Hot Springs, Getting our Hiking Merit Badge, Trying to Cook Food

comments 4

So yesterday we went to a local hot springs to hang out and soak our bodies in the luke warm water.  Gavin decided that it would be fun to swim around all the people – who were all stationary in the hot springs – oh well “tourista’s”.  The hot springs were about a 40 minute drive away so we spent the afternoon there and came back later than expected.  In Chile they sell “carbon” for charcoal – it’s not charcoal but basically pre-burned wood that you get going again.  I decided that our gourmet evening would be rice, marinated chicken and some pico-de-gallo that Hayden had made.   In my mistake, when I was at the store I purchased the largest chicken breasts I’ve seen in a long time (even bigger than Costco) – I was actually thinking, “Did I get turkey by mistake?”.  Anyway – I started the grill – hoping it would be shorter than the place in Las Cruces (1.5 hours) to cook our food.  Well let me tell you at 1.5 hours I was staring at some semi-raw chicken – so I covered in foil and 2 hours later we had dinner.  Cindy doesn’t think we were quite at 180F for the internal temperature – but well that’s ok.  She was in charge of the rice on the stove – we’re not used to making rice on the stove – we have a rice cooker… about 20 minutes after the rice had started I’m smelling this burning smell in the house – yikes – well let’s say our rice had a nice smoky flavor.  Ever seen the movie BirdCage with Robin Williams?  There’s a great scene in there where their chef/house boy brings out his soup and everyone takes a bite – then immediately everyone goes for the bread on the table – if I put bread on the table… you get the idea.


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Hiking – Getting our Merit Badge

The boys and I are involved in Scouts in the USA and wanting to continue our rank advancements/merit badges.  Gavin just crossed over into scouts and so we can all work on similar things.  Last night Cindy and the boys started the Hiking merit badge – where you have to do 5-10 mile hikes, and 1-20 mile hike.   Since we are hiking almost every other day it makes sense to knock it out.  Well last night they mapped out their hike, wrote down what they needed to bring and planned out everything while I was cooking.  They planned a 16KM/10mi hike for us to do today.  Last night when falling asleep I asked Cindy – “Do you know the one part of that trail has 1040 meters of vertical gain? – that’s like 3200 feet or something…”  She replied with “I thought it was feet” – yikes!

So we proceeded to this great park Huerquehue  – hike is called Los Lagos.  The best part is that it was almost always covered with trees/shade – so very comfortable.  You ascend easily from where you park – with not much gain at all – then all of a sudden you’re looking up at the hill going whoa! this is steep.  So we became mountain goats for about 2.5 hours doing switch backs – in some spots they had built wooden walkways to cover the trail and help with erosion control.   We worked with Gavin on his scout badge advancement and knowing the Scout Oath and Law – and just getting his feelings on what it means to be a scout.  It’s so interesting when you have lots of time to talk with your kids and no one is rushing off to do anything.  Overall it was a very nice hike – although I am glad we are done with it now.  At the top there are several very beautiful lakes – some people were swimming – some camping.  We met some nice people from Montana and New York who are here visiting.  The people from Montana (older than us by far) are staying in a tent down the road and are here fishing different lakes, hiking around, etc.  Very cool indeed.


This is the view from one of the lookout points of the hike. Note that this is not the top – you start the hike below the lake below.


Another huge tree – they have lots of dead trees but also many huge live ones.


the boys standing next to the base of one of the trees – a small one!


The entrance to our park


Looking ‘down’ the trail – the vertical is pretty good at some spots.


Looking back/up the trail.


Looking out at one of the lakes on our hike – note this lake is 3000′ higher than the other lake we left.


Gavin leading the charge.


Taking a break for a sandwich and snacks at Lago Verde after making the 4 KM climb up.


Lago Verde – note the cool tree in the background. These are here at higher elevations – they are really need, extremely tall and have this high canopy reaching out into the sky.


Crossing the bridge.


Throwing sticks in the lake – after sword fighting.


Parking it next to Lago Verde and getting some rest/snacks.


Gavin and I walking the trail.


After the big hike taking a snack break at the local Empanadas place. Queso & Jamon )(cheese and ham). Plus the boys have found “milkshake” on the menu…


Mote con Huesillo – this is an interesting local drink that I’m becoming fond of. It’s sort of like tea – but it’s oatmeal and a fruit – I think it’s apricot – in it. You drink it and eat the oatmeal, etc. It’s pretty tasty.


Yesterday it was cool (raining) in the a.m. – today it was 82F and hotter – not a cloud in the sky.

It looks like we are also changing our itinerary a bit – more on that later.


  1. moorefamilyweare says

    Love the pictures of your hike! An impressive challenge, but looked worth it. Wanted to share a little cooking tip you may have figured out already. You can pound out a thick piece of meat to cook faster.

    We love following your travels and adventures.



    • Thanks erin – agreed that pounding flat will help… also wrapping in foil might do the trick – of course I could always add 2 bags of carbon to the mix and make one raging bbq@!


  2. i can’t tell you guys how much i enjoy reading your posts. thank you so much for sharing.. your photographs and stories lend a much broader perspective to this mama at home with two young children. what a wonderful way to widen the lens… much love to you all. the way you all roll and flow within these experiences is inspiring and courageous..

    ms. leetz


  3. Granddad says

    Hello Sweethearts, I think Gavin has a future as a writer. He is really wonderful! Your pictures are sensational. You all might think of doing a travel book for people who would like to do the same things.

    We survived the two year old birthday party last night. Even Elmo showed up. Today will be more restful as we get ready for football later today. I hope it is a repeat of last year’s game. Your dad now has a Russell Wilson jersey so we will look like Seahawks fans today.

    We love you very much and are enjoying your travels with you. Love, Mom and Grandma


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