I went with my family last night to an amazing lecture at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  Deia Scholosberg and Gregg Treinish (who grew up in Northeast Ohio) talked about their 7,800 mile trek Across the Andes in South America.  For almost 2-years this couple put together a route that used old Inca roads, trade routes and paths to walk the spine of the Andes.  Besides the weather and hacking through forests, the two battled typhoid fever and a variety of parasites to reach the tip of South America at the Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

Gregg and Deia

The sold out audience was spellbound as the couple talked about the people they met, the cultures they experienced and the dangers they encountered. My husband, two boys and I spent a couple of hours afterward over a beer talking about what motivates people to tackle such difficult dreams.

Natives of Peru encountered on the hike

Gregg and Deia are wilderness guides and had a great deal of hiking experience before they approached the Andes, but nonetheless, it was a journey that required a great deal of tenacity.  The National Geographic Society was so impressed by their feat, they named them the 2008/2009 Adventurers of the Year.

Now Gregg and Deia are graduate students at Montana State University.  Their next adventure will be mounting an expedition this summer in the Northern U.S. Rockies to understand the ecosystem of the Northern Continental Divide.  You can read more about their plans at Connecting the Gems.