January 14, 2008 – Kate's Thoughts Leaving Argentina

This is Kate giving the last dispatch from Mendoza.  For the last two days “vacation Mendoza” has been enjoyable to say the least, with warm summer temperatures and clear skies in Argentina’s wine country. Our frost-nipped faces, chapped lips and crusty noses are hard to ignore.  We know we must look funny to the tourists from around South America and the world who are also on “vacation” here.  A mountaineer’s post expedition vacation is different however – we still feel our faces aching from the wind, cold and dryness from the high mountains.

Favourite topics, besides where we will eat next, include discussing how to treat various areas of our bodies that still show signs from the expedition’s rigors.  They are a visual reminder that we shared an experience as a team.  Each of us is still distracted by the rich experiences and the sights we saw up high.  We have shared experiences, but we all have personal memories that are ours alone.

Every night I would write a “Wally – ism” down in my journal, some comments that he made that day, often one that seemed small but that really resonated with me:

                “We are here to climb Aconcagua”

This is very true, but success means something different for each of us.  I have been higher than I have ever been before and I have matched a personal goal.

                “One step at a time.”

This was an expedition taken one step at a time.  Each day presented different challenges and there were ups and downs, but day by day, step by step, we made it together.

                “The mountains are always changing”

Big changes like rockslides of lava, small changes like weather.

I think our accomplishments will be in a state of flux for each of us as we leave Argentina and re-enter our lives elsewhere.

Once Phillip’s feet heel, once Nathan returns to the passions of his life, the “A’s” and once John has resumed his busy travels and work life.  Our perceptions and the feelings of accomplishment and achievement have perhaps not all been assimilated yet. 

“The gift that keeps on giving” will continue, and we are leaving Mendoza thinking already of when we might share our next adventure together, we are not thinking about “goodbye” just yet.

Kate sharing her thoughts after the climb

Enjoying Mendoza’s great food and recovering from such a demanding trip

Nathan enjoying sunset from tent

John who was responsible for putting together this great group

Philip, always warmly dressed

John and Kate enjoy hot drinks at Camp II

Nathan and Philip on the Summit

Our team!

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22,841 feet
6962 meters