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Published: January 9th 2008
Its a long way to Tipperary!
Sing along now! Its all North from here onwards.
After 5 weeks of travelling South, I have reached the most Southerly main town in the world, Ushuaia on the Argentine part of the island of Tierra Del Fuego. And in the famous words of Yazz and the Plastic Population (5 weeks at #1, August ´88), "The only way is up, for You and me now...." (Repeat until bored). For the next 10 weeks i will be travelling North, from this cold desolate place, around 3,850 miles, to finish up on the equator in Equador at the end of March.
I have just been in Ushuaia for the last 3 days, after a short flight down from Calafate. The town sits in a really pretty location, sandwiched between snowcovered peaks behind it and the Beagle channel in front of it. This channel separates it from the Chilean side of Tierra Del Fuego, which continues south a short distance to Cape Horn, the most Southerly piece of land before Antartica. Its also from Ushuaia that the tourist cruise ships depart from on voyages to visit the white continent.
I have to admit, i really liked Ushuaia. After the busy town of Calafate, its nice to come to somewhere that is
Munro bagging in Tierra Del Fuego
Worth the climb through the ice and snow
much more laid back. And it really does have a frontier end of the world feel about the place when you look out across the Beagle channel. The two things that you notice very quickly on arriving in the town are the amount of daylight they get down there (It gets dark around midnight at the moment there), and the temperature. This week, in mid summer, it peaked at a balmy 10 deg C! A pretty tough place to live in the winter i would think.
The town is also very close to the beautiful Tierra Del Fuego National Park with some great walking. So i spent 3 days doing a reasonable amount of walking around the park. Generally the walking is along paths,although one walk i did behind the town was up the Glacier Marital. At one stage i thought it was getting a bit steep, and i only had waking boots and my Gortex, but then i came across an American couple just as ill-prepared as i was, so we continued to the top. And it was completely worth it as the views in all directions were totally stunning, snowcovered peaks in 3 directions and to the
Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel Beyond
View South from the Marital Glacier. Its the End of the world!
South i could see almost as far as Cape Horn itself. But the most fun of the climb was sliding down the glacier again on my backside. 2 hours up to the top and around 30 minutes back to the start again!
But the Patagonian unpredictale weather did strike again when i climbed another peak, Cerro Guanaco the following day. A 1,000m climb, but for around half the way up, in reasonably heavy snow. And a view at the top to rival many of those Lee and I have seen on crappy, wet days walking in Scotland! Its all good practice though as i am gearing up for the 7 day walk around Torres Del Paine in Chile that i will be starting in a couple of days. Supposedly one of the best treks in the world.
The other happy (or perhaps unhappy) coincidence in Ushuaia was that my time there coincided with a friend of mine who was there, Paul, who i studied Geology with at Cardiff. I randomly bumped into him in an internet cafe, on my way to send an e-mail to him to try and arrange to meet up. So we had a couple
Just to prove i did actually make it
Really, i did actually walk there. Before the descent and wet bum!
of nights of catch up in the most Southerly Irish bar in the World, a bit of a contract from the last time we all met up in the George IV in Chiswick in May. Those who know him well will be upset to hear he is behaving himself on this trip. What a coincidence! Throws into question all the previous stories John and I have previously heard I´d say (Sorry Paul,I couldn´t resist a dig!)
After 5 weeks in Argentina, my time here has finally come to an end. I passed into Chile yesterday and i am currently trying to get things organised for 7 days of walking and camping in Torres Del Paine National Park, which will start in a couple of days time. This is another part of the trip that i am really looking forward to. I´ll fully update when i get out of the park in a week and a half or so.
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