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Marc and Laurence turn 40!

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Laurence
Alvarez and Marc Goddard both turned 40 last week. Laurence and Marc
met when they were 13 and have been running rivers ever since! At 40
they are still at it and plan to run the Middle Fork of the Feather this
weekend. Marc plans to guide the Cotahuasi on July 3rd. Please click on
the link below to see a fun slide show on the history of the friendship
of Marc and Laurence and friends along the way!

Bio Bio Blog is up and running!

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The Bio Bio Blog is up and running.
Enjoy stories, last minute trip specials and stay in the Bio Bio loop!
Check for weekly updates, exciting photos, expedition news and whats new
with the Bio Bio family and friends!

Why Bio Bio Expeditions?

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Bio Bio Expeditions was created by Marc Goddard and Laurence Alvarez-Roos, both from California, as a way to bring people to their favorite rivers in the world. They have been international guides since 1988 and were both members of World Champion rafting Team California. It is their passion to lead people to some of the world’s most wild and beautiful places. They accomplish this safely and with the input from and respect for the local cultures. They introduce different parts of the world to their guests and impart a love of adventure, travel, culture, and the environment. Marc or Laurence is on every trip because this is what they love to do.

Bio Bio’s signature trip is in Chile on the Futaleufu river. The Patagonia region of southern Chile is like the Montana of the 1920’s. The Futaleufu River valley is in the heart of this rugged setting where the families live a traditional ranching lifestyle. Bio Bio Expeditions has created their own retreat in this inspiring setting with the goal of bringing the adventure traveler to the heart of Patagonia. The base camp created, with the assistance of our Chilean neighbors, is a place where the active traveler can get their fill of adrenaline sports and relaxation. The Futaleufu River is world renowned as one of the best whitewater rivers in the world and was the site of the 2000 International Whitewater Championships. The guests spend their summer day rafting spectacular, big whitewater and evenings in the outdoor hot tub watching the river drift by or sipping Chilean wine in the sunset bar. They can enjoy Yerba Mate tea with a Patagonian family after a morning of fly-fishing and mountain biking and have our massage therapist soothe their sore muscles after a hot, relaxing sauna. This is paradise for the adventure traveler who loves to enjoy many different sports in a remote and pristine wilderness setting, but you do not have to compromise on comforts or amenities.

Besides Chile, Bio Bio Expeditions runs trips on the Zambezi River in Africa, the Katun in Siberia, Cal Salmon in northern California, and the Apurimac and Cotahuasi Rivers in Peru. Furthermore, they have expanded to a limited number of trekking trips including Kilimanjaro and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. For more information, contact Marc Goddard at marc@bbxrafting.com

Sourcing locally

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Challenging to get to and even harder to leave, our
beloved Futaleufu River Valley is a paradise of self-sustaining natural bounty.
 We’ve made it an essential part of our
lifestyle here at Bio-Bio Expeditions;
to tap into the local abundance while re-using the goods we bring in from afar.

Here’s what we’re doing to use less, re-use more, and source as much as we can
from, as close as possible:

– The brainchild of our ever-resourceful South African river legend Stan
Ricketts, Stan makes yogurt daily with milk from cows just up the road.  Even more impressive, Stan’s first batch of
yogurt started with just one little single-serving yogurt cup (to get the biotic process of turning
milk into yogurt going) and local milk.  For each successive batch, Stan
uses a small portion of the previous day’s batch as a starter and then adds the
fresh, local milk.   At the end of the
season, even though we’ll have made and eaten gallons of yogurt, Stan will have
only used that one little plastic cup of yogurt to make a season’s worth of his
creamy goodness.  That’s a lot of plastic
yogurt cups and bags saved from going into our nearby landfill.  Stan’s delicious yogurt, along with our
homemade granola and fresh fruit, is an indispensable part of our daily
breakfast of champions.


– Diego Valsecchi, our Argentinian-Italian wine maker and class V guru,
recently procured half a cow from a ranch a mere 10 minute walk away from camp,
and butchered it himself.  Along with our
end-of-the trip traditional Patagonian asado that features all-day cooked
cordero and chancho (lamb and pig) from other nearby ranches, we’re proud and thankful
that more and more of our meat feeds on Futaleufu Valley grass and roams free
in our valley right before we get to enjoy it.

– Nelly and Ximena, the lovely ladies at the top of the hill who Lorenzo and
Marc bought the land from to build our camp on nearly 20 years ago, still bake
our bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – fresh every day.  Whether a whole grain breakfast loaf,
light-as-air lunch rolls, or their famous cinnamon buns, Nelly and Ximena’s
breads keep us fueled up for the day.

– All of our buildings in camp feature wood and stone from the plentiful
forests, river, and creeks that surround our camp.  With the Futaleufu River as our choice wood
sculptor, we’re keen driftwood collectors and the river’s finest pieces have
homes all over camp in furniture, fences, and buildings.

– If it’s green and we eat it here in Futa, you can bet that it either came
from our on-site garden or a thriving greenhouse belonging to one of our
fabulous kitchen staff.  It’s hard to
find a home in the Futaleufu Valley without a vegetable garden, and we’d be
silly not to use the nutritious and delicious herbs and lettuces grown right
here in the rich Futaleufu Valley soil, by default organic!

– Why sit on a cold wooden bench when you could lounge on a thick, cloud-like
sheepskin made from the hide and wool of local sheep?  When you pull up a bench by the fire or for
dinner, that’s the kind of luxury your derriere receives.  It’s also a rare day in Futa when you can’t
find a Bio Bio guide sporting wool clothing made by a local artisan who, with
hand-spun wool from their own sheep, sew beautiful hats, socks, vests,
sweaters, ponchos, and much more.

– We’re succeeding in turning all of our food waste back into food!  Our food waste is either composted into soil
to grow vegetables and herbs in our garden, or fed to our pigs housed in our
adjoining chacra (pigpen).  We’re trying not to get too
attached to our pigs as we’re looking forward to making homemade sausage and
bacon in the upcoming months.


– Lorenzo has tried for years to have our used bottles and cans taken to a
responsible recycling center but has yet to find a willing recycler who will
travel from Futaleufu to mainland Chile, where recycling does happen!  Instead of sending our bottles and cans to the
local landfill, we’ve built the walls of our onsite brewery out of beer cans
(the more you drink the faster we build!).  And, we recently purchased a glasscutter and
are churning out candle and flower vases as well as cocktail and water glasses
from our used beer and wine bottles as fast as we can.

– If it seems as if it can’t get any better, we’re brewing the soon-to-be
world-famous FuBrew right here out of our brand new brewery with local
ingredients.  In the time it takes to
down an ice-cold mug of FuBrew in the hot Patagonian summer, we can deliver a
freshly brewed keg from our brewery to the tap at our riverside bar…that’s as good
as it gets!

We’re quite proud of what we’re doing to support local farmers, ranchers, and
craftsmen and women as well as our own creative efforts to make and re-use
everything we can.  Come see and taste it
all for yourself this summer (winter, in the Northern Hemisphere) at our luxurious
riverside camp on the one-and-only Futaleufu River in the heart of Patagonia!

-Cooper Freeman

The ‘Why’ of Ultralight

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I pack to capacity, no matter the occasion or size of
bag.  I fill it even if it may not be
necessary, I always find last minute things to pop into my bag.  Ultralight backpackers would probably either
keel over reading this, shake their heads or see me as the perfect candidate
for an ultralight makeover.  Luckily, I
am self-aware of my ‘packing problem’ and jumped at the opportunity to go to a
talk in the area.  After all, who could really resist attending
an event called: “Beer + Gear | Spotlight on Ultralight Backpacking”, especially when the proceeds go to the Pacific Crest Trail Association?  What I soon found out is that the ultralight
philosophy can be applied to not just backpacking, but really any variety of
packing. 

Hosted at the Cedar House Hotel in Truckee, CA, we were
greeted, pointed to the beer (and tasty apps) portion of the event and mingled
with fellow participants and the speaker himself – Glen Van Peski.  Glen is a native Californian who enjoys
tromping around the trails in the western states, and sometimes finds himself
on the east coast too.  He started sewing
his own ultralight backpacks and gear, which in turn was the beginning of his
pack and gear company, 
Gossamer Gear
Quipped by one writer as the ‘guru of ultralight’, we found out why this
was after we grabbed our drinks, a cookie and took a seat.

What did we learn during that time in the conference room
with movie, talk and Q & A period? 
The why, how and precautions of going ultralight.  For this post, let’s focus on the why.

Lite, light, feather-weight, ultralight…the list goes on to
describe adjectives many companies use to market their products.  Why is lighter necessarily better?  To use the lyrics from the musical duo Daft
Punk: ‘…better, faster, stronger’.

Carrying less weight is easier on your body, plain and
simple.  We were told a story of 80+ year
old grandparents that had embraced ultralight backpacking.  They were in the woods for a week-long trip
and only left the trail not from sore knees, backs or blisters, but because
they had to attend a grandchild’s wedding. 
Shed pounds from your pack and you can add years to your backpacking
days.

Less weight allows you to go farther: your muscles and
joints aren’t having to compensate for the extra pounds you’re carrying.  Therefore, you can go farther into the
backcountry, log more miles on your hike and get more out of your weekend,
week, or month trip.

Lastly, going light helps in an emergency situation.  If you or someone in your group gets injured
and you have lighter, less gear, you increase your ability to travel faster
and/or help carry someone else’s gear. 

Next up: how you can go lighter.  You may be asking yourself if it costs an arm
and a leg.  As with most gear, you could
spend a good portion of winning lottery tickets getting the greatest and
lightest gear.  On the other side of the
spectrum, you may already have what you need to go lighter in your camping
quiver.  

Insight into Travel Insurance

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Insurance isn’t fun. 
We get that; especially because we love having fun.  So why on earth are we writing about travel
insurance in the hopes that you may find it interesting?  Well, we are often asked the very personal
question of whether or not to purchase travel insurance.  What do you recommend?  Who do you recommend?  Unfortunately, there isn’t a straight answer.  Even if you come to the decision of
purchasing travel insurance, you then need to choose the level of
coverage.  The only sure thing that we do
know is that those who have used it to recoup thousands of vacation dollars due
to unexpected circumstances, have been more than happy for their decision.

The other day we found an article from Frommer’s that helps
to delve a bit into the question of whether  to roll the dice without insurance or hedge
your bet.  It’s a short one that looks
into when you may want to get insurance, points out a few resources that may
give you a false sense of security (homeowners insurance, credit card company coverage,
etc.) and how the industry is changing to include more in your policy.

Nope, insurance for most people would most
likely not be classified under ‘glamorous’, but it is something that we
globetrotters have to think about every now and then. 

Click here for the article: Frommer’s Primer on Travel Insurance

Update on HidroAysen

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Update on HidroAysen –

  

We were only 3 short weeks into 2014 when Chilean
environmentalists received some of what will likely be the best news of the year
and river lovers around the world and all of us here at BBX let out a deep sigh
of relief.  

HidroAysen, the controversial hydroelectric project
that proposes to construct five mega dams in Chilean Patagonia, has been put on
hold yet again… and this time it may be permanent.  Now Endesa Chile (who owns
51% of HidroAysen) claims that legal challenges and uncertainty
surrounding the dams’ transmission lines are why the project has been moved from
short to medium term priority in Endesa’s most recent investment holders
report.

The hydroelectric project has faced heavy opposition
from the start as it would threaten two of the far South’s most wild and scenic
rivers, the Baker and the Pascua, and forever alter the surrounding wild lands
and local communities. Also, many claim the project to be too high risk.  So, it
is no surprise that many Chileans are opposed.  

The project appears to be steadily losing support
over the years.  In 2012, Colbún (Chile’s third largest private electric company
that owns 49% of HidroAysen) halted work on their side of the dam citing lack of
funding and public and political support of the project and now Endesa is
putting the project on an indefinite hold.

Which is great! But it’s not a done deal. The hope
now is that renewable energy sources will become more available and better
developed over the next few years while there is a government in office that
opposes of the project so that  when HidroAysen rears it’s ugly head again, it
will been viewed as irrelevant and passé.

So today, we celebrate this milestone and embrace
Endesa’s announcement to put HidroAysen on the shelf.  Let’s cross our fingers
that wind from the south and/or solar from the north can find its way into
Chile’s power equation for the future and that the wild beauty and cultural
heritage of Chilean Patagonia will be preserved.

The Proud, The Few, of the Futaleufu

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For this past ‘Talent/No Talent Show’ at
the Bio Bio Expeditions camp on the Futaleufu River, the talented Mr. Rich Roberts graced us
with his documentation of his week via an ode to this special place
on the globe.  Paddle hard, smile and ENJOY!

The Proud, The Few, of the Futaleufu

By Rich RobertsFu Waters

Somewhere really faraway

Past Paraguay and Uruguay

We traveled for a venture stay

Way down the length of Argentine

And a mere cab ride into Chile.

We gather with folks we barely
knew

To do those things that only the
Few (Fu)

Who have the guts, the courage
and the right guides can do

All in search of that perfect line…on
The Futaleufu.

We raided the shelves back home at
the REI

And had 6 hours of VET class everyday
– no lie

We gathered logs for the brew
house and then

We drank 40 more beers so the
walls won’t be thinDining Hall Fu Style

I raise my glass to BIO BIO for
putting this curse on us

To head back home now and bust
our ass to do what we must

Come back and rejoin The Proud
and the Few (FU)

Who have run that perfect line on
The Futaleufu.

We fished and rode horseback and
ate just like Kings

We hot tubbed and late partied
and took chances on swings

As strangers we gathered, we
depart now as friends

All bonded together by that means
to an end

That inner quest for the
challenge – The raw fear

The great fight – The hunger, The
need, to do what we do

In search of that perfect line…on
The Futaleufu.