Broken Arm: Take 2

There is now another broken wrist in the family.

Today, almost three years after Mom broke her arm while hiking down from Refugio Piltriquitron in El Bolson, Argentina, we hiked up to Scout Lookout at Zion National Park in Utah. We arrived here yesterday after a long, icy drive through Oregon, Nevada, and Utah (fortunately, neither Dad nor I crashed the car, despite below-zero temperatures and 80 mph speed limits). This morning, after a high-calorie breakfast, I drove us into the park. 28 degrees Fahrenheit never seemed so warm.

We paid a visit to the visitors’ center-turned-shop before heading to the Court of Patriarchs. There, Ethan and I discovered the ease of letting ourselves slide down the icy hills while hanging onto the handrails. Mom did not enjoy this as much as we did.

We finalllllly found a parking spot at Zion Lodge. It was only a half-mile walk from the Grotto Trailhead, where we started hiking. Ethan had decided not to bring a backpack so I was stuck carrying his water bottle and his hat and gloves as he shed them.

Ethan and I were far ahead of the parents, but we stopped occasionally to let them catch up. The exposed switchbacks up the first mile or so were the hardest. After we entered a shady canyon, the going was easy until we reached eight switchbacks. At the top of those, we reached the infamous Walter’s Wiggles. Apparently these are really difficult, but they seemed very easy, not steep, and short. However, they were also very icy and snowy and we had to go slowly.

The infamous Walter's Wiggles. Now just imagine them snowy and icy

The infamous Walter’s Wiggles. Now just imagine them snowy and icy

Along the way, Ethan and I befriended siblings Ethan and Porsche. Ethan II advised Ethan I on ice hiking technique and the physics of friction. At the top of the Wiggles, we stopped at Scout Lookout while everyone else on the trail continued to Angel’s Landing. Because we didn’t have crampons or any other sort of shoe gear, we played it safe and did not go on.

Ethan and Eryn at Scout Lookout

Ethan and Eryn at Scout Lookout

Ethan and I started down the canyon ahead of Mom and Dad. To take on icy Walter’s Wiggles, we slid down on our feet with our hands behind us, in the form of a crab. This worked well, but Ethan abandoned this approach when some grown men were coming down behind us. In his pride, he continued on down a switchback and out of my sight. Then the two men behind me, who were going much faster than me, exclaimed, “Are you all right?? What happened?”

That was when I saw Ethan, who was grimacing and clutching his left wrist. After assuring him that nothing was broken based on his mobility, the men continued on. And so did we.

We carefully picked our way down to Zion Lodge. We peeked in there and then returned to our hotel, where Mom and Dad set about trying to find a clinic that worked with our insurance. Mom and Ethan finally left for a clinic 40 minutes away. There, they determined that his radius was in fact fractured all the way through, though they only had to put him in a brace because the bone is still aligned.

The worst part about all this is that Ethan will still be able to take notes in AP government as he is right-handed (though he won’t be able to play the piano, saxophone, or guitar).

Lazy Luna

Luna was, apparently, the third visitor to our cabaña this morning. According to Mary Lou, Paz and Juan came by around seven to say good-bye. (Ethan and I were still asleep at seven, and our parents didn’t notice them.) Fortunately, Mary Lou came by after breakfast to say her own good-byes and give us the email addresses for Paz and Juan. At some point during the conversation, Luna slunk out of our house. Dad thinks she’s pregnant—she really is a skinny kitty except for her belly.

Mary Lou told us that Paz’s family is from Buenos Aires Province, and her dad is a veterinarian. Of course, Mom then had to say how our cousin is in veterinary school and all that. The family had left early to go on a seven-hour hike. We did a shorter hike—it was about 200 meters, actually, to a creek up near a glacier in the mountains surrounding Lago Mascardi. We also saw the Black Glacier, which is really just a glacier covered in a layer of dirt. These were the first glaciers Ethan and I’ve seen that I can remember. Mom went on to tell us a story about blue ice, how when she and Dad were in Alaska, they went on a plane ride around a glacier, took lots of pictures, and then got home and discovered that the blue part doesn’t show up on film.

The road system in that section of Parque Nacional Lago Nahuel Huapi is somewhat confusing: at the end, eight kilometers are both ways. There is also a section at the beginning, about twenty kilometers, which is both ways. After a corner, it’s one way. Starting at four, you could drive back from the glaciers to the park entrance/exit. We left after a meal of sandwiches and salad.

When we drove into town, we found part of a hill on fire. It seems like fire has been an awful lot of places lately: melting down the ends of the bracelets Paz and I made, burning down a club in Brazil and killing 231 people, inviting rebellion in Catching Fire

We’re now comfortably installed in Villa Sofia, eating delicious chocolate ice cream from Rapa Nui.

Ciao!

–[untitled post]–

Today was definitely a down day. Mom and Dad only went to take the laundry to the service while I made breakfast and Ethan showered. After that I made more bracelets with Paz while Ethan and Juan Cruz worked on the bow, Luna (the cat) napped, Mom and Dad read, Lucas followed his mother and baby brother Jose around, and Mary Lou made lunch. I was invited to stay for the meal, and Ethan lurked long enough to join in. It was chicken, salad, carrot and corn, and pasta. For dessert we enjoyed homemade raspberry ice cream.

Paz and I went back to making bracelets while the grown-ups talked. After all the adults, Lucas, and Jose went away for the siesta, Ethan and Juan continued working on their bow and Paz and I decided to take a quick dip in the (very cold) pool.

The family eventually left for Lago Puelo. We’ll have supper at Pizza Uno, where three of us ate while Mom was at the clinic.

Ciao!

ABC: Azul, Beaches, Cookies

We hiked along Rio Azul again, but this time it was official. We walked for about twenty minutes threw on a road through a field of blackberries before hitting the actual trail that went along the river. Lots of people were swimming out from the rocks in the deeper, narrower sections. After about forty more minutes, we got to a nice grassy area with an adjoining beach.

“Let’s go to the bridge, then eat the cookies, then come here,” Dad said.

“No!” I protested. “Let’s go to the bridge, then come here, then eat the cookies.”

It was decided. We walked along the edge of a private campground to a gate, where a group of whitewater rafters entered the river.

“I want to do that!” I exclaimed. Of course, we don’t know what company that was, and searching the Internet seems futile.

Anyway, we continued on to the bridge that was “Maximum 1 Persona”. Ethan went first, followed by me, then Dad. Mom abstained because she was worried she’d lose her balance with one arm in a cast. The bridge had wooden slats as the floor with a couple of inches between each. Once on the other side, we had to wait because apparently we started a trend. After all the people had come over, a couple crossed back, followed by the three of us. We walked back to our cookie beach, but it was taken. Oh, well. We plopped down on a log overlooking the water anyway, munching on cookies and watching Ethan throw rocks.

By the time we got back to the car, it was six. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home for peas, pasta, tomato sauce, and a pair of blue underwear for Ethan. (He had been hoping for hot pink—he only chose any because it was brightly colored.) Juan, Paz, and the rest are all at Paz’s uncle’s house.

Ciao!

Azul y Helado

Today was more of a Down Day than yesterday. We didn’t leave until about three in the afternoon. Before then, I made breakfast and made more bracelets with Paz while Ethan played with Juan Cruz and Lucas. Felipe, Manuel, and their mom left this morning, but there was another little boy today. Inez was also there, and she threw her stuffed animal into a tree. She climbed in to get it down, with Paz and me braiding serenely below. Paz’s dad was trying to learn the name of the animal.

“How do you say… an animal that lives in the ocean and on land?”

I had seen the stuffed seal and offered the name. He shook his head. “No, it goes arr, arr. Arr, arr,” he demonstrated, hands clasped in front of him. “Seal,” I repeated. Ethan grabbed the stuffed animal, which was on the ground, and, pointing to it, announced, “Seal.”

Paz’s dad agreed, and that was solved. Eventually the family had lunch, and Ethan and I went back up to our cabaña. We eventually left, stopping first at the laundry to get our clean clothes and then at Mitski for ice cream. Ethan said that Super Sambayón was really good, with “chocolate and nuts and stuff”, so we ordered it along with Frambuesa a la Crema, Chocolate Mitski, and Banana Split. We drove to Rio Azul and walked a little ways before eating on a bench.

The Sambayón was awful. Ethan was gracious, however, and ate most of it. Banana Split had chunks of chocolate in it, and the banana part was good, too. Frambuesa a la Crema was just typical raspberry ice cream, but the Chocolate Mitski was wonderful. It had chunks of white chocolate and almonds in it—muy delicioso. We walked farther up Rio Azul and down to the rocky shore. As we threw stones and dipped our feet in the river’s chilly waters, we saw first a kayaker and then three rafts brave the (not very impressive) rapids. They got wet, by the way.

Ciao!

Rafting the Rapids

Well, because of my mother’s arm issue, we couldn’t do some things today, but we could do others. We woke up this morning at about 9-10 a.m. and did everything about breakfast that needed to be done. After that, Eryn and I played with the other kids and said goodbye to two of the rowdiest kids; Phillipe and Manuel. After they both had left with their mother in their car, Juan, his father, and his mother went out to get a new bicycle tire for someone’s bike. While they were gone, I observed Eryn and Paz making bracelets.

When Juan and family got back, he and I played some more before my parents decided that it was time to leave. We went out to a local ice cream shop and bought a kilo of ice cream ‘for the road.’ In all actuality, it wasn’t for the road, it was for the time when we got to the Rio Azul.

As we had gone that way before, it seemed that we got to the campground a lot sooner than last time. When we got down to the Rio, we went right on the path and up till there was a bench, where we ate the kilo of ice cream. From there, we walked a ways before sitting on a corner of the river next to some rapids. We waded and waited there, while throwing and skipping stones across the water and under hill and over hill. Eventually, we saw a little red kayak come down the river, and the rider steered her way through the rapids quickly and expertly. On the far bank, she pulled up and got out a camera to take pictures of what was to come.

What was to come was actually three large rubber rafts. They were filled on the sides with 6-12 paddlers each. Each of the three colorful crafts made it through the rapids fine, but the last one; a blue one, made it the best, going right through the middle without hitting either bank, like the other ones had. When it was over, I wanted to raft a river.

That’s all for now, Folks!

Sales and Sweet Dinosaurs

Because of Mom’s injury, today was sort of a down day. We slept in til ten, which seemed waaay to early, and Ethan and I had to make breakfast. Once that was over, I washed the dishes and we finally headed out.

Our first stop was the laundry place, where Mom and Ethan dropped off a basket of our clothes. Then came the bank, the clinic (for the x-rays), and the grocery store, where we bought breakfast foods and a scarf that is now Mom’s sling. We drove home and stayed there for about two hours as Dad dealt with the insurance company and I did schoolwork and made more bracelets like the ones that Paz, Mary Lou’s granddaughter, makes. We eventually left for Lago Puelo after a slight delay. On the way, we bought ice cream from Saurios Heladeria Artesenal, whose mascot is a swimming purple dinosaur. Dad and I chose the flavors—four in the kilo container. The woman who scooped our ice cream weighed the tub: 1.005 kilos.

The .005 extra is for the tub’s weight. It’s now become standard that they get really close in weight: at Sumo in BA, our ¾ kilo weighed .755 kilos, and in Bariloche, someone’s quarter-kilo tub weighed .250.

We eventually got to the beach of the choppy Lago Puelo, where we devoured the Black Jungle, Boysenberry, Semi-Bitter Chocolate, and Saurios Chocolate. It was delicious. Ethan went for a walk afterwards, and came running back to us: “They’re here!”

They, of course, means Juan, Paz, and co. Ethan changed into his swimsuit so he could go out on the raft with ten-year-old Juan, and I made bracelets with twelve-year-old Paz. Inez, who was with Paz when I first met her, and her family also came. All of Paz’s immediate family—mother, father, and three brothers, Juan, Lucas, and baby Jose—were there. Lucas went around with Paz’s bracelets and sold them for ten pesos apiece. During the time I was there, Paz earned eighty pesos. Ten of those pesos were brought in by a blue bracelet I made.

Ciao!

Lion of the Andes

I slept in (again) and then had my typical breakfast of cereal, egg, banana, and toast. After that we just did schoolwork and deleted pictures and napped until about 1:15, when Dad decided it was time to go on the hike up Cerro Piltriquitron.

It was a long and dusty hike up 350 meters, where we met an older couple from Colorado who had just gone to Antarctica by boat. They said it was beautiful, but the boat ride was very rough. In all the questions they asked about our trip, they never asked the Number One Question: What are you doing for school? They even asked a whopping total of seven questions before it turned into a normal conversation.

“You’re the first Americans we’ve seen in a week,” she said.

“Sorry to spoil the run for you,” my dad replied.

We continued on up, passing the garden of carved trees that we skipped. At the top we admired the view before Mom and Ethan each got Fantas, Dad and I chose water, and I ordered a pizza. Ethan was sent away from our bench, but when I was on my last piece of pizza, Mom and Dad tried to convince me to give Ethan a piece. “I’m not moving from this bench or advertising,” I said, thinking that if he wanted it, he would come get it.

But I had pity on him.

“Okay, who wants a piece of pizza?” I asked loudly. “I do, I do!” Ethan cried. He came and stood in front of me. “I do too,” Dad added.

“Okay, Ethan,” I announced clearly. “Do not touch this piece of pizza that is sitting, unguarded, on my lap. I am now admiring the view.” I turned my face towards the rocks, but apparently he had ignored me so I repeated myself. As I watched his reflection on Mom’s sunglasses, I saw him grab a piece. Once we were done eating, we befriended the bearded yellow cat that hid among the lupine. It was a sweet cat, and I got a picture of it yawning.

“I got a picture of it yawning!” I exclaimed. “It’s almost as good as a lion in Kruger!”

“Lion of the Andes,” Dad said. “That’ll be the title of my post tonight,” I decided.

We started down the hill. Dad, Ethan, and I went on ahead, talking about science subjects. We were starting in on pH levels when we heard a cry: “Help! Help!” We looked back up and saw Mom sitting in the dirt. Ethan and I raced back up the hill.

“I fell, and I think my wrist is broken. It’s swelling fast,” she choked out. Dad helped her up. Some people tried to help us, but they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Spanish.

The walk down seemed to take a lot less time than it did going up. Mom held her wrist to her chest, and Ethan and I followed a ways behind. “Finally!” Ethan crowed. We were to the parking lot. Mom and Ethan went to the car while Dad and I went to the view. I took out my camera and—it wasn’t there. “Oh, no,” I whispered. Then, louder, “I lost my camera!”

The ride down to the pavement was excruciatingly long. Ethan and Dad tried to keep the mood light (failing for the most part). Finally we got to the pavement. After a wrong turn, we got to the hospital. We shuffled into the waiting room, Ethan and I leaning against a wall, Mom taking a chair, and Dad knocking on the doors and asking, “Ingles?”

Someone came and called them away. Dad kept us up-to-date by texting us on Mom’s phone. She needed a specialist since the ends of the bone, her radius, overlapped, so she was taken in ambulance there (so they wouldn’t have to remove the IV) while the three of us followed in a car. By then, the doctors had given her drugs, so she was fine. Dad, Ethan, and I had pizza and a salad at Pizza Uno before we returned. At that point, Dad found out that she would be out of surgery in 30-40 minutes as it was about to start, so he drove Ethan and me home, where we are now.

Mom and Dad eventually came home around midnight, Mom’s arm encased in plaster, after Ethan and I had spent two hours down with Paz, Juan, and the three little boys.

Ciao!

Dulces and Death Marches

We ate a whole kilogram of ice cream today.

The flavors were orange-chocolate, blackberry, and bitter chocolate. Dad and Ethan are about to set in on another half-kilo with raspberry and chocolate with dulce de leche. This was after we got home from a hike up to the top of Cerro Amigos, looking down from several viewpoints, a walk along the Rio Azul, and a trek to and from Cascada Escondida.

Oops… I just had two spoons’ worth of the new ice cream that we got from Los Lupulos, the restaurant where we had pizza and a salad of lettuce, carrot, beets, palm heart, boiled egg, and tomato. My pizza was, of course, drowned in vinegar. Once we were done eating, Mom and Ethan went off to play foosball while Dad and I talked about gravity, photons, and the bending of the universe. Mom returned to the table after another boy came to play foosball.

We walked back to our Fiat and then drove to the Cabañas. Juan, Paz, and the rest have returned from the lake, and the pool is halfway filled.

Ciao!

Waffles!

We finally, finally had waffles for the first time since Chiang Mai, Thailand. Frozen strawberries, chocolate ice cream, and whipped cream adorned mine as we ate above the Mitski chocolate shop in El Bolson. This was after we walked through the craft market and bought bread and pastries at the bakery.

A rectangular pool was put up here at Cerro Amigos, and Ethan played soccer with the owners’ grandkids. Mother also got us to do some schoolwork today, which we’d been avoiding for the past few days.

Dad commented on how odd it is to be in the chocolate capital of the Southern Hemisphere, and here we are, eating Swiss chocolate that we bought in Dubai.

Ciao!

Strays and Stamps

We drove alllllllllllllll the way from Bariloche to El Bolson today. It wasn’t that far, actually, only about 130 kilometers. It took a long time because we had several stops. First, we rode a ski chairlift up Cerro Campanario to the top, where we had a good view of Lago Nahuel Huapi Parque Nacional and San Carlos de Bariloche. Ethan bought some postcards but decided not to buy stamps at the moment because it cost forty pesos (about six dollars) for one postcard stamp. The postcards cost five pesos each.

Ethan and I tried to befriend the small cats. There was one at the bottom of the chairlift and one at the top. There were also lots of stray dogs, but there are those everywhere.

Our next stop was Lago Moreno, where Ethan went swimming and Mom and I went wading. I had meant to jump from rock to rock with my shoes on, but my left foot slipped and I decided to hop back to shore. Ethan got my sandals from the car.

We took the scenic loop, passing (apparently) one of the best hotels in the world. Then we drove to El Bolson. Part of the road was blocked off by police, so we took the straighter shortcut. As we drove through the Andes in our bright red Fiat Siena, we munched on cookies, crackers, and hard candies. We finally got to El Bolson, and after some difficulties managed to find our accommodations. There is an empty pool here and lots of thirsty mosquitoes.

Ciao!