Friday, March 14, 2008

The Journey to the Starting Line

When I told you that my current location of Puerto Montt was the second time I had found myself here, it was because the city was the starting point of the past three week adventure. After saying goodbye to Mark Kniprath in Chile TDF, I managed to make my way up to this city where I would be meeting a good buddy of mine named Ryan Peterson of The Fly Shop in Redding, CA and some fishing clients he was escorting to the Patagonia Base Camp, our first fishing destination. I had arrived a day earlier. Actually it was more like the night before around 9 p.m. Disorientated and tired, I arrived to a nearly empty airport just outside Puerto Montt. That was a surprise. Turns out the airport is 17 km from the city. Okay no problem. I opted to stay the night in the airport and wait for Ryan´s arrival. I quickly learned that the current airport I was at was infact the wrong airport and that he would be meeting me at a smaller regional airport on the other side of town. Ah the second surprise. Chile is full of these.

After a taxi cab ride and a successful translation take-me-to-this-place-please and stop-for-a-meal-on-the-way to my driver, we rolled up along a gravel back street road to the correct airport. It was closed ofcourse and when I thought it would have a terminal, it instead turned out to be a little private airport surrounded by ghetto neighborhoods and garbage-littered, undeveloped fields. With a determination not to miss my rondevue, I assured the driver that I would be okay, paid the man, prayed for no rain and bedded down amongst the tall grass in a ditch ajacent to the airport entrance.

I´ve never been much of a early riser, but I was up with the sun the next morning to be greeted by a passing pack of stray dogs walking home from their night time wanderings and the sounds of the airport employees coming in to work. Still in one piece I met up with Ryan and we boarded a Twin engine turbo prop Beechcraft to fly out to our first lodge destination.

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