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The long drive

posted on 2019-11-16 00:30:11 in Patagonia

Another early start to take a long drive 13.5 hrs to  Ushuaia the southernmost city in the world, capital of the region and gateway to Parque Nacional Tierra Del Fuego, the southern most Park In Patagonia.

While it sounds like a long time driving it was broken several times. First to change to a connecting bus after 2 hrs. A couple of hours later we had to take a ferry crossing then another couple hours to the border. The last 4 hours did drag a little but by this time the scenery had improved from the flat desolate plains back to trees then mountains and occasional lake to keep the journey interesting.

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Wildlife along the way was scarce and restricted to a few guanaco whereas more domestic animals, horses, cows and sheep, were more plentiful. The excitement for the bus was being stuck in the traffic jam of sheep as the shepherds and their dogs struggled to herd and squeeze the jittery animals thrips gate into a new paddock.

Ushuaia is not an attractive city, it is dirty, run down and has all the hallmarks of being a forgotten place at the end of the world. Pot holes in the roads are plentiful, pavements are rough and uneven and suddenly stop or blocked. The streets are very dusty, littered with rubbish, particularly empty beer bottles, and broken down cars are left for dead everywhere. Housing is a complete mish mash of buildings from tiny run down shacks to elegant modern apartments (probably for the tourists). You can’t help wondering if it wasn’t for the tourists, would this place even survive?

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The first morning of our 4 days here we spent exploring the city and sorting out our itinerary for the remaining days. In the afternoon it was back on the hiking trail with a walk from the edge of the city and hiking up to the Mirador Glacier Martial.

The track wound its way up the hillside following a river through old forest, very peaceful but even in the forest it felt and looked scruffy. Fallen trees were strewn everywhere,  left to rot and return to the earth where they came from. It was like a wall of water had come down the valley uprooting the old trees or a tornado had ripped through the forest breaking off weak branches leaving a trail of destruction behind.

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The track reached a car park and there to my surprise was a chair lift. It was a winter ski field. No chair lift today so we continued our walk with the track leading us up the centre of the main ski run down. At the top of the chair lift we crossed a bridge and we were now walking on snow. The river we were following before emerged from under the snow to start its journey down the valley. The view looking out to sea made me wonder how many other places in the world can you ski and see the sea at the same time?

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Later that evening we were treated to an intense band of colour in the lower sky as the sun set behind the distant mountains. Perfect finish to the.

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