Wednesday, May 15, 2013


When you wonder what to see and do in Ushuaia, the possible answers go far beyond sailing in the Beagle Channel and the walks in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. The Island has a heart dispersed among its lakes and forested valleys, we were lucky to explore. Things were not so bad:  we had a Land Rover with a guide, ceeded by the Blogtrip organizers. The land itself calls the four-wheel drive ...

We left very early and took National Route 3 towards north. The mountains of the Andes, which in this area are around 1450 meters high, had dawned snowy and a somewhat mysterious haze continued pinned to their summits. We were still driving on asphalt  and Laura and the other bloggers were comfortable and smiling in the backseat ...

We spent the Monte Olivia (1470 m) and 21 kilometers we arrived at Tierra Mayor Winter Center, located in a broad valley that spends more time of the year under upholstered snow-ocher green reminded me of Irish peatlands. The warm wood construction makes you wish that the thermometer below zero collapses then retreat to a hot chocolate on the inside, next to the huge salamander. The walls are covered with newspaper articles about the founder of the venture, Gustavo turned, who was none other than the head of Argentina's first overland expedition to the South Pole, where he arrived after two months of operation in December 1965. Returning to the mainland, the Lord turned inclement missed both snowmobiles and opened "Higher Ground", his little Antarctica. This is something of a mecca for those who enjoy skiing and hiking in dog sledding. Outside the cottage, look astonished the Siberian huskies pens used for the task.

The only dog that was not a husky, a dog old, somewhat crude, and was visibly out of service for years, rested heavily and we looked like a mutant bear. It was "Bear", the last surviving example of an extinct race: the Argentine Polar Dog, developed by the Argentine Army to serve in the Antarctic Bases in the 50s, through genetic crosses Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes groenladeses and dogs. The result was the sled dog race stronger than ever known. It is said that the day that the world record was recorded low temperature (- 89) in the Soviet base Vostok, an endowment of dogs was visiting and waited without much complaint on the outside of the base ... The dogs were removed from the white continent in 1994, when the Antarctic Treaty signatory countries indicated that furry quadrupeds were not a native species and thus alter the balance of the Antarctic ecosystem. Interesting how humans evading its own status of invasive species ... Siberians used for the task.

The Tierra Mayor Valley is connected to the Cerro Castor through an unusual bridge for skiers RN 3. This allows a total of skiers have around Ushuaia with 30 tracks and 40 km of ski slopes. Thanks to this, Ushuaia seriously think about running to host the Winter Olympics.

We make an obligatory stop at the Paso Garibaldi, with barely 450 meters is one of the lowest mountain passes that have crossed, which does not take away the luxury of being the Andean pass the southernmost continent. From the lookout you can see Lake Escondido and in the background, the Fagnano.

Shortly after our driver takes a sharp turn and started jumping on a dirt road without maintenance: the RP 149, that despite such number is just the path to an old sawmill. Finally, land which justifies the fact that we are on board a 4x4. We entered the heart of a beech forest. Some specimens aged stand firm and suspiciously on the set, indicating they were "forgiven" by the chainsaws so that its seeds do endure the forest.

In some places, the trees are dry and scattered on the ground, as soldiers abandoned by a boy who got bored of playing. When we invaded almost sadness to award the event to the logging, the guide interrupted: the fall of the trees is natural and common in Tierra del Fuego. In fact, the campers in this corner of the world should not fear invisible snakes, or bears claws. Nor are insects that transmit deadly diseases like dengue or malaria. In return, the province can greet you with a club to the head at any time. This happens because the topsoil is only 15 cm, so that the strong wind woody collects their bodies.

Still, the wind is not nearly the biggest enemy of the forests that despite everything, enjoy good health in the province, with very strict forest policy and controlled. The Public Enemy is a Canadian who sharps his tooth against tree trunks. And I do not mean some traveler lost dentally reason so wrong, but the beavers. No one, not ten, or a thousand, must be millions beavers gnaw cheerfully fueguino natural heritage. The first 50 of these cute critters were introduced in 1947 by the Argentine Army, with the dollar sign in the eye white fur industry foresaw a profitable one. They did not count in Tierra del Fuego was less cold than in Canada, and therefore developed beaver fur lower quality was unacceptable for the international market. Unable to transform them into pesos, irresponsible act of piety, let them go. Since then the beavers began a relentless colonization. Finding no natural predators, multiplied by thousands, eating away everything they found in their path.

With the wood of trees, these little creatures of Dutch soul that allows them to build dams flood the areas surrounding its burrow, in defense to predators that at least in Tierra del Fuego, no. Around the "beaver" the outlook is bleak, the trees have been cut down die, drowned, drowned standing. Trees, in all their forms are the protagonists: alive, dead, standing, lying down, covered with lichens or gnaw through trees with signs of beaver or Laura ... But beyond those expected of local metamorphosis tree, other surprising. Some trees have huge knots in its branches, plant tumors that formed the local indigenous menu, and known as Indian bread or Llao Llao (God bless the meal). In other trees hanging ball-shaped lichen called "Chinese lanterns" and even shaped beard. A fueguinos trees like accessories.

Following a chopped old arrived on the shores of Lake Fagnano, recently renamed "Khami" after the vernacular name given to him by ones. The lake stretches for over 100 km from west to east, and gets to have 200 meters deep. For us it was an ideal place for a barbecue accompanied by minced and wine. Everything was quiet, and we had become accustomed to woodpeckers and other colorful birds. The last thing we expected was that the irresistible aroma of grilled meat smell would draw a red fox. There was, less than 10 meters, measuring the risk of going after a short rib in a corner of the forest invaded by humans. Struggling with the drowsiness we rejoin our mission and address the Land Rover. the we go through the very edge of Lake Fagnano, maximizing the vehicle we had.Now that's taking a shortcut!

In the case of Tierra del Fuego, the lakes are an excuse to venture into the landscape. While the roads to Lake Fagnano-south cross Khami since extensive forests of beech, beaver dams, mills, etc., to pose the pupils over Lake Yehuin the traveler must transit between industrious and almost centenary estacnias. The track appears on maps as "complementary Route H", and to splice it must travel 125 km north from Ushuaia.

We crossed several guardaganados and gates, and let us cherish the soul by the incomparable summer pastures adorned with constellations of wildflowers. Heidi appeared feared, because he ran a high risk of being hit by our Land Rover. We finally hulls of Estancia La Indiana, and Estancia Rivadavia (the latter founded in 1925 by Croatian pioneers and today functioning as an inn). And then, in the middle of pastures and fences, emerges Yehuin Lake: a mirror at the foot of Cerro crystalline Shenolsh, condor habitat, when he dspone, can be seen. If you your coordinates should afford the joy of the remote, the feeling is accentuated by the remains of an abandoned government lodge anachronistic. Forgetting, entrenzado with water and mountains, seem to be a fundamental ingredient of the charm of one of the lesser known of Tierra del Fuego. There are countless additional gravel paths, and lakes and stays that await those who really enjoy the roads with little trace.


Distance Ushuaia - Tierra Mayor Winter Center: 21 km
Dist Ushuaia - Paso Garibaldi: 53 km
Dst. Ushuaia - Estancia Rivadavia: 150 km
CAMPING ON LAKE FAGNANO: Camping Hain. (02964) 15603606. Tolhuin.
COST OF AN EXCURSION 4X4 FAGNANO LAKE: (February 2013) $ 600
SUPPLEMENTARY AUTOSTOP ROUTE "H": Possible. Occasional traffic is observed.   

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