Tag Archives: Futaleufu

Futaleufu Day

I lived in the Casita de Masaje. The one-room structure hid in the wild brush and trees that grew tall along the little stream running through camp. To the right of my little hut sat the vegetable barn. Every morning between 7:00 and 7:15, I heard the wooden door to the vegetable barn scrape the concrete floor as someone opened it gathering fruit for breakfast. At 7:30 my alarm sounded.  I got up and trekked a hundred yards to the bathrooms across the field to wash my face.  Then I trekked back to my casita, put on my yoga clothes, and gathered what I needed to lead the flow for the morning. I carried my backpack with yoga notebook, phone, and insulated mug to the kitchen to fill my cup with coffee or tea and to prepare coffee or tea for the sleeping clients to whom I would give a wake-up call as their tent captain.

At the beginning of the trip, most people were already awake when I arrived to wake them, but toward the trip’s end, I was most often greeted by silence when I brought them their drink of choice. I would whisper good morning, set down their drinks, and quietly leave to go to the yoga deck. Some of my favorite moments came next.

I sat up my yoga mat and did my own practice overlooking the Futaleufu River. Many times I stood with my hands in Angeli Mudra just breathing and taking in the scene of the morning; thanking God for the opportunity to be right where I was. Then, clients began to arrive, trickling in slowly, setting up their double mats, and taking in the beauty as well. Mornings usually started crisply with the sun still tucked behind the crevice of the mountains.  But as we moved through warriors, mountain poses, and downward dogs, rays of light started to shine above the “v” where the two sides of the valley came together. As we ended, and I led the class into savasana, the sun fully shone (if it wasn’t cloudy) and each body lying flat on the ground received the warmth of those rays. I (usually with help) offered lavender eye pillows and adjustments for anyone who wanted to receive them. When savasana ended, we thanked each other for the practice, rolled up the mats, and went to the “breakfast of champions”.

The breakfast spread usually included homemade granola, homemade yogurt, homemade breads, homemade jams, eggs, meat, fruit, and whatever else might randomly appear. It really was a breakfast of champions. Everyone ate heartily as the trip leader discussed the day’s events and choices for activity. After a few questions for clarity, the group broke to prep for the days water adventures. Those adventures might include rafting Class III, IV, or V rapids with a guide and a team; captaining a single-person ducky (inflatable kayak); or horseback riding to a waterfall.

Ducky Day on the Rio Azul
Ducky Day on the Rio Azul

After a full day on the river, everyone returned to camp to either relax in the wood-fired hot tub, have a drink and appetizers at the bar (or both), or take a nap (or all three!) Staff and guests drank, ate, and chatted together watching the sun set behind the mountains, the river reflecting the light. Then the bell rang for dinner, and everyone gathered in the dining area for the first course: hot soup. Following the soup, the concinieras (cooks) set the large table with a grand buffet, and the main meal was served. Indian night, Mexican night, Italian night, Peruvian night, Chilean night, Argentinian night; every night had a different food theme. Everyone ate at the big community table, drinking wine and talking. Conversations became connections for friendship at dinner. I heard discussions on God, religion, jobs, adventures, broken bones, broken hearts, kids, grandkids, and much more. The conversations continued through dessert. Sometimes dessert turned into drinks which sometimes turned into a big dance party. Other times, campfires and guitar pickin’ followed dessert. Of course sometimes sleep followed dessert and nothing more. At the end of the day, everyone went to their tents (large canvas tents with real beds and feather duvets) to rest for what would come the following day.

Fu Hot Tub and Bar
Fu Hot Tub and Bar

What a sweet treat to have so many days on the Fu, meeting incredible people and experiencing great adventure. One of the guests wrote the following impactful words and shared them with me:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, and a stranger into a friend.”

I am truly grateful.

First Futaleufu Month

My Futaleufu River time has started and is already nearing the end.  I am completely enchanted by this place. The turquoise Futaleufu River winds through black shale-like rock walls with lush foliage everywhere. Rafters and kayakers from around the world come to this river to navigate the white water. I came to teach yoga and absorb the South American culture. The first week I stayed in the Bio Bio camp in the orchard up on the hill behind the Tias’ house. Every day I would cross the little bridge over the stream of runoff that waters the Tias’ farm. Every day a mother hen with her little chicks ran from me through the tall grass to safety. The trees dropped sour apples. The sheep called to each other across the yard, and Tia Nellie yelled at Gary (their new puppy) for jumping on somone or for stealing shoes or for some other puppy antics. I could walk 50 feet to be at the yoga deck that overlooked the Futa River and Macheta mountain. The boards of the large yoga deck warp upward toward the sun making yoga on one mat uncomfortable but two mats inviting. I always go early to do my own practice before teaching. There’s no need for music with the river, birds, and animals all contributing to the song that surrounds the Futa. The chill of the morning makes my bare feet cold,  but as I work through sun salutations, warriors, and arm balances, my body warms and the sun starts to peak through the mountains facing the back of the platform. Mountains surround this place, and clouds constantly play through the cracks and creases to create mysterious and ever-changing settings. Sometimes the clouds rest on the water like a blanket or a smoke screen until the sun arrives to chase them. If it’s cloudy, they stay all day. Many days it is cloudy and rainy and deep sinking cold settles into the bones. On those days, we sit in the wood-fired hot tub or sauna to remove the chill. Actually, we sit in the wood-fired hot tub any day we can. If it’s too hot, then we rope swing or rock jump into the refreshing waters of the Fu, swim to the stairs, walk through the bar, and go back to the hot tub. Hot cold hot cold hot cold. Smiles. Laughter. I’ve been the bar tender. I’ve been the fire watcher. I’ve been the yoga teacher. I’ve been the dish washer. Whatever needs to be done, you do. It’s a training ground for life and good living – appreciating people and the moments you have. People discuss this concept all the time but rarely do it well. Here, it is the only way. Wi-Fi doesn’t exist in camp. Cell phones are used for cameras, alarms, and flash lights; otherwise, they’re pretty useless. You don’t see everyone on a cell phone here like in the States. People talk to each other. Lively conversation is shared just like the meat, food, and drink, and when people say the party starts at 5pm, it’s acceptable to arrive at 8p or 9p or later. Come whenever…as long as you come. Being here, being present, that’s what is important.