For me, some vacations go by in a blink of an eye, but I am keeping the memories of this journey very close. My boots are by the back door still touched with volcanic ash, I've come to know my backpack has better organizing pockets than my purse and I've caught myself deeply breathing in the campfire smell that lingers on my wool hat.
Patagonia is such a magical place. I had seen pictures on the Internet, but words cannot describe the beauty there. It was wonderful to be in the company of the mountains, the river, the amazing guides and the other women.
On the hike to Tree Tops camp, I was animated with emotions and would burst into song: I sang river lyrics, songs about long roads, songs about being "so excited." Looking down on the river (such a pure turquoise color), I was overwhelmed and thought, “How fortunate am I to experience this?” Every breath, every heartbeat and every step was so full of life.
Earth River's co-owner, Robert Currie, and the other guides made me feel like I was a strong hero every step of the way—up and down. They were relaxed, smiled confidently and had thorough explanations of each sporty challenge. I could feel how passionate they are about their jobs.
When I came home and started planning the spring menu for my restaurant, it struck me that the trip to the "Fu" was like a great recipe: Combine a group of women of different ages from different places who seem to already know each other; put them in one of the most spectacular places on earth, add phenomenal world-class guides, delicious local food and wine; season with a dash of adventure here and there; and stir it all up in a wood-fired hot tub after a full day of action, unbelievable experiences and a whole lot of laughs.
This journey truly filled me up. It was much more than I had expected and I can't wait to go back in 2012. -- Chris
ps. Chris and Diane are hosting a get-together at 101, Chris's restaurant in Rowayton, CT, on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 pm. Everyone is welcome! Please bring a friend and join us to learn more about Private Journeys' 2012 adventures.