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The Beach, the storm, and the green machine

The Beach, the storm, and the green machine

By Emily Diener (Macalester College)


We left our base camp at Los West Winds on Saturday morning (October 12th) for a “wee little” overnight trip down to Lago Cochrane, which lies about fifteen kilometers or so to the south. On the way there, it was rather slow-going as the roads are not quite in “saloon-car” (i.e. passenger vehicle) condition, though this is pretty typical of the rural mountain roads that we often traverse.

We drove past Lago Pepa, a smaller lake, and began the descent to Lago Cochrane. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to drive all the way down to the lake because of road conditions, and soon, we collectively decided on a point at which to park. We continued on foot, joking as we left the trucks behind that there was no way ol’ Greenie (one of our 5-seater 4×4 pick-up trucks) would be able to climb her way up out of the mountains if it happened to rain. Blue skies overhead…

We walked four or five kilometers the rest of the way to Lago Cochrane and found a lovely little inlet with a beach to settle down and set up camp. We spent a quiet and relaxing day together: highlights include massage chains, attempting to figure out the secret to using Sydney’s Lifestraw so that it actually could save a life (to no avail), and an epic three rounds of the no-board game Mafia to finish the night.

When we woke up on Sunday morning, there was some light drizzle. We packed up camp pretty quickly after breakfast and began hiking up to the trucks. By the time we reached the trucks, the drizzle had turned into a steady rain. We attempted, using our mighty manpower, to help Greenie up the slick slope because unfortunately, she could not do it alone. After about forty-five minutes of pushing, we were about forty feet from where we started, and whole lot muddier.

Seeing that going less than one meter per minute was not a viable option, we decided to send one group (Mateo, Erin, Sydney, Walker, and Avery) back to camp in the white truck, which, being a Chevy, surprised everyone by handling just fine in the sloppy conditions (like a rock?). The other group of us (Greg, Alice, Celina, Andrew, and myself) began to hike towards camp – both to stay warm in the rain and so that the white truck wouldn’t have to come back quite as far to pick us up. Walking on the road was pleasant as ever and our fearless “chauffeur” was back to collect us in what felt like no time at all. Once back at Los West Winds, surrounded by dry socks and warm layers, we played Bananagrams, our go-to game these days.


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