Tierra Inexplorada:
Traverse in the Land of Ayacara
November 1998: Outdoor Life Network American Adventure Productions

Six adventurers embark on a journey to traverse an unexplored region of rivers, jungles, mountains and glaciers in Southern Chile. The journey ends up as a full scale epic. Stephen Linaweaver wrote and published a story about the expedition. Stephen's story follows. Michael has a few additions to the story to describe parts of the adventure and the film project.

Michael Brown's additions:
The Tyrolean Traverse
The Blue Lake
Rio Blanco Portage

Stephen Linaweaver's Story: Page 1

Page 2 Chile
Page 3 First Ascent
Page 4 Inexplorado
Page 5 Rio Blanco
Page 6 The Farm house

Michael Brown
If you are an actor, you dream of your big break in Hollywood or Broadway. If you are a writer, you dream of being published, of seeing your name in print in bookstores or on magazine stands across the country.

< Photo by Stephen's self timer.
Back row: Chris Haaland, David Kashinski, Michael Brown (standing), Stephen Linaweaver.  Front row: Don Elias and his wife Aidé, Mark Howe, and Pablo Sándor.

But if you are a rock climber, a mountaineer, or a river runner, you dream of one day making a first ascent or first descent in one of the last wild places of the Earth. And in that dream, if you are really lucky, someone else pays for it.

Last October, I got lucky.

I had just moved to Aspen, Colorado when I met Michael Brown, a documentary filmmaker who is also an avid climber and kayaker. After swapping a few boating war stories, Mike casually mentioned to me that he was putting together an expedition to Chile and was looking for another kayaker to join the trip. He would be filming the trip for the Outdoor Life Network, who, incidentally, would be paying for the entire excursion. Could I go? After mulling it over for 6 nanoseconds, I replied calmly, "Well, I will have to check my schedule, but I think I can squeeze it in." Twenty days later, I was on a fourteen-hour LanChile flight from Los Angeles to Santiago de Chile, temporarily dreaming no longer.

When you touch down on the slender, 3,000 mile-long coastal nation of Chile, an overwhelming feeling comes over you, like an elephant sitting on your back. As you stare out into the clean air of the underside of the planet, it is difficult to shake this foreboding thought: "Why, oh why, did I study French and not Spanish?" Please, if you are currently a student, whether it be High School, College, or other, take some advice.

Learn Spanish. Studies show that approximately 99% of the world's population speaks Spanish, and in the next ten years most of them will be working or living with you. Now I am sure that there are some perfectly nice French people out there (actually, I am sure there are not), but that is irrelevant. Learn Spanish. When you arrive in Chile, you will meet ten of the most beautiful women you have ever seen in your life, and that is before you clear customs. Of those 10 women, roughly ten of them will speak no English at all, and saying "Francois le Seve va a la bibliotheque" will get you nowhere. So while one of our team members spoke adequate Spanish, the rest of us just faded into the background like nervous seventh graders at a mixer, wishing we had never met "Francois le Seve" in the first place, and wondering how we would ever clear customs.

Continue to Page 2

Michael Brown
A bunch of unclimbed peaks
©Michael Brown
All photos are thumbnails, click to enlarge.

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