While we don’t seek out press, sometimes people have written things about what we’re up to at Chulengo Expeditions. Highlights below!
“The Aysén Region of Chilean Patagonia is a place of boilerplate beauty. Sharp peaks, nearly always headlocked by clouds, drop down to arid plateaus streaked blue with copper veins, which in turn fall into valleys where the rivers run aquamarine. Lenga, a southern beech, covers the hillsides, the tree's shape reminiscent of a Lebanon cedar's zigzag posture. It's a witchy forest, every branch and limb and trunk garlanded with long strands of gray lichen. A native wild strawberry sprawls in the understory, the fruit as small as marbles and as sweet as jam…I spent eight days trekking in and around Patagonia National Park with an outfitter called Chulengo Expeditions, and for the first two days of the trip, a local gaucho, Miguel Reyes Muñoz, packed our food on his horses. Reyes spends his summers at a weathered mountain hut furnished with no more than an iron stove, a rawhide bed, crude wooden chairs covered in sheepskins, and an old radio that can, just barely, pick up a signal from Argentina. When we arrived, a slaughtered-and-skinned sheep was hanging from a lenga tree.”
“Nadine Lehner graduated from college, spent five years doing conservation work in Patagonia, then headed to Stanford with the sense that “now I would come back to the U.S. and have a slightly more conventional job,” she says. She started the joint-degree in 2014. In 2016, she worked as a summer associate at Bain & Company and signed an offer letter to return in July 2017. But she couldn’t let Patagonia go. Throughout her time at school, she built up Chulengo Expeditions, an educational ecotourism company in Patagonia.”
“The morning after Christmas, I woke early to head to the river, where I watched the sun slide across the water braiding down the valley. A Magellan goose regarded me through inky eyes as she herded four chicks into the water. Across the river, a waterfall cascaded into glacial moraine. The spray caught the sun and threw a shimmering brocade of light onto slick black rock.
Enormous forces created this place: Glaciers had carved entire valleys as rivers moved tons of rock. I thought about home and what it means to feel at home in a wild place. How do we foster a sense of belonging—not of the natural world belonging to us, but of us belonging to the natural world?
One answer: Create experiences that remove the boundaries that ordinarily stretch between us and the natural world. Take away the cars, phones, and faucets. Take away the beds that separate our backs from the ground. Invite our bodies into the presence borne from plunging into glacial lakes. Dissolve the distance that spreads between us and our human-as-animal selves.”
"The views of the Jeinimeni Mountains are extraordinary. Fording the chilly Río Avilés will awaken your sense of adventure. The first site of Lago Verde’s magical sparkling water. Equally memorable, however, are the gentler, simpler moments—of sipping mate beneath a Lenga tree, of sharing a meal around a campfire, of basking on a rock while listening to the water."
"Over the course of the eight days, we hiked a total of 51 miles (83 km), and aside from the multiple river crossings and a slight drizzle on one morning, we kept dry. We also had grown close as a group by the time we arrived back in the main Los West Winds camping area of Patagonia Park. The group expedition was a different kind of experience for us, compared to almost all our backpacking trips where it is just the two of us. Having a guide provided an opportunity to learn new outdoor skills and to point out some of the history and special features of the landscape. It was also a great way of getting to know a group of new people; you spend lots of hours walking alongside people conversing and learning about their lives back home. We would highly recommend a guided trip for those interested in taking on a lengthy backpacking trip across unfamiliar terrain, and Chulengo Expeditions provided an insightful and informative way of experiencing the wild backcountry."
"Post-trek, I have been bewildered by all that I accomplished on this trip. I have a more-than-healthy fear of heights and, coupled with this being my first multi-day, pack-bearing hike, there were more than a handful of moments of panic. Nadine and Brooks, both of whom are certified National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) instructors, never lost a stride in their steps; they taught me how to cross rivers, self-arrest and hike inclines and declines in snow, and they provided plenty of tips for hiking efficiently and effectively. With these tools, I quickly became more confident in my abilities as we progressed through the trek, and it was amazing to experience this growth alongside them. I left Cerro Castillo really taking to heart the following quote by Trevor Noah, "The highest rung of what's possible is far beyond the world you can see." I certainly bit off more than I could chew, but with a positive attitude and encouraging leaders, I accomplished far beyond what I could have imagined."