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Part 4: Wilderness Beyond – Ushuaia & Cape Horn.

posted in: Travels | 5

HLE UshuaiaYou might think we’re already at the end of the world given the presidential campaigns, but there’s another one, and we saw it. And it was good.

To read Parts 1 – 3 and catch up on this Wilderness Beyond series, go to: Blog posts on The Wilderness Beyond

Ushuaia – town at the end of the world

It’s way down there in Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost bits and pieces of land in South America and a few Gulliver-sized leaps north of Antarctica. The city of Ushuaia begun as a penal colony in the wilderness. Today it is an outdoor adventure locale and a springboard for travelers like us headed by ship to elsewhere.

We took a look around the old prison, got our passports stamped with a special seal of proof we’d been there, and the next day boarded the Via Australis, the small-ish cruise ship (bunked 136 people) that carried us through the Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel and biggest treat of all, thanks to the weather gods, to the island of Cape Horn.

In the photos below, I’ve included a navigation map.

Ushuaia hospitality

Something I liked about our tour company, Outdoor Adventure Travel (OAT), was that they arranged for us to meet local people wherever we went. In Ushuaia, a lovely couple entertained us in their rustic but modernized home on the hillside near the forest.

The husband, before he married, had moved from Argentina and started an outdoor adventure tour group offering rafting and mountain hiking. In the 1980s, lots of hippie and counter-culture types from Argentinian cities and elsewhere camped around Ushuaia and built cabins. Regulations were few. Services like electricity, water, sewer came later. Over time, things changed and more people took vacations there. Yet, the homey feeling was alive and well in the home we visited. They fed us stew and bread and desserts galore. Most of all, I liked the chance to connect with the pioneer feeling that permeates their lives and the town’s. Although daylight lasted well past our bedtime, Ushuaia is the kind of world’s end that doesn’t keep you up at night.

National Parks of Argentina

Technically, Ushuaia is in Argentina. The national park was stunning. Towering mountains, lovely trees, and gurgling brooks met us under a bright blue sky.

Via Australis to Cape Horn

Then we arrived at the VERY end of the world after we motored in a Zodiak to the famous island of Cape Horn. This sounds simple and ordinary. It was not. Due to treacherous waters, the worst on earth, only fifty percent of the time do people actually reach the rocky shore of Cape Horn, climb out without breaking any bones, hike the steps to the top, and get their photo taken. And if that isn’t crazy enough, naval officers and their families take turns living in the lighthouse for a year alone with kids and no where to go for date night! Yikes.

I think the photos below speak for themselves. More posts to come with photos of glaciers and the wild and windy Patagonia.

Click on the first photo to begin the show.

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome, as always.

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5 Responses

  1. Mary Ann
    | Reply

    Wow! What an adventure! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Linda Goddard
    | Reply

    Dear Charlene,
    Thank you for sharing your adventure to the planet’s end! What a remarkably unique Journey! I have to assume that this physical landscape journey to the outermost regions has also pulled you toward a deeper internal journey.

    Again, thanks for sharing your trip, particularly with those of us who aren’t able to go! Not that I encourage vicarious living-simply grateful for your willingness to post so much of your trip!

  3. Roz
    | Reply

    What a wonderful post! So glad that you made it to Cape Horn and, obviously had a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kate
    | Reply

    You are my window to the world , thank you very much, and best belated birthday wishes

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