Sunday, February 20, 2005

Fin del Mundo

Here it is...this is the End of the World. This is a photo from the Tierra del Fuego National Park. It´s a beautiful park, with mountains all around, clear lakes and hiking trails. The trees here are beautiful: their trunks and limbs are twisted and bent to resist the harsh winds; all of the flora is hardy and strong to withstand the cold winters and summer wind. Ushuaia itself is a small, very touristy town, filled with shops where people docked for the day on cruise ships can come ashore and buy stuffed penguins and "End of the World" t-shirts, but all around is beautiful scenery in a land which feels totally untouched and where the slightly desolate landscape reminds you how far away from the rest of the world you are.

I went for a hike in the park Friday and yesterday took a 9-hour cruise on the Beagle Channel past colonies of seals, cormorants, and yes, penguins! We also passed Puerto Williams, Chile, a military base with a population of 2,500 which is actually the southernmost town in the world. Today I climbed up a steep trail and climbed over slippery rocks to touch the Martial Glacier. It is quite cold here, and I have layered on all my warm clothes, including my winter coat, hat and gloves!