Whilst I was in the dilemma of going to Torres del Paine National Park, Craig, Mark and Takaya who I’ve met before saw my blog update and contacted me to meet up since they were in Puerto Natales as well. We took a rest day and went to Torres del Paine the following day. It was nice to hang out around town and do absolutely nothing.
Mark, Takaya and I rode out to Torres the next day to hike to Base de Las Torres. It was about an 8-hour trek through some of the most beautiful Patagonia terrain.
The last bit was a little taxing on the knees, especially on the way down.
We were rewarded with this view at the end.
The prominent granite towers of Torres del Paine (Towers of Paine) hence its name.
Tres amigos eh 😛 (Mark & Takaya are from BC, Canada)
We planned to camp at the park that night but all of the sites were booked months in advance. The refugio just outside of the park charges $80/person for a dormitory bed so it was an easy decision to go back to Puerto Natales for the night.
Meanwhile, cordero asado (whole roast lamb) was being prepared back at the hostel and we were invited. What a great way to wrap up the day after a long hike!
We took another rest day to recover from the hike and bid farewell to Craig who took the ferry back to Puerto Montt. Mark & Takaya and I will also part ways as they head northbound while I continue south toward Ushuaia.
After about half a day in the chilly breeze without any interesting sights I arrived in Punta Arenas. It was quite a nice port city that reminded me much of the Maritimes.
I was up early the next day to catch a 9 AM ferry to cross the Strait of Magellan.
Commerson’s dolphins sighting in the Strait of Magellan.
I arrived at Porvenir 2 hours later.
Then it’s dirt all the way to Ruta 3 on the Atlantic coast.
One last border crossing going southbound before reaching Ushuaia.
I stopped in Río Grande for the night and woke up to the howling wind. The final push to Ushuaia was the windiest day yet on this trip. I nearly got blown over the moment I lifted up my foot to shift into first. The landscape is still relatively flat until about 100 km from Ushuaia where mountain ranges start to shoot up from the horizon.
I was thrilled to see the Ushuaia pillars that appeared out of nowhere after a curve. It took me exactly 6 months to reach the tip of South America from my home in Dearborn. It was a bitter sweet moment that marks the turning point in my journey.
First glimpse of ‘End of the World’
I met up with Joe the next day in the Tierra del Fuego National Park for the obligatory ‘End of the Road’ sign photo. It was a bit of a gimmick to attract tourists but works well. There were busloads of tourists being dropped off at the sign to have their pictures taken. It’s funny that I became a sensation there as all of attention and cameras turned over to me the moment I arrived. After much anticipation it was finally my turn when the crowd cleared up.
End of the road; End of the world
Other than the sign, the park itself isn’t all that special.
Now I have a 3079 km marathon ahead of me to wrap up first leg of the journey in Buenos Aires. I can’t believe I’m half way through! 😀