An Adventure on the Bottom of the World

I was about to begin my first major hike through Patagonia: the Sierra Valdivieso Circuit. Without a hiking partner, I decided to register with the Argentine Civil Defense Force. The warnings and recommendations from the officers were digested, but there was a good weather window. I knew I had to take the opportunity. Prepared for a difficult hike in the mountain range north of Ushuaia, what was another few miles walking to the trailhead? The eight miles to the trail were as good as walking along a road could be. Whether in Ushuaia, on a road, or on a mountain, spectacular scenery was abundant. After sevenish miles, and before entering the mountains, I stopped for lunch. Lunch consisted of a can of tuna, cereal bar, and a spoonful of Nutella. Seated on a cliff overlooking a beaver dam on the Olivia River, a quick roadside lunch took on a new meaning. An interesting invasive species, Canadian beavers were introduced by fur traders to the area and have since wreaked havoc on the forests…

Welcome to Patagonia: Puerto Natales, Punta Arenas, and Ushuaia

Welcome to Patagonia
The cool blowing wind and small town were in stark contrast to Santiago. Backpack after backpack came down the miniature baggage carousel in the airport: no suitcases, no boxes, just backpacks. I had never seen anything like it and knew I was in the right place. Even with all the backpacks, mine stuck out: the metal cooking pot, tent, and more than moderate wear from months on the road gave it distinction. While in Santiago, I booked highly competitive campsites in the famed Torres Del Paine National Park for two weeks post-arrival in Puerto Natales. This was the first complete opening for the 4ish day W-trek. Compared to the summer high season, two weeks was a last minute booking. With a scheduled trek, I needed to figure out how to fill the time. Finding two weeks of activities wouldn’t be hard; as usual, getting back would be.
Backpacks loaded up, a shuttle brought a large group from the airport to the heart of the small town. Without a reservation, I searched on…