The Pan-America Highway, Ruta No. 3 ended right in the middle of Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego – which was where we found ourselves one VERY windy and rainy morning.
Before we continue, I feel I need to point out that Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego translates directly to “The Land of Fire National Park”. To be honest, we knew nothing about the National Park prior to our visit to Ushuaia (yes… SOMETIMES, we are THAT kinda tourists), but based on the uber cool name alone, we felt that the National Park would be worth a visit (That… and also because Tripadvisor had some nice things to say about the park..)
Did I mention that it was VERY windy and rainy?
The first thing we noticed about the park is that we were constantly buffeted by gale force winds. We were at the Southern most point of mainland America. There was nothing to shelter the National Park from the winds coming in from the sea. The winds were so strong that the rain drops that fell on us felt like needles poking at our skin.
Combine this with the almost barren landscape that is synonymous with Patagonia, and I guess they really weren’t joking when they talk about the harsh living conditions.
However, since this is a National Park, they actually made concessions for sissy tourists like ourselves. There were walking paths throughout the Park and numerous signboards/maps pointing us towards the “correct” direction to go…
Yet, despite the best efforts of the National Park, we still managed to find ourselves wandering on a deer path through the woods.
We are THAT good at getting lost.
I swear… at one point, we were bashing through a bunch of shrubbery because we’d run out of road.
But I guess it was because of us getting lost that we managed to see some things that were just off the beaten path.
But my favourite sight for the National Park is easily this dam.
It is supposed to be made by beavers that had stowed away on the early ships from North America to Patagonia. It just feels kinda surreal to find something that looks ALMOST man-made in the middle of the woods…and on top of that to discover it was actually made by the elusive beavers. (elusive because we didn’t see any of them)
It was definitely an interesting trek because the scenery changed so often. One minute we would be walking along a snowy river bank, and the next we would be bashing through a barren shrubbery field, and one minute after that we would be meandering through an eerie coniferous forest. The only things that were constant were the piercing Patagonian winds and the gorgeous Andes in the background.
Of course, after our adventures were done, we had that little issue of finding our way back to civilization. Being the great woodsman that I am, I elected to find our way out of the forest by using an ancient tracking method… following the sound of the motor vehicles.
Of course, given our luck, we found ourselves on the furthest end of the motorway.
Thinking back, it was actually a bit scary as we really could have gotten ourselves hopelessly lost. But at the end of the day, aside from our sore feet and some partially frozen appendages, we managed to get ourselves a new adventure under our belt.
So… Great Success!