Maybe its our luck, maybe it’s Canadian hardiness but it has rained every single day since we flew to Punta Arenas. Maybe only for a couple minutes, sometimes just in the night, but it has rained every day. Bit of a bummer when Christian and Isabelle who sold us the van said they got rain 3 times their entire trip… Alas, we have made the most of our adventure so far!
We started our day heading into Ushuaia to do the tourist thing and walk around. A tour agent tried to sell us a trip to see some seals and gave us some free hot chocolates instead, who’s the real winner? The hot chocolate was absolutely delicious and help warm our bellies after a chilly night. We met in a cafe to get some wifi and plan our next 3 days in Tierra del Fuego National Park and did a big grocery shop so we would be well nourished for our various hikes in the park.
After paying the $350(ARG) per person to enter and thinking we totally could have smuggled our new English stowaways in without a problem, we immediately got interrogated by a park ranger and discovered the stowaway thing would NOT have worked. Our campsite was one of the more scenic of the trip and that got us all very excited for some hiking. We cracked some beers and Becca cooked us an amazing pasta dinner with Argentinian ground beef which was unreal.
The next morning, we got off for a full day of hiking and explored a hike that covered basically the whole coast line of the park, ending at “the post office at the end of the world”. We almost sent a postcard home, but it’s substantially cheaper to send a text. We realized that the 8km one way hike equaled a 6km hike along the road back to our campsite which decreased team morale. We slogged along for about 4km before Becca hailed us a ride with her thumb, and he drove us a couple kilometres down the road so our walk back wasn’t too long. We got back to camp just in time to crack a beer and start making a Saint Patty’s Day beef stew! One of the best meals of the trip so far (thanks again Ivan).
Knowing that we wanted to get after it in the morning to start a serious up hill hike, we all slept in the van. Pretty cozy but one of the warmest sleeps of the trip so far! We woke up and got Alfonso started so he could warm up and hit the trail head at 9. It started with a pretty aggressive vertical hike with dreams of peaks and panoramic views. After 2 hours, we reached the top of the tree line and the beginning of the mud. It looked like Helms Deep (yup, Lord of the Rings reference), ankle deep mud and massive puddles. At this point too it started to really rain, as we were standing essentially in a cloud. The view was poor, to say the least, and morale had hit an all time low for 3 of the 4 of us. After a very brief discussion and one selfie, we started our descent.
As sad as we were that we didn’t reach the top, we were happy by the time we got down, as we made it to the van in time for lunch just as the rain was really starting the hammer the park. Lunch enjoyed in Alfonso, after a hike, while watching an episode of Friends, is a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon. We forged on and out of the park towards Ushuaia. Promptly realizing it’s Sunday, and practically nothing is open, we headed over to the mall. We plodded our way around, trying to find some wifi. Becca found her new love in a pair of Columbia pants and a well deserved cappuccino, and we found some pretty cheap doughnuts so everyone was a winner.
Now sitting in Alfonso, stealing some pretty good wifi, behind a gas station we’re all looking forward to a nice evening. Tomorrow we head back into Chile and back to Cerro Sombrero, where we will all shower for the first time since Cerro Sombrero… killing this van life thing.
Again, please excuse the lack of photographs as apparently ALL wifi in Ushuaia hates uploading photos.