Thursday, May 10, 2012

Outside Adventure Grant - $10,000 Essay

Below is a copy of the essay I will be entering into the Outside Adventure Grant Contest for $10,000 to put towards a trip. If I make the final cut you will be able to vote on facebook to help me become the winner. The essay must explain what your trip is and what makes it worthy of the grant in 500 words or less. Mine is exactly 500 words.

Outside Adventure Grant Essay

For many years I have dreamed of visiting the Chilean Fjords and Patagonia. Throughout my travels around the world I invariably meet other backpackers that have done amazing adventures. I hope that with the help of the $10,000 Outside Adventure Grant I will finally be able to make this vision a reality.

My goal is to bike and packraft from Puerto Montt, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. I plan to create a documentary of my project outlining the highs and lows of my adventure. The intent is to inspire others to face their fears and follow their dreams.

My endeavor will be spent backcountry camping and eating over a campfire stove. This epic journey will be environmentally friendly as I will be self-propelled only with the use of my arms and legs. My gear will be recharged with the use of specialized equipment on my bike and solar packs.

My mode of transportation will be a pack raft and touring bike. A pack raft is a light weight, durable, easily inflatable raft weighing about 5 lbs. They are very maneuverable and can hold a great amount of weight, including my bike and other essential equipment. This will allow me to navigate the fjords of Chile, cross the lake district from Puerto Varas, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina, and ultimately reach my final destination.

When I reach Bariloche, Argentina I will be using a bike to ride Route 7 south, also known as the Carretera Austral, to Villa O’Higgins, Chile. The route is roughly 1,240 kilometers of mostly unpaved roads known as ripio. This route usually consists of ferry crossings, but with my raft I should be able to manage these with no trouble.

For much of this trip I will be isolated from civilization, days without contact from other people. One mishap and that could be the end, of me.

Villa O’Higgins is not the end of the line. From here I must criss-cross back and forth into Chile and Argentina as I head south. My projected route will pass numerous National Parks and delicate ecosystems. Some of the highlights will include Puerto Natales, Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres del Paine, and Tierra del Fuego.

Once again I will be alone, just a man and his thoughts.

I anticipate this entire journey will take about two months.

Determining the costs of such an adventure is quite complex. I anticipate purchasing an Alpacka Pack Raft for $850. A durable and lightweight paddle, the Sawyer, will be about $295. The bike I intend to purchase is a custom-built Thorn Nomad which runs about $4,500 after shipping. For food I am budgeting $400 as most of this will be purchased in grocery stores. Water filter from Katadyn is $289. A titanium cook set from Snow Peak is $85. Panniers for my bike will be $400. Solar Packs from Brunton will be about $589. The flight to and from Puerto Montt and Ushuaia is roughly $2,000 after the transporting of gear. For a grand total of $9,408.

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