|After climbing a short heart-pumping slope we ended up in a peat bog! The earth's surface, a quick Google search reveals, is covered 3 percent with peat. The southern hemisphere's bogs, mostly in Patagonia, represent only 1 percent of the total. Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation, and a peat ecosystem is the most effective carbon sink on the planet. For hikers, though, the peat is a pain. Think mud.|
|Makeshift (and shifting) bridges carried us over some of the|
mud holes. But many sections were without a clear trail.
Hiking poles recommended! I managed to find a serviceable stick
in the woods. And left it, a stick in the mud.
|Another group heads over to take a look at a significant beaver dam that blocked a creek to form a pond. Beavers are not native, and their work is considered destructive.|
Chelsea and Chris at Laguna Esmeralda, which is fed by glacial melt. A few minutes after this photo was taken, they did something that was common throughout our month together. Whenever cold, clear water was near, and they could get to it without serious injury, they went for a dip. I couldn't believe it either.
Chris leaping rock-to-rock over the river flowing from the lake, chasing Chelsea as she charges over hill and dale for a private polar dip. I read later that we could have taken a path to the right and circled the small lake, even climbed to the glacier that feeds it.
We were surrounded by mountains. Every turn brought another ahhhhhh vista.
This grey fox appeared on the return trip not far off the trail. It seemed amenable to being photographed as we were not the first to click cameras around it. Earlier, we saw an Andean Condor. Quite a thrill! However, it was too distant and active for a photo.
| The fox hurried downhill, perhaps tired of attention.|
It was fun to see that its tail was as long as its body
and twice as bushy.
|Chelsea, her hair still damp from her polar plunge,|
couldn't contain her enthusiasm as we made
our way back to the trailhead.
Agreed. It was a fine day!
|We were back in Ushuaia in time for lunch, and were|
jazzed about sampling the King Crab for which the area is known.
Alas, the cruise ship had spilled so many people into the town that
finding four seats in a seafood restaurant at 2 p.m. was as unlikely as
having clean boots after navigating a peat bog.
Our last look at beautiful Ushuaia as we sailed away on this unforgettable New Years Day. I feel bad about not having had time to see the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park or any of the SEVEN museums in a town of around 60,000 (as of the 2010 census.)
(The negatives about cruising, which I plan to explore in a later post, include port visits that can only touch the surface.)
Ushuaia has a surprising electronics industry in addition to tourism and a naval presence. However, its major claim to fame, emblazoned on many a T shirt and hat, is that it is located at The End of the World—the southern most city in South America.
EARLIER POST ABOUT THIS TRIP
Rounding Cape Horn - a New Year's Eve to remember