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Heidi's BIG Adventure

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - My Big Adventure

WORLDWIDE | Saturday, 26 March 2011 | Views [265] | Comments [1] | Scholarship Entry

With only a backpack, ticket, and dreams, I left Miami heading to the farthest point South that I had ever explored, Punta Arenas, Chile. That January evening, I was embarking not only on a solo adventure into the Patagonian wilderness, but also through a change of seasons as I traveled from winter to summer over the Equator.

After nearly twenty-four hours of flights, layovers, mediocre meals, and movies, I arrived at the Strait of Magellan at 10:30 p.m. with an unbelievable welcoming as the sun set over the Pacific. Never before had I experienced the daylight so late. After hearing many stories of summer light and its majestic colors in Alaska and Patagonia, I finally experienced this sensation of multi-colored twilight past my bedtime and so far from home.

This event, although very memorable, was just one of many awe-inspiring vistas that punctuated my big adventure to Chile and fit into the trip’s goal of truly experiencing nature in a place so unlike any other that I had encountered before. Originally from the Midwest and having lived in Spain, New England, and now Southern Florida, Patagonia was distinct with surprises around each bend, trail, and valley.

Quite ironically, my next ah-ha moment was one of nostalgia of my childhood home. I was raised on a hobby farm in Wisconsin. The farm, pastures, and sounding orchards were the setting and inspiration that led my parents to naming me Heidi like the well-known book. Although, my family did not raise goats as in the story, they did raise sheep. They thought, “How cute!” So, the following day as I left Punta Arenas in route to Torres del Paine National Park seeing the pastures and valleys peppered with flocks of white sheep, I felt I was in a time warp. It was a comforting beauty. The rolling hills of grass, lavender, and dozens of flocks of sheep, all framed by the Torres del Paine’s peaks and complimented by the Pacific breeze was nothing short of spectacular.

That afternoon, I entered the park’s gates with wide eyes viewing what was my goal of the coming five-day hike, the Torres. These three major pinnacles of the park were covered with snow and clouds, but still inviting me to the challenge ahead. The peaks, like spies, followed me from various angles over the next five days from above glacier fields, across lakes the color of turquoise, around trails over mountain fed springs, and also from the window of the rustic refuge used as a trailhead and warm night’s sleep. After hiking through wind, rain, sleet, sun, and sometimes all in one day, I arrived at a well-deserved lookout point. It was the finale of a twenty-two kilometer trek, the closest to the top of the world that I had ever accomplished before.

My big adventure continued on to Argentina and back to the States with my backpack and dreams still in tow, ready for another journey. My next big adventure is slated to be Istanbul, Turkey.

Tags: #2011Writing, Travel Writing Scholarship 2011



For those that liked my story or have been to Patagonia, it was on this walkabout that I decided to write my inspirational memoir, When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything. You can get a FREE 40-page excerpt here: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=zeet9orab&p=oi&m=1118262890649&sit=lc86b64ib&f=e79fe348-b1f1-4179-acfb-d4758fee17dc
or purchase the full version here: http://www.amazon.com/When-All-Balls-Drop-Everything/dp/1627871217/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8
Here's to looking up!

  Heidi Siefkas Nov 28, 2014 5:45 AM

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