Mountain Biking & Kayaking Expedition

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, November 27, 2010

All high school teachers at Nido de Aguilas have to chaperone a trip during our school's Week Without Walls... a time when the entire H.S. shuts down and the kids and staff head off on amazing expeditions.  Some of the choices are to hike up to Machu Pichu in Peru, take a boat up the Amazon river to a small village to do volunteer work while learning about the flora and fauna of the jungle, sail throughout an archipelago of islands off the coast of Chile, and many others, including a week long mountain biking & kayaking trip through a very rural and traditional region of Chile.  I signed up and was chosen to chaperone the trip... and not design and create it... which is an amazing amount of work.  
 The trips that our kids take are provided through selective tour companies that specialize in specific adventures... couldn't be any better for me as this semester has been one of the busiest of my teaching career. Most of the kids that signed up for the trip were athletic and keen on spending some time in the saddle, learning new skills and exploring the small traditional villages along the route.  We ended up with an awesome mix of students, both in personality and nationality.... ranging from a few French kids, a Spaniard, two Chileans, a token Belgian and Dutch, a couple of Argentinians, an unusually wild Finnish guy, a towering Canadian, two guys from northern India, a tough Swiss kid and me the lone American from the United States... an important factor when explaining ones nationality in the "America's"... as all from Canada to the southern tip of Chile are Americans.  
The trip highlights included:
Spending time with a bunch of 16-18 year old guys that were into burping, farting and simply laughing... no intensity with this group... just all fun and games! 
Biking down horse and cart roads winding through endless grape vineyards... 
Meandering through the cobbled streets of tiny villages lost in time...
Hoisting our bikes on our shoulders and crossing a mountain river so we could continue on our journey...
The big climbs up some of the massive foothills to the mountains that run along the Pacific Coastline...
Stopping at a two room schoolhouse in a rural area... student population of 16... donating a few new bicycles, fixing the previous year's donated bikes, playing a game of soccer with the kids and crashing out on the floor of one of the school rooms.
Kayaking through a massive brackish wetland that wound it's way inland... paddling through flocks of massive black necked Chilean Swans, flushing up numerous water birds combing the shoreline for wiggly snacks.
Putting in about 30-40 kilometers of back country trails and dirt roads each day... arriving at the relief vehicle for awesome home brewed meals by our 60 year old Chilean cook... always in a unique setting... tow of the best were in a eucalyptus forest at the top of a hot grueling climb, and along the cool shores of a bird filled wetland.
Getting to personally know the kids on the trip, especially the ones that I have in my Economics and Theory of Knowledge classes... a great group of guys!
Sitting around the campfire at night and listening and telling stories about the cool places that people had traveled to around the globe... one of the benefits of teaching at an international school filled with expat kids.
Arriving at our awesome campgrounds, setting up our tents, grabbing some dinner and hanging out... 
Conversations about Chile with our two guides Pablo & Marcelo... learning lots about traditional ways and the changing culture.
Peacefully gliding along the water's surface without nearly a ripple, as I paddled through the quiet backwaters of the ocean wetland...  
Heading down to the Atlantic beach at night and running from massive waves that would occasionally swallow the slow runners in a punishing wash...
In closing I would like to say that the guides, the driver, the cook and the kids made up a golden group... and spending a week biking and kayaking with them was one of the highlights of the many school expeditions that I have taken! 


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Joe Cota on

I hope when visiting that I don't get put through the rigors involved in this entry. Are their any rocking chairs in Chile?

Look Alterno on

Lots of trails for mountain biking at Maps (Google Earth), photos and videos.

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