Tierra del fuego national park
The obligatory photo at the sign at the end of Ruta 3.
So we were back from the Antarctic , our 18 day holiday was over, and it was back to buying food and cooking for ourselves, laundry, buying diesel and map reading time and we also had a small repair job done on our alternator, which was done successfully and without too much delay.
After a few tough years, our alternator (24V) needed some attention. It ended up with a rebuild
The nice shiny copper cable was wound onto our alternator core, new bearings, good to go. (if anyone in Ushuaia needs electric motor work, ask in the Andina campsite!)
So we headed to Tierra del Fuego national park where we spent a couple of nights, lovely places to park the truck , and in the evening time lovely to sit outside the truck with a cool beer and view the lovely scenery, also do short hikes during the day.
Ushuaia has it’s own glacier, and the view from the top of the hike is really nice over the city and the beagle chanel
Camping in Tierra del Fuego national park
I say short hikes as being on holiday for the past while , even though we did trek through the ice and snow some days we thought it best to ease in gently. On the other hand maybe we should have done longer ones as a few pounds needed shedding after the super food we had on board the Ocean Diamond. People can also take the steam train there to view some of the park.
these narrow guage trains used to transport prisoners to cut timber. Now used for tourists to take photos.
Tierra del Fuego is the furthest south that you can drive to on Ruta 3 (the route we came into usuahia on) so we decided to finish the journey. It really does feel like el fin del Mundo – the end of the road as here the great Andean mountain range finally meets the sea, only the continent of Antarctica lies beyond , the worlds last great wilderness. This park was first occupied by man over 10,000 years ago. The tribal group the Yamana lived there , their camps were above the beaches so as they could harvest from the sea , hunting sea-lions and mussels and travelled in canoes to do this. They dressed in short cloaks made out of sea-lion pelts. The extinction of these people is connected with the arrival of the first Europeans and explorers in 1890. The main cause of the disappearance of these cultures was disease, and it is said they were hunted down by explorers and poisoned by colonists and sealers in order to have easy access to sea-lion colonies. Statistics show that of the 3000 Yamanas who were living here at the time of the arrival of the Europeans , there were but 1000 ten years later. Some of you may have noticed from the Antarctic pictures that I now have taken up photography , well if you can’t beat him, join him. Not happy with one new job, I decided to take up another one , hairdressing, and after a quick crash course from Ruth I took the task of cutting Merv’s hair, not that it needed it or anything , but if I say so myself not a bad job for my first attempt. I was in control and not a thing Merv could do!!!!!!! I’m sure once everybody reads this, the first thing you will do is examine his new hair to see how well I really did, it’s about 3 week ago now!!!!!!
Well and truly short now.
Ruth providing some hands on training for Sarah’s new career
After leaving Usuahia we headed towards the chilean border, but had to retrace our tyre marks for part of the way along Route 3 and just before Rio Grande we turned left onto a ‘B’ road, a great gravel road for the Unimog to travel on.
Wild camping in Tierra del Fuego. Mog has made a new friend from the happy feet crew.
This is the more southerly route after rio grande, and the road surface is superb. It’s further than the more direct route, but much much quicker and has better scenery. As we still had food left we decided to cross the next day into Chile, as you are not allowed to bring meat, vegetables , fruit, dairy products across the borders. The border crossing was very easy, no other people there but us and once we got the go ahead we crossed a small river , the mog just about made it, lol, and from here we made our way to a lovely little spot called Lago Blanco where we got a real taste of the Patagonian winds, such strong winds it would blow you over. Note: This border crossing point only handles about 50 to 60 people per year, and is only open during the summer.
Normally you should walk through rivers with a stick to see how deep they are before driving them. We just let Jurgen and Ruth go first
We then took the ferry from Porvenir to Punta Arenas which took two and a half hours, very bumpy as you stay in your truck as you travel across, hmmmm , not so good. Here in Punta Arenas we did a big shop as we were heading to Torres Del Paine National Park for 10 days or more,which had no facilities for re stocking our larder, and we were looking forward to spending this time in the wilderness of Patagonia.
Arriving into Torres Del Paine national park.