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Published: August 6th 2007
Finally we made it to Tierra del Fuego! I had always wanted to see this place, based solely on the fact that, as a kid, I thought the name sounded pretty cool. (Come on! You can't say 'Land of Fire' doesn't have a good ring to it!) Actually Magellan called it Tierra del Humo, or Land of Smoke, but as we all know, there's no smoke without fire...
After accidentally oversleeping on our first morning, we managed to make it just in time to join an excursion trekking through part of the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. There's nothing like a muddy, 3.5 hour walk to make you regret missing breakfast. Luckily lunch was waiting for us at one of the park's refugios
, along with a supply of red wine (hey, nobody said this was serious, hardcore trekking), which possibly contributed to the poor performances from a few rowers out in the canoes later! Some of our group met up for drinks afterwards in the second 'Dublin' bar we'd seen in a week, its claim to being an Irish bar somewhat diminished by the fact that they didn't serve Guinness.
The following day we joined a group for an
off-road trip around part of Lago Fagnano. Just when we were becoming somewhat complacent about the occasional bump and jolt, the terrain turned a touch more challenging, and the vehicle ploughed its way through sodden trackways criss-crossed with enormous furrows, and cocked two of its little wheels in the air as it revved uphill and around corners at impossible angles while we bounced around inside. At one point the driver/guide swung himself out of the jeep as it propelled itself through a patch of tangled undergrowth, and nonchalantly jogged alongside us before hauling himself inside once more just before we plunged downhill heading straight for the lake. For those of us whose previous experience of extreme vehicular transportation extended no further than Buenos Aires' urban bus network, this was a rather rousing jaunt. Lunch was a sophisticated spread in a corrugated iron hut with lake views, and our little band managed to put away a considerable amount of red wine again. Our notion of exploring the Patagonian wilds was somehow turning into an exploration of Patagonian wines...
On our last day we squeezed in a trip on the Beagle Channel and a brief wander around near the former prison
before almost missing our flight back to Buenos Aires due to the airline company's interesting rescheduling policy.
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