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Across the Andes Finishes

Across the Andes hikers Gregg Treinish and Deia Schlosberg have completed the inaugural trek across the continent of South America.

Hikers Gregg Treinish and Deia Scholsberg have completed what must truly have been a life changing epic voyage – 20 months of overland trekking from Ecuador, all the way through to the tip of South America Tierra del Fuego. Featured on this website, their perseverance while trudging, rambling and climbing through the Andes is an inspiring message to all would-be road junkies that there are plenty of unique journeys left in a rapidly homogenizing world of adverts and megastores.

Gregg and Deia met thru-hiking the Appalachian trail, which spans the length of the eastern US seaboard, in 2005. That experience led them to plan and undertake the first known hike to span the South American continent. Beginning in August of 2006, after brushing up on their Spanish in Quito, they set out straight into the Andes attempting to climb peaks like Cotopaxi along the way. They were able to take rest and restocking periods in towns along the way but covered as much of the distance as possible on foot.

Part of their trek was walked in the north-to-south direction, up from Santiago, Chile, through Bolivia, due to wet weather conditions in Peru in early 2007. Facing unknown hiking conditions seasoned them. They confidently finished the last leg from Puerto Natales to Ushuaia on April 17th, 2008, despite warnings of bogs and obstacles. Knowing humans had done the route before meant easy going compared to their usual conditions.

Road Junky will be waiting to watch the movie version of the trek and wondering how well the hikers will be able to adjust to normal society. Considering they were maintaining a Facebook group towards the end of the walk we have a feeling they’ll do okay.

Congratulations to Gregg and Deia for not ending up like Chris McCandless in their quest to push travel to the edge. The words of the philosopher Richard Watson sum up the spirit:

Suicide? Don’t be absurd. They don’t want to die. They don’t intend to die. They choose to do something very difficult right at the limits of human possibility in order to savor the joy and satisfaction of having done it. The risk is essential. It defines how hard it is. Even more, risk of death raises awareness of life to a peak. Socrates said, Know thyself. On the edge we are reminded of our mortality, knowledge of which makes us human.