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Permaculture Farming in Chiloe, Chile

Leading In:  Exploring Solitude

There is comfort in the solitude of exploring a new place alone:  you can be who you want, you can do what you want, your schedule is what you make it, and yet…..the unavoidable sense of isolation from your friends and family and what you identify as the things that mean you are “home” are gone.

I’d embraced wholeheartedly the “Ruta de Volcanes,” hiking up and snowboarding down Antuco, Lonquimay, Villarica, and various others for the previous several months, but I had been on the road–a lot. Moving from place to place every few days and continually planning trips and scouting conditions was beginning to take its toll. As much as I loved discovering new places (or conociendo nuevos lugares), it was time to settle down.

With Christmas fast approaching, but a temporary home base yet to reveal itself, I took the most prudent option in front of me:  I bought a roundtrip ticket back to the States so I could see my family (I’d just figure out later where I’d stay). Now, it was real:  I would be staying in South America for a while.

Musing in the Hammock at Casa Chueca (Talca, Chile)

Talca, in Chile’s VII region, also known as the Maule region, was treating me well. My mission there was to prepare for the longest (and only solo) backpacking trip I’d ever done, which was to be a 17+ mile loop in the Altos de Lircay National Park. In the few days I gathered my senses, gear, and huevos, I took advantage of Casa Chueca’s location to go wine-tasting, sleep in the hammock, and hike around the area.

My second day at the hostel, I walked the rambling grounds just to see what I could find. Earlier that day, I’d already happened upon a baby horse born the night before, a trickling stream hidden in a bramble-covered wash, and a man-made lake with small paddle boats. My instinct told me the surprises wouldn’t end there, and as I rounded the corner of an old adobe building, I came upon fluttering paper flags, strewn between the beams of a courtyard for an unknown special event. I heard a guitar playing softly, and voices carried down a hall. I kept walking.

Franz, Casa Chueca’s co-owner, stood in the courtyard surrounded a group of outdoorsy-looking people, explained to the crowd that they were about to screen the special viewing of a Patagonian-directed and -produced documentary that everyone should move inside the building. When he saw me, he beckoned:  come over, let’s go in. You’ll like this film.

The Growing _____ in Chile


Listening to Jeroen’s talk in San Clemente, Chile

I’ll See you in Chiloe

Alihuen is managed using permaculture principles to undertake sustainable organic agriculture while at the same time working towards large scale conservation measures to improve biodiversity and landscape connectivity in the region. They are rapidly approaching 22,000 trees planted on Alihuen and the effects are noticeable

Alihuen: An Agrarian Conservation Story from ASK on Vimeo.

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