For the past week I have been staying and the Estancia Maria Behety Lodge on the legendary Rio Grande in the Argentina Tierra del Fuego. The Rio Grande is considered by many to be the best sea run brown trout fishery in the world. The river gains momentum at it´s head waters in the Chile Andes and then stretches roughly 65 miles across the Argentina side of Tierra del Fuego and into the Atlantic ocean. When people in the states measure trout by inches, here the locals yawn at any fish less than 10 lbs. Just the other day a client landed a 27 lbs brown trout. Using a streamer striping method, the twelve visiting clients were regularly landing 15 lbs plus fish. Needless to say the fishing has been just epic.

So I have been away for a while. Let me bring you up to speed. I flew into Ushuaia from Buenos Aires and met up with Mike Mitchalak, the owner of The Fly Shop in Redding, CA. We were picked up by a man by the name of Aljehandro Menendez who then drove us to his 5 star fishing lodge on the Rio Grande. Aljehandro being in his mid-sixties, is the fifth generation Menendez to run the estancia. It was pretty interesting to meet some one with such a well known family history. Currently his 100,000 square kilometer estacia has the world`s largest sheep shearing barn and one of the biggest if not the biggest sheep operations in Argentina. His family was one of the first to establish a ranch on the wind swept Tierra del Fuego. Try googling the Menendez family in Argentina. The guy is a stud.

The ride towards the Rio Grande is comparible to no other place I have ever been. Every where you looked it was like staring at a postcard. Huge blue glaciers, lush meadows, and huge jagged peaks of the last great push of the southern Andes. Aljehandro wasted no time, speeding his way through the mountain passes, veering left and right around tight turns and punched the peddle to accelarate past a police car. “They never pull you over for speeding,“ he says, “We have fish to catch.“

I am alive and well and having an absolute blast at the end of the world. The unfortunate realities of being in such a remote and magical place is that it lacks reliable internet service. This is the reason that I have been unable to post anything for the last week or so. I will be in the sticks for one more week then I will be able to update and catch back up with my daily postings. I promise to bring the blog up to speed soon. Tight lines, -M

After a great week of meeting some amazing people and exploring a truely amazing city. I said goodbye to BA and left for Ushuaia. Tomorrow I will travel to Rio Grande for some of the best sea run brown trout fishing in the world.

So. Yeah pretty gross pictures. After a two week bout with stubborness, I gave into my discomfort and went into the hospital to have surgery on a really bad in-grown toenail. It is a very different experience getting health care in a foreign country. My initial visit to the ¨hospital¨ across the street from the hostel turned out just to be a place where a doctor looks at your symptoms. It was a little frustration, because I obivious knew that I needed to have surgery on it (having already had the procedure done on my other toe). So you see the first guy and he charges you 70 pesos to confirm what you already know.

I have an unfortunate bad habit of saving things till the last minute and this was no exception. At 4 pm I walked in hoping to have this surgery when I had a flight out of town the following morning. Luckily for me the guy makes some phone calls to a specialist and he precedes to inform me that the main hospital can get me in if I get to them within 15 minutes. It turns out that this hospital is 40 blocks away on the other side of the city. Ready GO!!!

Rush mode kicks in. I have to hail a cab but I have no cash on me and there is no bank in sight. With no other choice I took to jogging in the direction of the hospital. Long story short, I found a bank, was able to hail a cab, and convince the driver to drive like the wind. Argentina drivers regularly drive like a bat out of hell (completely ignoring lanes markers, other cars, people and even speed limits) and when I showed him the doctor´s note, he took it upon himself to push the limits of his small Volkswagon engine.

After almost getting clipped by a bus and dangerously coming close to nicking a couple pedestrians, we skidded to a halt outside the main hospital emergency room with just minutes until my appointment.

This is where the slight differences in patient privacy between the States and Argentina differ. I am on the cutting board and the young doctor is injecting my toe with novacaine. Then the next thing I know, my one on one patient doctor visit becomes a cafeteria and observatory room for all the rest of the doctors pointing, laughing and staring in disbelief at my infected toe. Don´t mind me. So with the peanut gallery taking a snack break around me my doctor regains his composure, forgoes waiting on the drugs to take full effect, grabs a pair of pliers and rips free a quarter of my nail out from my skin down to the root. Once that is done and to my uncomfortable belief he then cuts it right off. I suppose that is one way of doing it.

In all it was a relief to have it over and done with and I can rest assure that I woun´t have further problems with my feet. The best part is that I was able to have it done for the fraction of the cost of what it would cost in the states. Bandaged and feeling better. -M

After Taryn and Eric left BA for their journey north, I was left to explore the city on my own terms for a couple extra days before my flight south to Ushuaia. Through the hostel grapevine a couple of us heard about a Tango nuevo concert that was going to be in an outdoor venue called the Konex. The name of the band we saw was called Fernando Fierro. It was a group of about 10 guys (four on accordian, four on strings, a bass player and a pianoman). It was a great show. It sounded a lot like the music you hear in the movie ¨12 Monkeys¨. Dark and mysterious yet sweet and beautiful.

For the next month of our trip, Eric and I have decided to separate for a little bit. I am headed down to Ushuaia to fish the Rio Grande while Eric and Taryn are headed north to Rio in Brazil for Carnevale. Afterwards they will be taking a two week spanish class in Bariloche and I will make my way into Chile. Although I am bummed to not be going with them, other opportunities lie at the bottom of the world for me. We´ll meet back up in Chile soon enough.

It shouldn´t be any surprise that when you think of Buenos Aires, heat would come to mind. This place is a sauna for the majority of the day and many of the occupants staying here at the hostel have developed a habit of taking up to three showers a day just to cope with the heat and humidity. After Taryn learned of the Greener boy´s method of giving eachother haircuts with a beard trimer, she decided to fulfill a long standing curiousity of shaving her head. After a day of fermenting on the possibility of it, we convinced her to go through with it but not before she would rock a mohawk for a day or two. After we finished she was so impressed she decided to keep it going for a while. Rock on.

Everybody…this is Taryn. Taryn is a good buddy of my brother Eric. The two of them worked together in Crater Lake, OR fighting fires for the forest service. She´s great. I think Eric and I both agree that having a female traveling companion will be a great element to our trip. Already having her around brings new light to finding out random tidbits of knowledge that I never thought I´d ever find out about my brother. One of the highlight that she brought to my attention is a nickname that he gained while fighting fires. Eric Greener a.k.a ¨Hotpants¨. Long story short it came about when he was trying to dry off his wet pants by a fire and then before he could realize it, his pants heated up to the point of burning his holy parts. The name stuck and as a loving brother I feel compelled to share this secret.

Here are a couple more glimspes of the tango hall.

Eric and I returned to the belly of the beast and met up with a firefighting buddy of his named Taryn. She´s a really fun chica who laughs loud and full with her entire being and I think she will be a great addition for the next couple months of our trip. Our second time around in the country´s capital was a lot less daunting than the first. I think once you get past that intitial shock, things usually go a lot smoother. Now that we both had a little better grasp on the language and our bearings, we had a rejuvinated excitement about the place. We met up with Taryn at this great hostel called the El Sol right in the heart of the city. Were the first time in BA we were staying 45 minutes away in Tigre, this time we were in a third story hostel where the amount of people coming in and out increased dramatically. One of the benefits to this is a constant stream of information about things going on every night and numerous invitations to join people on their planned outings. This night we followed some friends out to a great tapas restaurant and then out for an evening of Tango dancing at a local hangout.

The Argentinean tango is known for being a beacon and great symbol of the local culture and, not surprisingly, it was the dance the Greener boys failed miserably at. This is not the kind of dance where you can´t just wing it like a box step. We arrived to watch the locals young and old make their way across the worn, wooded floor in the ellegance and grace that obviously took years of practice to perfect. The dance itself is lead by the man and he literally stears and suggests each movement to his partner and then she reacts off that. It is a beautiful union to watch on the dance floor. But being beginners in a sea of pros left us mostly on the sidelines to sip beer and study. I was intrigued to learn more about it.

in which you fill with money. It is a verse that my grandfather has on the wall of our cabin. When the four of us in the the rental car came across this small local port, this verse came to mind. Unfortunately in this case, the poor guy that owns this hole in the water has to figure out a way to savage what he can. At least the emergency floatation device can be reused.

After a short bus ride to Bariloche, Eric and I found ourselves a nice little place to stay in downtown called The House. It was there that we ran into Casper and Aeiou from Spain that informed us that they would be renting a car for a day long tour of the local lakes. Split four ways, it was a pretty cheap deal and we made the most of it.

The other day we left Esquel saying goodbye to Raul San Martin. We would be hard-pressed to find another guy like Raul. His kindness, generousity, humor and all around knowledge of fishing was incredible and we will be forever greatful towards him.

Eric and I went out with Raul to fish for the remaining two days we had in Esquel. We returned to El Canal on the first day and then hit up some of the other smaller lakes around the park.

When planning out this trip, Eric and I made sure of everything. The places we wanted to go, things we wanted to do and the means of how we were going to do them. I don’t think there is really anything you can do to prepare for the avalanche of individuals that you meet on your travels. Everyday it’s a new face, a dozen new names, and just as quickly when you met them, they disapear into the night. It is a fun yet at the same time, a difficult lifestyle to get used to. I like to think about the paths these people have endured to get to this crossroad of here and now. And with the brief time we share together over a beer, or a pick up game of cards, or even just sharing a mirror to brush your teeth, we make a profound effect on one another.

Just the other night at our hostel in Esquel, this local funk band from Buenos Aires decided to play a free gig for all the people in the tents outside. As I watched, it was more than just a concert, it was a reminder of the unity of all those who travel. Language barriers didn’t matter. Everyone danced.

The following day Raul took all of us out to a connecting lake called Lago Futalaufquen which then pours into the famous Estrecho de los Monstruos aka the stretch of Monsters. When trout where introduced to Argentina back in the early 1900’s, many of the rainbows imported from the states and the browns from the England and Europe would eventually end up in the lakes at one point of their lifecycle or another. The story of the stretch of Monsters dates back into the 1970’s when the sport of fly fishing started gaining popularity and deticate aka rich travelers slowly began trickling into Argentina to fish for them. Back then these fish in the “Monster” had not seen much if any fishing pressure since their introduction. So by the time the fly fisherman came around they were pulling out 8/10 kilogram sized trout. Just huge for those that don’t understand the metric system. Nowadays their are still some good size fish in there but nothing compared to the days of old. We hooked into them using sinking line with a wooley bugger casted towards shore and dropping hoppers into the sandy reed beds.

A couple more glimpses of the day.

Los Alerces National Park reminds me a lot of Glacier Park back home. It is a romantic place filled with jagged mountain tops that drop imediately into numerous large lakes at their base. Raul, his guides Alvardo and Geronimo, Bill, Eric, the clients and I loaded into three 14 ft boats and left the mud of the spring creek beds for some lake and river fishing. We left the shores along Lago Verde and headed out the towards the Rio Rivadavia in search of brown trout along the weed beds. The scenery only added to the large bows and browns we hooked that day.