Setting: At the edge of a roaring glacial river. There are tall leña trees around and occasional thick couilhe. The rain is falling and we have made camp. There is a tent set up.

Time: 1900 hours

We have just set up camp after several hours of hiking in the rain, thick bushwacking, and a deep and cold river crossing. Our packs were heavy and we were glad to have them off. It is our first day of shuttling loads and the terrain is still new.

Dave wanders off to take some Ibuprofen. I cook dinner under my red umbrella.

A few minutes later he returns. ¨Turns out I brought 50 Imodium capsules instead of IBU¨ he laments.

¨Hmmph¨ I reply “I guess we won´t get diarrhea.”

Dave gets a sarcastic grin “Man, I haven´t crapped in three weeks and what the heck is up with my knees, the are still hurting.” We crack up laughing.

Una Otra:

My 31st birthday. I awake in a “cave”. More of an overhanging rock under which we can sleep and stay dry. I am lying in the dirt in a stinky sleeping bag that I have slept in for the last three months. I toss around. Josh looks over “Happy birthday fucker.”

“Thanks”

We slowly pack up and slog onward. We are happy that it is relatively dry as today we face the couilhe killing fields. The killing fields are the hacked off couilhe. If you fall onto the hacked off stem you face instant death by stabbing or worse a long heinous death by infection. If you are lucky, you only puncture your femoral artery or loose an eye. The drier it is, the less chance we have of slipping on the stalks that litter the ground, like maybe 50% instead of 98%. So we get lucky. We hump loads. No one gets stung by vicious yellow jackets or gets impaled. We pass our packs over and through rock obstacles and finally arrive at our big blue tarp.

As Josh makes a pizzateazer, Dave slices up a dry, crumbly, don´t-breathe-deep-or-you’ll-choke-on-the-dusty-crumbs Boudin (a pound cake.) He douses it in Hammer Gel. My birthday cake. What more could I ask for…well maybe the three day weather window that started the following day…

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