The Carretera Austral, Southern Chile (Nick)

Today I ride with giants. At their mercy I travel, etching my way along perilous roads, weaving between alpine lakes. Enduring a rain of cold knives and negotiating endless minefields of pot-holes is all consuming, stretching the bounds of my concentration. I am a pilgrim in this new world, very much aware of my vulnerability. My destiny is held aloft in the jagged spine that shadows my journey. I catch fleeting glimpses of it from time to time; glare from an icy peak, or the reflection on a glass lake. The south is my calling, its beckoning a magnetic pull – attracted to my unfaltering awe. In this land of giants I hold no power, I have no significance, I am no force. My progression is at the mercy of my surrounding environment – scree slopes poised above my every move, deciders of fate. A raw energy emanates from this harsh terrain, subtle beauties coexisting with tremendous statements. The soft haze of rain and mist creates an impressionist canvas for my weary eyes. Grand cascades plummet unrestrained, pouring from mountain creases. Gushing rivers are the very veins in this surreal land, feeding a life-blood of alpine-jade green to the surrounding foothills and low lands, direct from the Andes. No stone lays complacently, no tree rots alone. There is an inspiring interconnectedness here, fueled by the simplicity of rawness. I am a pilgrim in this land, watched by giants. I worship their grace, as they hold my destiny.

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