January 19, 2019

It’s my last evening in Puerto Varas. Two or three nights seem to be my minimum wherever I stop. I like this because I never feel rushed and it takes that much time to even begin to have a feeling for the soul of place. I’ve been loving my attic space with it’s special wooden nooky ambiance, it even creaks like I’m in cabin in a galleon at sea. This is a touristy busy town but I’m liking it, lots of interesting people to watch and an artsy musical downtown. There’s a big covered stage set up next to the plaza and I was drawn there last night by beautifully exotic Andean pan flute playing really loud on a killer sound system. Well, there was a group of young dancers on that stage dressed in traditional costume just dancing their hearts out! That went on for awhile and another group came up and some kind of tango started playing and they swept the crowd of 200 or so, young and elder and everyone in between off their feet. This went on until after midnight. Big family. Same tonight but a great traditional Chilean band. I think I might be the only person in this town of families and tourists who sleeps, kinda reminds me of a twilight zone episode.

I explored the base of volcano Orsono yesterday and learned about an ancient (some say 3,000 years old) trail that crosses the north slope of the volcano and winds eastward through the Andes into Argentina, so I’ll be camping on lake Todos Los Santos and hiking the trail for the next two days. It’s said that it’s an ancient Mapuche trail and that they managed to conceal it from the Spaniards for over a hundred years. I’m privileged to be able to walk in their footsteps. Stanley the backpack has gained weight, extra food needed for camping where roots and rabbits are the only other option. I’m headed south to the village of Cochamó from there. It lies on a fjord of the Pacific Ocean and the mountains to the east are said to be Yosemite-like without the hoards of people, one of which I am myself, eh? Then continuing south into Patagonia. Somewhere along the way I’ll be passing into Argentina. As for the here and now, traveling alone is lonely but every time I get down with it something happens to swing me back around. Walking the roads I play my harmonica, it’s been writing songs for me, I’ll play for a few minutes then have to stop and write down lyrics, mostly sad and bluesy because the instrument kind of lends itself to that, in case you hadn’t noticed. And I talk to myself somewhat and am getting pretty darned fast at batting horseflies. Soon they’ll be saying “here comes that Lance guy, better fly on outta here”, when they see me coming, dancing in the heat waves like a ghost! Before I forget, I met an old gypsy woman in a restaurant up in Vicuña, she could see that I was having a hard time ordering a meal and helped me with the waitress. We talked (she spoke good English) for a few minutes and I set my backpack against the wall next to my table and used the bathroom. On her way out she came by my table and gave me some advice that is worth a fortune (nice pun): “Never ever leave your backpack alone when you use the bathroom, you don’t know any of these people!” She was lecturing me and I was humbled and I took her hand and gave her a big hug and a muchas gracias!

As our Hobbit friends once said, “The road goes ever on and on.” May your trail be easy and filled with blessings today.

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