Marriage on the Rocks.

Nice expression, Larry!

As most of you know, I have a perfect marriage – unblemished by conflict, harsh words, or tumultuous struggles for control.

Which is why my husband’s and my recent trip to Argentina came as such a surprise. Yes, there were beautiful strolls around the museums, boulevards and cafes of Buenos Aires….president palace

….fabulous vineyards to visit in Mendoza… Mendoza2…spectacular vistas to marvel over in Bariloche in northern Patagonia… glacier2

…and the relaxing, 19-hour bus rides between them.

(And believe me, you haven’t tested your marriage until you’ve taken a 19-hour bus ride together.)

Sunset on the bus....

Sunset on the bus….

Miles of beautiful nothing ..

Miles of beautiful nothing ..

All was going smoothly, harmoniously, joyfully even. But one treacherous day of climbing in the Patagonian Andes interrupted our perfect idyll with a highly unpleasant marital spat.

The day began on a promising note. We negotiated the (short) bus ride from Bariloche to the trailhead at the base of the ski mountain, and frolicked amidst the wildflowers on the 10 kilometers straight up to Refugio Frey. flowers

I was unwisely wearing new hiking boots, but once Larry ingeniously thought to put a wadded-up map under my heel, my Achilles tendon pain miraculously diminished. When we got to the top, the views were spectacular – with gothic spires of rock and insane rock-climbers making the perfect backdrop for our lunch.

Last smiles for miles.

Last smiles for miles.

(To get a sense of the scale, try to find the people in these pictures!)gothic

can you find the climbersOn the way down, I managed to leave behind Larry’s favorite Coca-Cola hat and we forgot to refill our water bottles, but we weren’t expecting much difficulty. Until we (meaning “I”) made the fateful decision to take a different path back to base, a mere 4 kilometers from the trail’s end. In an unprecedented show of democracy, Larry had turned the decision about our route over to me, and I, in an unprecedented show of accommodation, chose the new route that I thought he wanted to take. And before you could say “spectacularly bad idea,” we were alone on a trail that led nowhere, out of water, me hobbling along in my now excruciating new boots, and with absolutely no sign of the base.

A sign of things to come?

A sign of things to come?

I won’t share with you our conversation as we plunged deeper into unknown territory (this is a family blog) but believe me when I tell you that there was a fair bit of cursing (moi) and glowering with towering blame (Larry) until we finally had to turn around, walk 5 repeat kilometers back to our turnoff, and then trudge, unspeaking and staggering with fatigue, another 6 km. to the base.

We must have looked rather frightening because when we finally bumped into other hikers (an Argentinian family that clearly was not out to ascend any peaks), they practiced all their English on us and ended up driving us the 20 kilometers back to our hotel.

I've never been so happy to sit down!

Our rescue family — our saviors!

The next day, just to prove my point (that’s the kind of wife I am), I visited the mountaineering club that gave us the map showing the “alternate” route down, and the woman guide said to me, “Oh no, you should never take that trail – it’s not going anywhere!”

(Then why the heck is on the map??)

The morning after our bitter mountain debacle, figuring a little “alone time” might be a good idea, Larry went kayaking on the gorgeous Lake of Seven Colors …Route 40 & Lake of 7 Colors

…and I decided to test my mettle and hike alone up the challenging Refugio Lopez. It was a jaunt straight up….

There it is!

There it is– Refugio Lopez!

…to a glorious overlook of the lake (and then straight down).

Gosh, I wonder what "Perdido" means ...

Gosh, I wonder what “Cuidado” means?

I made it to the top in half the expected time – then did the old football side-step all the way down the steep bits to spare my toes the excruciating jarring. I got the bus there and the bus back, despite not being able to speak a speck of Spanish, and felt terribly proud of myself. Larry’s kayak trip was not quite so successful (too much wind and ironically, they’d gone back to the same beach where we had taken the wrong turn off the path) but all in all, we’d both had a good day and decided over dinner and wine to stay married. Me & Larry glacier

Happily ever after all.Sunset

26 thoughts on “Marriage on the Rocks.

  1. And my friends call me “brave” for going for minor saunters into the woods alone ! You are an amazing woman, though I must confess my sympathy is with Larry on your leetle detour. I envy you your good marriage. Such good matches are few and far between.

    • Oh, Sybil — we have one of those fighting marriages … but I guess after 18 years, I’m hopeful that it will last because we actually have a ton of fun together, too. I am a really scaredy-cat hiker, in fact, but always push myself to do more because I love being out there so much. Lovely to hear from you!!

  2. Thank you HA!! for a great story I could so relate to from many aspects! It is the ability to laugh about it later that helps a marriage survive! You both really grabbed my heart when I saw you together at the reunion. Pretty sure you are both in it to the end!! Ha!!

    • Just as long as the end doesn’t include Larry hurling me over a cliff—or vice versa! Thanks for the sweet comment Deb!

  3. Solid as a rock kind of marriage I’d say!! Love it… congratulations you guys made it through…
    BTW, gorgeous scenery….
    bid hugs from Guatemala you two

  4. Great story, Betty. I was imagining both of you repeatedly interrupting your argument to take pictures and comment on the scenery. I’m also glad about the happy ending. Were you able to replace the Coca-Cola hat?

  5. Kudos for making it through the ordeal married. Not sure one of us wouldn’t have left the other one buried somewhere on the desolate, trail-to-nowhere under the same circumstances.

  6. At least you didn’t have to cut off your arm with a blunt Swiss Army knife. All’s well that ends well. Sounds like a lifetime experience, just a bump on the road.

  7. Love it Betty – both your storytelling and your marvelous pictures! (I didn’t know there was such great hiking in Argentina). I think a marriage can survive the bad days filled with blisters and wrong paths, as long as you can both see the humor at the end of the day.

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