The canopy tour was fun though it was raining. We assembled in the Stardust Lounge, those of us going on tours today. Eventually the Canopy Tour was called. Bus 7 carried 36 of us with a guide about an hour and a half to the very lower slopes of Osorno volcano in a Chilean National Park.
We were divided into two groups based on who got out the bathroom fastest. The first 18 of us got in climbing harnesses and helmets. We also got hand attachments that shouldn’t be called gloves. They were thick leather, doubled beneath the first knuckle, and used for breaking. We got a quick demonstration, then we were off in a brightly painted vehicle that looked like it could have been used to transit under-funded jungle insurgents. We headed up a steep, muddy track, only to have the vehicle stall, then start billowing steam out of the front. This seemed routine to the crew, who made some fixing gestures, then began to drive the vehicle again, only to have it repeatedly stall after 5 feet. We finally got out and walked, not very far, to a gateway leading to the suspension bridge to the first platform.
Each person had a pulley that was placed over the thick metal cable. Through holes in the pulley assembly below the cable the guides attached the redundant body harness connectors, usually positioning the carabineers in opposition. With the not-glove in my right hand and my left hand grasping the webbing connecting my harness (and thereby me) to the pulley (and thereby the cable), I placed my right hand behind my head grasping the metal cable above it.
With clearance from the guide, I began my first slide into the dripping air. I approached the green padding at the landing of the next platform quickly. To slow down, I used my right hand to pull down on the cable. Since the cable was wet, and the not-glove quickly wet, I didn’t have a lot of friction. To increase my breaking, I moved my left hand on top of my right hand to pull down. The final breaking happened as I used the spring of my legs on the padding of the platform.
Repeat for 10 more platforms, two spans over sizable chasms, and the last one bringing us to ground level. I practiced letting my left hand fly free after I saw a guide do it. It looked cool, and I wanted to look cool.
Taking a short walk back to where the bus let us off, we passed off the gear to the second half of our group. The bus then took us a short distance to the lunch place, leaving us to pick up the second group when they finished. The second group was to have lunch when they arrived, but we were late for the boat, so they had no substance.
It was a great way to meet people and develop relationships. We all had shared experiences, and watched each other through the time together. People wearing cotton were particularly cold, although we all agreed that time in the boat, uh ship’s hot tubs would be in order upon return.
My mother wanted me to be excited about the zip lines, but I just wasn’t. It was not hard, dangerous, or more than just slightly thrilling. Over the course of two conversations, I was able to articulate what I had experienced on the CDT, which was hard, dangerous, and often thrilling, all followed with sleeping on the ground, perhaps damp. The zip line excursion ended with some hot tub warming, and I’ll sleep in a warm, dry, comfortable bed. No stress.
Back on the boat, I learned that my on-board finances were still a mess. After a lovely dinner at the Pasta Café (with a modified menu for me), I sorted it out, hopefully for the last time, with an additional call to Wells Fargo where they could talk to the front desk. Ug.
On the excursion, I met Neil, who is a Dance Host. He barters his place on the boat, uh ship with being a dance partner for the single women on board. His specialty is ballroom. Oh, and he is the founder of ZipCar.
My mother fell on the pier, and has a banged up knee.
Tomorrow: Patagonian Nature in-depth excursion at Puerto Chabachuco and the singles mingle that my mother and I have signed up for.