|These past few weeks have seen several milestones in the Clark family. For months Terry and I have been talking about bagging the highest peak in Uruguay with some British friends and so on Terry’s birthday a month ago, we set off with GPS in hand. We debated bringing the typical collection of climbers gear such as climbing rope, crampons and ice axe but in the end decided to go for a quick assault with minimal equipment on the summit of Cerro Catedral. Of course all our discussions were tongue in cheek as the greatest challenge of the hike up Cerro Catedral, elevation 514 meters above sea level, would be climbing through the wires of the cow fence 200 meters below the summit. Once we arrived in the area, a region of rolling hills and valleys, dotted with farms and estancias about 2 hours northeast of Montevideo, we parked the car a respectable 8 km from the summit so that at least we would have a decent march in. Walking along a dirt country road, at least one car stopped to ask what we were doing and did we know that we could drive all the way up to the base of the ‘peak’? Though we did know this, we enjoyed a very pleasant walk in, with abundant bird life, pastoral views and warm sun on our faces. The summit of the peak was so unremarkable that it wasn’t until we were within the last 1/4 mile that we could make a guess as to which one it was. The final 200 meters required us to climb through the cow fence and step around copious piles of cow dung as we finished the hike up to the summit, where Terry pulled out an American flag and claimed the peak for the USA.
After finishing her sophomore year in college, Katie embarked on an adventure of her own, traveling for several weeks around South America with her boyfriend, pushing her comfort limits and immersing in Spanish, before arriving in Montevideo this week. Along the way, she and Tyler have become much more comfortable with the uncertainties that go along with travel to new places and countries, negotiating multiple bus, train, boat and plane rides, several currencies, one bout of traveler’s dysentery and a half dozen hostels. The highlight of their trip thus far- reaching the summit of Huanya Picchu, the spectacular mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu in Peru on a cloudless sunny day in May.
Graham graduated from the Uruguayan American School on June 7, in a ceremony uniquely American, complete with caps, gowns, pomp and circumstance. With 29 students from the US, Germany, Finland, Korea, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, his class was not only the largest in school history, but also the most international. Traveling the greatest distance of all friends and family to attend the ceremony was my brother, Uncle Tommy who added a definite spark of energy to the week. The night after graduation, in a tradition uniquely Uruguayan, the entire family, including Uncle Tommy, attended the Senior Prom. A misnomer, the UAS Senior Prom should really be called the Uruguayan Family Dinner and Anti-Dance. As Senior Class president, Graham oversaw the organization of the event, which was held in a lovely restaurant setting overlooking the water and came off very well. For the high school students though, the dinner was something to simply get through on the way to the ‘After Prom’ party, which began in the same location once all the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles left and the dancing could begin in earnest, lasting until the wee hours of the morning.
On June 11, Jake will turn 16 and is counting the days until we will be back in the States and he can get his driver’s license. The following day, Graham will join Katie and Tyler as they finish their travels around South America, heading first to Buenos Aires then continuing across Argentina, over the Andes into Chile, and north to Lima, Peru where they will depart South America and head for the States, commemorating a month of milestones.