall, the flickering of lamps began to appear from the few farms that electricity hadn’t reached yet. The Austral highway in this part of Patagonia is still under construction, with a long way still to go, the road is gravel and extremely winding, construction crews every few sections, step ravines and rock falls an ever present danger. We arrived home in the early hours of the morning and were welcomed with a delicious hot meal. We retired soon after to get what sleep we could, before the next adventure early in the morning, join me in an adventure that would take us to one of the last Continental Ice Shelfs.


The Emu



Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Uncategorized



Quelat National Park—The Hanging Glacier

We left Santiago Airport on Sky Airlines; our destination was to be the Hotel Loberias Del Sur, Spanish for Sea Wolf, way down south of Chile in the Patagonian region. The flight was of two and quarter hours to the small Airport of Balmaceda, with one stop on the way at Puerto Montt, another Southern Chilean Airport, here we waited on the Plane for half an hour to offload passengers and take on more heading south. Now I have to mention this Sky Airplane, the seats were extremely tight, you virtually had to hold your arms into your sides, I gave up on trying getting the seat to recline, and the Plane was used purely for Domestic travel. Ana was smiling and assured me that Sky Airlines was one of the safest Airlines in Chile, with no record of fault. I relaxed with that information,but what disturbed me mainly about the Plane was the horrendous noise from the engines when firing up and closing down, it actually sounded like metal rubbing against metal, particularly when closing down, grinding sounds would continue for a minute before silence, my imagination gave way to a lack of Oil and Grease on the engines bearings, I had visions of being on a Fred Flintstone Flight. We touched at Balmaceda late in the afternoon where we were met by a bus to take us to our Hotel, Loberias Del Sur at Puerto Aysen, a small half hour stop on the way, was had at a the City of Coyhaique. We finally arrived and booked in at the Sea Wolf Hotel, an excellent facility this far south in Chile, Food, Accommodation and service was superb. I slept soundly, tomorrow was to a breathtaking adventure within an adventure, I was to hike to the summit of the Majestic Hanging Glacier.

I awoke next morning for an early breakfast, before boarding the bus for the 128 kilometres journey to Queulat National Park, Ana was going to spend the day visiting the Town of Puerto Aysen, I was to climb the Hanging Glacier. The initial part of the trip was on sealed roads and extremely Panoramic, with one small wee stop, we left the sealed road and from then on, it was a dirt road. A highway called the Austral Highway was being constructed at the time; it was to connect Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins further south of Chile. Though the trip involves gravel, winding curves and unpredictable weather, it’s no exaggeration to say that each kilometre offers picture perfect vistas. Once we began driving through the high mountains of the Patagonian Andes, we realized it was not without hazards, often we would have to stop and backup for other vehicles, or vice versa, passing was extremely delicate, full credit to the Patagonian drivers in that they could pass each other with inches to spare, this on gravel roads with high rock mountains on one side, and sheer drops on the other side falling to the valleys below. There were numerous halts as we gave way to construction crews, at one stage we were halted for half an hour as a rock slide was encountered and had to be cleared. We finally arrived at the base of the Hanging Glacier, after getting off the bus I saw far off in the distance, high up in the Mountains, the Glacier I was to climb, it appeared insurmountable, even the vegetation appeared impenetrable. We were advised that the rest of the way was now up to us, there were two paths, one an easy path which would take an hour, the other a strenuous path with beautiful scenery, would take an hour and a half. Relying on my Army training and stamina, I opted for the longer path. I had been doing Kinetic exercises and Physio for twelve months leading up to this expedition and felt confident. I do have a week left knee, and degeneration of the lower spine with Osteoporosis, but my old Army motto of Perseverance was foremost in my mind. I set off to conquer this wonder of Nature. I commenced my adventure. The introduction as to what lay ahead was a wooden walkway, that covered the raging waters that came from the Glacier, from then on it was to follow a bush track through the Sub Tropical Rainforest, this involved much climbing as well as a lot of descending, as the path wended its way to the summit, in places it was overgrown and the path wet, it felt like a Medieval World, and in some places took on the appearance of a Fairy land world, to imagine I was walking through a Rainforest that had emerged from the Ice age era was unbelievable, the sounds of unknown Birds amongst the steep ravines was beautiful. The Foliage so rich and green that closed in like a canopy added to the aura of stepping back in time. About thirty metres into the climb, I realized I was going to have trouble, my left knee wasn’t supporting my back, I changed tack and started climbing leading my right leg, using my right leg to support my back, and my left leg to balance, it worked. I needed many breaks till I recognized the need for an old Army training method, I had to synchronize my climbing with my breathing, I got my second wind and my system worked, they were both in rhythm. Well into the last leg of my hike, I knew I was getting to the summit, I could hear a mighty roar and also the sounds of the raging waters below in the Gorge. I climbed the last bend to the top, and came out onto a platform of rock that faced the Glacier, I was at eye level and it appeared before my eyes like a huge Panoramic picture, I was amazed, this wonder of Nature was alive, it was breathing, its continuous groaning was the sounds of Ice breaking and realigning, both sides of the Glacier had waterfalls, water from melting Ice cascading into the ravine below. I stood in awe for quite some time, it appeared like a painting, I felt that I could put my hand out and touch it, and it was a living, breathing creation of Nature. To digress a little and relate how this Glacier was formed. A Glacier has its beginnings between two mountain ridges, cold air rises up the sides of the ridges and forms snow, the snow falls down the Glacier, commonly known as an Arete, as it falls it solidifies into ice, pressure from more falling snow behind the Ice forces it over the lip of the Arete, virtually a continuous cycle. I watched this beautiful wonder for quite some time, it was absolutely an amazing sight, I turned my head for a brief moment to change camera lens and heard an massive explosion, I looked around in time to witness a massive slab of Ice fall over the lip of the Arete, to tumble onto the rocks below, and shatter before it found its way into the freezing waters below. The size of the Ice would have easily been the size of an average house. Mother Nature did not finish her show there; the Glacier became violent as she adjusted her position to accommodate the missing Ice, her groans magnified as she self adjusted, I stood in wonderment and awe. The time had come for me to retrace my steps down the Mountain; reluctantly I had one last look at this Majestic Masterpiece of Nature. Coming down the high Mountain, I once again took pains to protect my back from jarring, stepping down on my right foot and using my left for stability; a tendency to come down faster, was a recipe for an accident. I made it back to the base camp and enjoyed a beautiful late afternoon luncheon. We boarded the bus and made our way back down the Mountains, darkness was starting to close in, I commend the driver on his ability to manage the bus on the winding gravelly road in the dark, as I recall the road coming up in daylight. Back at the Hotel well after midnight, it was a pleasure to find hot meals already prepared in the dining room, I ate with gusto on the Patagonian Lamb washed down with a few glasses of the Traditional Chilean drink, Pisco Sour, maybe a few more than  a couple. I slept soundly that night in preparation for the next day’s adventure to the Marble Caves, or as it is known in Chile, The Marble Cathedrals.


Aussie Emu


Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Uncategorized


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