Update on the Rios to Rivers Trip to Patagonia Chile’ – They have arrived safe and sound!
Friendships that formed on the Klamath River last July have re-united here in Patagonia,
Chile. The Rios to Rivers exchange in Patagonia has begun. In this photo students form a
traditional friendship design on the beach beside the confluence of the Baker and
Chacabuco Rivers yesterday in Chile.
*Two young Klamath Tribal Members are with this group: Ashia Wilson and her brother Paul Wilson.
*Many continued prayers and blessings on their journey.
One week ago today, we arrived at the Santiago Airport. We were met by Weston and from there we traveled east of Santiago to Cajon de Maipo, the major watershed that supplies water to about seven million people who live in the greater Santiago area. We met up with a new group of students from the Bio Bio River in south central Chile, who would be joining us in Patagonia for our journey. We hiked high into the mountains to where glaciers feed the very top of the watershed, we met with a professor of sustainable energy, and learned about the current and proposed hydro-power projects in the Maipo Watershed that would de-water the majority of the river.
After two very full days in the Maipo, we traveled back to the Santiago Airport and boarded a plane for Patagonia. This was the first time that any of the Bio Bio group, including their group leader, had ever been on an airplane, and we were lucky enough to have good views of the high mountains and lakes of Northern Patagonia from the air. We landed in Balmaceda, the airport that serves central Chilean Patagonia, on Friday afternoon. We took an hour and a half bus ride to our camp in Villa Cerro Castillo, a small hamlet on the Rio Ibanez that sits at the base of one of the most stunning peaks in Chile. The next morning we continued in the bus to Cochrane stopping along the shores of Lago General Carrera for lunch, and taking a hike to a very large and impressive waterfall at the confluence of the Rio Baker and Rio Neff.
We arrived to Cochrane in the late afternoon and we were welcomed to our camp on the shores of the Rio Cochrane by our Chilean friends who were on the Klamath with us this past summer. They have taken us hiking along the Rio Baker, treated us to a traditional Chilean Asado (lamb roast), and they are currently taking the students snorkeling and kayaking on the Rio Cochrane, right from our camp.
Days have been sunny and warm and nights crisp, as we prepare for our six day trip down the Rio Baker. This afternoon we will pack our dry bags and shuffle rafts, kayaks, inflatable kayaks, personal gear, and lots and lots of food, to the put in of the Baker River, below the last of the large canyon rapids. Tomorrow morning we leave cell service behind and will experience the wilderness of Patagonia that few people travel through, including sections of Rio Baker that were saved from a series of mega dams just months ago.
Everyone is excited to set out on the journey down river, to see more of Patagonia, to meet the Gauchos that live along the shores of this remote river, and to continue to build their friendships. I can promise you all that you kids will come back speaking more Spanish, and with a very special place in their hearts for the rivers and people of Chile.
Ashia Wilson, Klamath Youth Council President, and her brother Paul, along with several others left for Chile’ on February 19th, 2018.
Last year the Chile’ students and lower river tribal youth, had the opportunity to explore the Klamath River Watershed. The time everyone took to teach the students about the Klamath Watershed made this program a full and memorable experience to all the participants.
Eight students from the Klamath Field Program traveled to Chile. Keep the students and the advisor’s in your prayers for a safe, fun, and educational journey as they travel to learn more about the Ríos to Rivers program, and to discuss about threats and restoration opportunities to the rivers of Chile and the Klamath Basin!
Have fun. Learn. Represent. Be safe! Water is Life! Bring Home the Salmon!
For more information see: Rios to Rivers on Facebook!