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An Adventure on the Bottom of the World

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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

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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…