Journeying into the jaws of Navarino

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April 22nd 2014
Published: April 30th 2014
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We knew we were in for an adventure. We just didn't know what yet. The planning had been comprehensive and meticulous, but that was 6 months ago. The spreadsheet had been lost, the books were returned to the library and travelling spontaneity had extinguished all methodical organisation. One thing we had managed was to book a couple of seats on a plane heading to the deep south, to the land of fire. We had arrived into Santiago ten minutes before we left Auckland and had another day before Tierra del Fuego. We struggled out of our Plaza D'armas 5th floor hostel and forced ourselves to explore the city rather than succumb to our jet lag. We headed to Cerro Santa Lucia, a rocky hill summited via a messy labyrinth of spiral staircases and steps carved out of the bedrock. It was now a popular attraction, with courting Chileans locked in passionate embraces competing with SLR-laden tourists for the best views across the city. The hillock was a strange amalgamation of old fort walls, broken fountains and untended gardens, but had a unique appeal in its disorder. I read an inscription from when Darwin popped in on the way on his way around South America and how he was impressed with the views. My mind wandered to thoughts of Fitzroy and The Beagle, their navigation through the Southern Seas, fiords and islands of Tierra del Fuego, and I felt excited in the possibility of following in their great footsteps.

We worked our way across town, chowing down on an empanada con carne and made our way to the Funicular railway. The rickety old carriage took us remarkably steeply up Cerro San Cristobal. We headed to the top where a statue of the Virgin Mary overlooked the city with the confusing engraving "Soy Inmaculada Concepcion". We looked out at the hazy sun setting in the smog filled valley revealing the surrounding peaks of the Andes. The mountains were certainly calling for us. Mountains amongst the wild, untamed lands of Patagonia.

I slept poorly. The 12 hour time difference playing havoc with my circadian rhythm, and a mind too active with the excitement of seeing the deep south. Tierra incognito australis, the land of giant footsteps and the land of many bonfires were all amongst the early names for a place laced in mystery, where strange beasts were thought to roam and the sailors feared the unchartered oceans and still held beliefs of a huge southern continent beneath the strait of Magellan. Even a couple of hundred years ago when the vastness of the lands inspired the aforementioned Darwin to rethink life on earth, very little has changed. The descriptions of grey, icy cold seas lapping the edges of azure glaciers were something we still could see and something I was determined to, we just didn't know how yet.

Our second day in Santiago, and we spent most of it on a mission. A mission to get my bag fixed. We were pleased to see our bags arrive safely on the luggage carousel at the airport the previous day. Just when I was patiently waiting for my bag to reach me on the far end of the belt, the bags appeared to stop, but the belt kept moving. One of my straps had jammed in the wheels of the belt and was holding up the other bags. Before I even had a chance to reach it some absolute cretin with greasy long hair and a pathetic excuse for a beard had jumped onto the carousel and with all his might yanked at my backpack... low and behold the numpty broke the strap and ripped a hole in my bag. So with very basic Spanish we went on a wild goose chase around Santiago finding if anyone could sew it together again. Chile is the 40th wealthiest country in the world and the president has given big talk of being classed as a first world nation and abolishing poverty by 2020. With the amount of stray dogs, homeless people on park benches, litter in the streets, undrinkable tap water and the universal South American issue of a fragile sewage system unable to handle flushed bogroll, it felt like Chile has a long way to go. But having said that, I feel a new factor should be incorporated by economists as a poverty index. Alongside literacy rates, infant mortality and access to healthcare, the time it takes to get a rucksack mended should be incorporated. I am sure if we were in India or South East Asia people would be falling over each other to get the opportunity to fix the bag and earn an extra buck or two. If they did not have the know how you would expect their wife's cousins next-door neighbours friends son would know someone who had a boss who owned a sewing machine or they would be industrious enough to do an excellent job themselves by hand. In Santiago, no one was really interested and the rest were too busy or too put off by our stuttering Castellano to try. Finally we found a Chilean in a tourist office that had a few ideas of who could fix it, one of which was the jackpot- a tiny clothes shop in a seedy shopping centre with endless boutiques all selling the same leather, whips and toys, I guess the Santiago sex district has good business for a shop if it can sew on the odd sequin or two.

The next morning we were jetting off to start our adventure proper in Patagonia. After a brief stop off in a fog engulfed Puerto Montt where the pilot announced it was too unsafe to land, before nonchalantly changing his mind and giving it a go anyway, we made it in one piece to Punta Arenas. A strategic location on the Magellan strait, it was built by the Spanish to secure a trade route to the East Indies and flourished until the Panama canal took over trade. Now it is a flat sprawl of corrugated iron houses and busy streets which throng with tourists jumping off cruise ships in summer, and the odd shivering adventurous backpacker heading into winter. A maritime museum documents the rescue of Shackleton's stranded men by the Chilean navy and is a map lover's (cartographile?!) dream as I poured over the old trade routes and the mapped location of the dozens of sunken ships in these waters over the years. It all proved very inspiring and the ball was now in motion for a big expedition of our own. We were planning to head to Ushuaia 'the end of the world' as far south as roads go on earth and where many a great pan-american adventure had started or ended. But what about going to 'Beyond the end of the world'? And getting there by ship? And then hiking the southern most trek in the world... Out of season... Infamous for its horrendous weather... Hardly existent trail and universal lack of mapping. The creeping excitement of adventure and the unknown was rising in our beings and before we knew it, it was too late... We were on the way to Puerto Williams in an attempt to hike Los Dientes Del Navarino. The teeth of Navarino.

The Yaghan leaves every Thursday at 6pm from Punta Arenas on a 32 hour journey through the fiords and islands of Southwest Patagonia before reaching the North arm of the Beagle Canal and picking its way along the magnificent peaks and glaciers of Cordillera Darwin before reaching Navarino Island. On this occasion the cargo ship had a dozen or so passengers of which Becks and I made up some of the extranjero contingent. We pulled out of Port just ahead of the setting sun and were accompanied by a pod of dolphins jumping higher than I had ever seen in our swash. It was impossible not to think they were showing off and I owe them an apology for my poorly timed photographs not giving them the commendation they deserved. We sailed down the southern arm of the Magellan Strait like Sir Francis Drake had done before us and rounded Cape Froward just after dusk, the most southern section of land that heading north, would reach Alaska if it was not broken by the Panama Canal. The moon shone bright in the clear skies and the stars struggled to be seen. Instead the sea looking so cold and hostile even at sunset now shown silvery white in the bough of the boat almost enticing you in. Like overexcited children Becks and I would layer everything up before facing the sub zero wind chill and gaze in awe as the silhouette of the land grew more mountainous, before returning below deck for a heat up and an episode of Sherlock on the ipad.

Our disembarkation day had been a stress of buying 5 days worth of food for the trek and stocking up on survival aids for this most mighty of treks. We bought gaiters and I reluctantly purchased a walking pole both of which proved invaluably indispensable. The turning moment in committing to the trek over the umming and ahhing came when we finally managed to source a map of the walk with instructions for each marker beacon in an office in Punta Arenas. With a map, everything might not be so crazy after all. One thing we were pleased not to need on the boat was our precious tea. It was free tea and coffee to your hearts content and the meals weren't bad either. So we now had time to relax and enjoy the view. When we awoke we were in the narrow straits and had mountains rising sharply out the sea on either side. Seeing the dolphins our first evening had already blown expectations but the natural spectacles continued as we saw sea lions bob alongside us, penguins float absent-mindedly and albatross use the glassy water as a runway before gracefully gliding out of the Yaghan's path. We got a taster of the unpredictability of Antarctic-influenced weather as the wind would gust out of nowhere, the smattering of blue skies would converge into a domineering grey and sleet, hail and snow would blast down on us until we repent and retreat to our seats on the deck below.

Before long, cloud would lift and the Cordillera Darwin range would be ours again with its peaks a couple of kilometres above us and as impressive to us as they would have been to The Beagle crew, prompting Fitzroy to name the second highest mountain in the range after the young naturalist (thinking it was the highest!). The highlight of the cruise surpassed all superlatives (even for me- who is a big fan of them) as the ventisqueras came into view in a mosaic of ice, rock and sea of a magnitude far greater than any I had seen before. The showstopper, in quite literal terms as the Captain stopped the vessel for our viewing pleasure, being a huge glacier tumbling down from the peaks to the sea and meeting us on the water's edge. We saw the occasional iceberg float around nearby from where almighty chunks had recently crashed off the head of the glacier, all whilst some penguins stood obliviously nearby, likely to be washed off their rock by the next surge of sea from the regular ice fall. The cloud then closed in again and we were on the last leg along the beagle channel, watching the colours of the sky change as the sun slowly set over the ridgeline before being replaced by an even bigger, even brighter moon than the previous night. I watched the boat reverse into a tiny landing on a coastline completely deserted aside from a dim light coming from a solitary hut, lonely and feeble against an almighty mountain backdrop. A man runs off the Yaghan with a big bag and is greeted with huge hugs and warmth from two others in a tractor. I learn this remote hut marks the imaginary (yet highly contested) line between Chile and Argentina in Tierra del Fuego and the three were border guards, no doubt planning a little fiesta with the new goods from the mainland.

We had docked a little past midnight but had been allowed to sleep until the morning to give the sleepy little town a chance to wake up. Puerto Williams was chiefly a Chilean naval base and capital of Chile's Antarctic province. With the success and growth of Ushuaia across the channel, the Chilean government had grown envious and insecure. They wanted a foothold in the fast growing tourist industry, and previously they had been worried that with no population in the area an Argentine takeover looked possible. With tourism being big business, we were expecting a fairly good set up. Onto dry land and we strolled into town, quickly attracting the attention of a stray dog with a tiger coat and merle eyes that we half-noticed had started following us. Wild horses casually grazed on the central plaza and seemed even more disinterested in us as we were with the dog. A small wooden hut announcing itself as the tourist office was closed and would be all weekend. It was Saturday around 9am. The whole town seemed deserted. A car eventually drives past us as we sort our stuff and a friendly military personnel points us in a few directions in response to our spanglish questions. A man is sitting behind a desk in his outdoor shop trying to fix his radio. We grandly announce that we are planning to trek Los Dientes and and his whole demeanour suggests he has seen it all before. Already we had met a lot of naysayers and negativity from people in response to our questions about the hike, so broken radio man was promising. He looks up the weather forecast for us. We are to expect snow, gales and sub-zero temperatures "regular" he states with a shrug, "standard." We ask him about emergency routes out and he points to a map behind his head illustrating Los Dientes circuit, 53km long, recommended to be done over 5 days with estimated 6 hours walking a day. The only way out was over a 1200 metre mountain to the Windhond trail slogging back up the valley. Not a very realistic alternative in an "emergencia" and otherwise it was back the way you came, or push on to the end. We had done our research though, amd none of this was putting us off. We also rented a Garminn GPS route finder, although not accurate, with no real route in places the 38 beacons had been programmed in and with the map it gave us a fighting chance at navigating our way round. Our last navigational aid came in the most u likely of places. He pointed down at the merle stray on the floor, apparently called Samantha, and told us she will not leave our side now and be our guide for the next 5 days. We were surprised, and thought we had misunderstood the Spanish until registering our intentions at Carabineros, the police station, Samantha snuck in behind us and point blank refused to leave and wait with the other dogs outside. I was worried about fitting in a half dozen cans of dog food to an already full laden backpack, but we were reassured that she wouldn't need fed and is used to occasionally eating. On the plus side after the warnings from the police officer about the difficulty of the trek and the 3 day window to return before a rescue operation we felt less nervous and strangely reassured with the thought of a third companion who had done it all before.

We were finally on our way out if town when a young woman in a knee length tweed coat and tightly plaited thick black hair pulled up alongside us on a bike. In perfect English she asked if we were planning to walk los dientes. We replied in the affirmative and it turned out she was the tourist information person and took us into her little wooden shack we had seen before. In poetic English she explained how beautiful the trek was but also how ardous. She started talking about death, as a way to reassure us possibly, stating the only mortality since it was first hiked a decade before (by a lonely planet author researching Trekking in Patagonia) was a globe-trekking woman in her 70's who had an MI in her tent as "that was her time to leave this earth." The resounding bit of information she gave us was "You either make it... or you don't make it". We were not convinced at all that we were going to make it, but we were going to damn well try!

The final interruption on our way out of town came in the form of a little black spaniel hurtling out a kitchen door into the street to join us. A portly Chilean mujer yelled after this spaniel and another dog as they disappeared up the road with us, clearly pleading them to return. I tried in vain to send them back before she resigned to the dogs spirit and closed the door, probably to get back to her baking.

I have written extensively about the hikes we have done so far, and an indication of how much we enjoy this new hobby is seen in the persistent way we seem to want to do more and more. At times it feels like we are becoming trekkers that only travel as a means of getting from one mountain range to another. The natural beauty, the solitude, the physical challenge and the adventure are a few ingredients that makes it such an addictive elixir for us. I do feel though a day by day blow of our hikes should really be reserved for Becky's diary or a technical hiking blog for people wanting accurate information to do it themselves. Instead I will cover a few topics in detail to get a general gist of how the trek was.

The track:

In places, non-existent. We were expecting this. Karina, the Estonian linguist who was the island's fountain of all tourist information described the track as "Very good the first day but then it just gets worse and worse, no one ever finds marker 37 and 38. For some the challenge is navigation, others it is mental or physical. Some people finish the track, many turn back after day 1, 2 or 3, often with fear in their eyes".

What made things bad for us is we repeatedly lost the track on the first day despite map, instructions, GPS and dogs. On our second day I gave us a generous 10% chance of being able to continue as heavy sleet and snow overnight had changed a stream running down to the lake through a steep valley into nothing short of a waterfall. We know never to cross a river during flood, let alone attempt to scale up it. We were on the verge of turning around when we saw number 10 of 38 navigation beacons and knew we were 50 metres too far North and found a much more manageable stream to clamber up alongside.

The fresh snowfall drove us to sink to our knees at times as we desperately struggled on higher and higher, with deeper snow and icier rocks until we got over another pass. All the while winding between the gnashers of Navarino. A real lowlight, (As opposed to highlight) was when the track vaguely took us around the side of a lake. It was steep rockfall, in places vertical which was all covered in ice with a disguising layer of snow on top. A few rocks grouped together on ledges as a pathetic excuse for a route-marking cairn reassured us we were going the right way. I have always been one for climbing trees, balancing along breakwaters in Selsey, rock climbing and bouldering when I can and am used to the perception of height morphing into fear. With the smooth icy rocks and snow covering any path, along with our utter isolation, I was scared. Becky was petrified. After very carefully guiding each other step by step along the majority of the lake side, we reached a point of no return. Becks saw the fear as she clung to an overhanging edge, too aware that the smooth icy rock she stood on angled to a 5 metre drop before strewn rockfall would join her fall down another 20 metres before reaching the freezing lake below. Understandably with this fear joined by the ruminating thoughts that an open tibial fracture here would be an amputation at best, Becks had a little breakdown. Getting the fear isn't good at the best of times, and this was not the best of times. With gloved hands holding onto an overhanging ledge and Scarpa boots failing to find any grip and a heavy backpack arching her further backwards, Becky was in floods of tears. I hated seeing her scared after she had been so courageous so far and it was her stubborn determination which fuelled the fire in us both to do this trek in the first place. Things only got worse when the dogs started running around her ankles and my reassuring words didn't seem to be registering in a mind convinced of certain death. I knew we could do this and positioned myself so that if she slipped I would securely stop her slide. I stabilised my footing as the distracting situation had put me at risk of a fall and got the dogs back. With my foot and pole acting as stepping stones Becky bravely got of off the rockslide and made her way to better ground, where I got her backpack off and gave her a huge hug. As a team we got through it and as a team the rest of the day was a breeze, aside from the fact that it would take a hell of a lot for us to retrace our footsteps and confront all of that again.

The track kept us interested as everyday brought different challenges. After the scree slopes and icy rock falls above the tree line on the first couple of days, it turned to bog and marsh amongst the beech forests (more bloody beech, can't get away from it!) Compared to the beautiful tall red and silver beeches of New Zealand forest, this relative was squat and sprawling, hammered by the winds and getting further destroyed by the Beaver population. They had been introduced to Argentinean Patagonia in the 1940's, like the possum in NZ, to establish a fur trade. Low and behold they swam to Isla Navarino and plagued it to 40,000 in number. Although we didn't actually see one, these furry little critters brought the next obstacle to our track- fallen trees. The beech tree hadn't evolved like the canadian pine forests to handle Beaver infestation and valley upon valley was littered with dead offcuts not used for the dams and huge trunks having fallen when the beavers flooded the valleys with their ingenious infrastructure of dams. Crawling under, over and through fallen trees took a lot of hard work and felt like an army obstacle course constructed as some sort of practical joke.

The dogs:

We named the little spaniel Suki, from the Spanish adjective sucio, meaning dirty. He was always covered in an innumerable quantity of whatever vegetation or terrain we were going through. He was young and wild, exploring everything in sight and making a terrible mess of his beautiful glossy black coat in doing so. But he was proud and vigilant, so by lights out every night he would have returned his coat to its immaculate former softness and cleanliness as if he was still at home with the big lady and her baking.

Samantha was a troublemaker and at times we would swear for her constantly getting in the way, trying to steal food or clamber into our tent for the umpteenth time. She was a stray, that needed this cheekiness to survive the mean streets of Puerto Williams. A mongrel with a hint of Collie and a rusty brown which matched the autumnal beech foliage she was clever and caring. She only got in the way as she wanted to be as close as possible to us when we trekked the labyrinthine track. Samantha was loyal to her meaty bones, would stick by us every step of the way as Suki ran ahead to find the path and look back agitatedly to ensure we were following.

Together these dogs provided entertainment, companionship, encouragement, but above all I think they made us feel safe. Their enthusiasm and spirit just helped us enough to believe we could fight and rise above the hardships and complete the trek with a spring still in our step. On the second morning though, things were different. Our first night had been commemorated by a stow storm "regular" for Isla Navarino, less than 1000k's from Antarctica. But we had a few problems. Snow had got onto our groundsheet and melted under the tent, soaking most of Becky's belongings, I was worried my sleeping bag wouldn't manage any colder weather, and we couldn't see any feasible track with a 6 inch snow covering. Using our dogs as a mood and morale barometer things were not looking good. Samantha had slept under the tent porch, but Suki had opted to sleep in the snow and was now drenched and visibly shaking. We were genuinely worried that this reckless adventurer, barely older than a puppy, was going to die of exposure. The bound was out of their stride and they staggered behind us. The chances of us having to turn back and ascend a huge scree slope we had laboriously cursed our way down looked almost definite as the stream we thought we were meant to follow up out of the basin had turned into a waterfall. We thought even if we could clamber our way up over the rocks, the dogs might not make it and although they had followed us from town, against our will, we would have to turn back to get them safely home. Miraculously things made a turn for the better as we found the correct, much gentler stream to follow up and moving again had brought life to the dogs who were now looking much perkier and taking turns to slide down the snow on their bellies. Taking one beacon at a time we managed to complete another day, and in that way, we completed the circuit.

Although we had been told that they can go without food, Samantha's overexcitement whenever we got anything from our bags meant we did dip into our limited rations to keep them going. After the first night when Suki looked like she was on death's door we made sure both dogs were tucked up snuggly under the porch. Although we had to put up with them snoring and chasing Guanacos in their sleep it did reassuringly keep them alive. The added bodies kept things warmer under the fly sheet and they could act as a very good draught and wind break if I succeeded in keeping them on one side. It needed a fair bit of scale at the coordinated effort of keeping the dogs out the inner chamber of the tent as without fail they would do everything to try and get inside and bring the majority of Navarino's mud with them.

Becks and I had big plans on the fifth and final day with the dogs and of the trek. We wanted to buy the most delicious meaty goodness we could find for them to eat as well as the Queen's Corgis. Maybe even a canned Corgi if they sold them at Simon y Simon, the local supermarket. We had a final night under canvas, camping on a grassy hillock with grazing wild horses and calafate bushes all around us whilst watching the sunset over the beagle channel and smiles on ours and the dogs faces. We trudged through the marsh and repeatedly crossed the meandering stream until we finally reached the road connecting Puerto Natales with Puerto Williams. From here it was an undulating 8 kilometres West back to town. After an hour into the final slog a rickety old 4WD pulled over and offered us a lift. We duly accepted but were gutted when the dogs tried to clamber in with us only to be kicked back out by a local in the back shouting in castellano "Samantha No!" My lasting image of Samantha and Suki were of them sitting upright at the side of the road looking hurt and confused. We reassured ourselves that they might even make it back before us, as they clearly new the area and we could still treat them to a feast. We didn't see them again. We looked every day, and didn't find them. I miss them. Becks does as well, a lot. Deep down though, we know they will be absolutely damn fine. Woof woof!

The tent:

It snowed on our first night and our tent was so sodden it must have weighed twice as much. Luckily by the evening the snow, sleet and rain had all stopped and we had a beautiful silhouette of toothy granite spires to enjoy whilst we tried to dry our tent out in a tangle of head high beech trees. We were happy with the results and snuggled into our sleeping bags inside a dry tent after an epic day with the knowledge that maybe, just maybe if the maritime forecast was correct, we will get a dry night. The half moon shone brightly and cast an eery shadow of Los Dientes across the Lago. The clear antarctic night had brought a thick brittle frost across the untamed ground and our tent seemed crystallised in its sugar coating. We were concerned it may crack and carefully took the fly sheet off, giving it time to thaw. The poles were frozen solid and each joint we had to melt with the rapidly diminishing warmth from our gloved hands. When we finally got to taking the pegs out the frozen ground we had lost all sensation in our fingers. Now was the time to fill up our water bottles through a crack in the icy lake before the blood and warmth returned to our extremities, feeling like each finger would individually explode. I hate the cold.

Luckily our gear was holding up remarkably well. My sleeping bag is at least 6 years old now and has been used extensively, often in climates too hot for its 80% down lining. Unfortunately, despite good care it has started to bunch up in places, inevitably becoming bald in others. A phenomenon I had never noticed before, until the polar draught would chill my core and I would put on all my clothes and down jacket to keep the heat up top, and borrow Becky's spare leggings to supplement my own to keep the warmth down below. Otherwise we had some very cozy nights sleep, only complaining of chilled noses in the morning. I was also very grateful to Mum and Dad's contribution in the wet weather gear department as having breathable jacket and trousers proved invaluable in the full range of precipitation we experienced.

The final test for our tent was tolerating the wild winds Patagonia was famous for. We pushed on to marker 29 on our third day, hoping to give ourselves the best chance of being able to cross the Paso de Virgen. Contrary to its name, this 800 plus metre pass was far from innocent and had left us with a deep uneasiness since beginning the circuit. In total there were 5 passes but the Virgin Pass scheduled in the afternoon of the penultimate day was the most notorious. It was the highest, and faced south-west with at least a 40 minute transition along the top and a very steep scree slope off the top. Winds would blow at up to 200kph and were known to knock a heavily laden trekker clean off their feet. The pass made us anxious but was nothing compared to the fearful thought of it being impassable and having to return the way we had come and meet those demons a second time. From the forecast, strong winds were expected and were to increase throughout the day so it made sense to camp further along with a dawn rise the following day for our final hurdle. This meant we set up camp in a beautiful valley, with the Beagle channel tantalisingly visible again in front of us and Cabo de Hornos islands behind us. A lovely still evening almost lured us into a false sense of security as we put up the tent and made our tuna pasta. By 10pm we were grateful that we had remained vigilant with all the guy ropes pegged out with 20kg boulders on them. The wind howled down the valley attacking our tent with tremendous blasts I was convinced it was going to burst through and turn it to tattered red and green ribbons. Somehow she held out remarkably well with no damage and as we packed it away and set off with head torches on we were pleased to see the wind was, at least for now, out of puff.

I was on Beck's heels as she set a strong pace up the steep long scramble to the pass. In our eyes from the photos of the marker beacons at the top I can see a fierce determination and conviction that we could do this. We pushed on hard, keen to get off the top before the wind picked up anymore. Just as we reached the far west of the pass we realised why even here people turn back. A stark view of snow, scree and ice stretched down to a hidden lake, still and dark, enchantedly beckoning us forth. The route across the scree took us metres above a near vertical snow field which culminated in a jumble of jagged granite rock. One gust of wind from behind could knock you off the scree and onto the snow. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. It didn't help how Becks has a severe scree phobia. Baby step by baby step I led her across the scree, standing downslope just in case she slipped, but mainly to hide the 300 metre drop to the lake below. It was pretty stressful as the wind was picking up and we needed to lose height as quickly as possible before it gusted strong enough to throw us down the mountain face. Gradually Becky found her feet with the scree and we safely made it to the lakeshore, hi fives and boa constrictor squeezes all round. A few more miles in the muddy obstacle course of a forest and we were down and delighted to have finished one of the most challenging but rewarding adventures of our lives.

Getting back into town we were dropped off at Hostal Coiron, a cozy little Chilean guesthouse. Simple but with hot showers and a bedroom with its own fire we were in heaven. Sourcing chicken nuggets, chips and peas in the local shop (a childhood favourite of mine!) we settled down with a bottle of wine in front of the roaring log fire and smiled a lot for we had escaped from the jaws of Navarino and had a wonderful time.

Additional photos below
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11th May 2014

Guys!! Amazing blog, just had time to read through this and am looking forward to catching up with all the rest!! Good luck, sounds like you had some hairy moments there!
13th May 2014

Cheers Dan, glad you enjoyed it. Hope training is going well and looking forward to catching up in August.

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