• annamcnuffIt’s 8am on a Friday in northern Patagonia and I am deeply engrossed in this morning’s top secret mission: Operation birthday surprise.
    I am doing my best to keep any noise to a minimum. Faye is still asleep in the tent next door as I delicately unwrap the sponge cake I have been carrying in secret for the past few days. As I ease it out of it’s plastic coated case, the packaging threatens to reach decibel-danger levels. I wince and pause to listen for any noise from next door. I am rewarded with a light snore - phew! Princess Faye is still sleep.
    I set about stuffing glacé cherries deep into the sponge, and finish off the sponge-sculpture with a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands. I consider shoving half a banana in the top of it to add some ‘depth’ to my creation, but decide that all good artists must know when to leave a masterpiece alone. Taking care not to drop the cake and cause an explosion of rainbow coloured sugar, I ease open the zip on my tent porch and creep the few steps to just outside Faye’s tent. The crunch of my bare feet on the gravel surface seems to pierce through the morning silence, but at last I am in position. I inhale deeply…
    Today, my red-haired adventure amiga turns 30 years old. It is a landmark day by all accounts, and I feel privileged to be spending it on the road with her. I also feel a responsibility to make sure that she has a lovely birthday, because, well, there is no one else out here to do that job.
    Faye giggles from her tent: ‘Thanks McNuff!’ she yells, seemingly having enjoyed my rousing morning chorus. I proceed to present her with the heavily adorned cake as well as a few cards I have kept hidden in my panniers since her mum smuggled them to Santiago a few months back.
    'Errr, sorry they’re a bit battered’ I say sheepishly, dusting mud and crusty pieces of cheese off the envelopes as I hand them over.
    'No I like that they have been on an adventure too!’ Faye says. ‘They are perfect.’ She is too kind.
    Today we are heading for the town of Villa O Higgins, and the conclusion of the Careterra Austral.
  • mike45acpHappy Birthday!! Both of you enjoy this journey! These Are The Days!
  • boats.and.bikesAw!! Buddies like these are so special ... Both sides!!! 🍻🍀
  • torreyfelberPretty ☺️
  • tonnemakerHappy Birthday Faye! 🎂
  • merely_picsLove this. Amazing friendship and adventure. Great way to spend your (30th) birthday!
  • the_average_adventurerHappy birthday Faye - may your 40th be just as epic!
  • margaretha_oosthuizenHappt birthday 🎉
  • miss_kccWhat a fabulous friend you are! And happy birthday to Faye 😊
  • bioblogoHaha awesome!
  • hpinknessHappy birthday Faye. What a great friend you are Anna xx keep on inspiring the pair of you. 😀
  • flo_b_2017EPIC way to spend a 30th!!!
  • sash_seatonThis is a lovely start to her birthday 💚🌷🎂
  • pozzillo6Buon comleannooooo
  • pozzillo6It means happy birthday.......
  • stewardoutdoorAwesome!
  • runnerbeeanAh I bloody love this! Happy Happy Birthday @faye_shepherd 🎂
  • capturedforposterityLooking a bit rainy too. Great writing to capture the moment. Thanks for sharing
  • cbearcycling@faye_shepherd 🎂 . what a riding buddy you have there @annamcnuff 👍🙌
  • frunzel1Happy Birthday...i hope your day is filled with laughter and happiness..
  • annawalks3448Happy birthday
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