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Nick and Laina's Adventures

Gnarled Mountain Peaks, Lush Valleys and Tierra Del Fuego

ARGENTINA | Wednesday, 21 January 2009 | Views [1348] | Comments [10]

Hitchihiking in Tierra Del Fuego

Hitchihiking in Tierra Del Fuego

Ushuaia is such a nice little town. It reminds me a little of Burlington, Vermont, gut really it is its own city. The main drag is small with many shows on both sides, and colorful and warm looking buildings. The whole city has a the warm feel that you get in a ski lodge ora n alpine town. It is set on the Beagle channel, a straight of water that you can ceoss Tierra del Fuego by boat. I think it was named by Darwin, and the boat he was on was the Beagle. Behind the city  lies many huge mountains with snow tops and jagged peaks, similar to the sawtooth mountians in Idaho.

We spent two days walking around town, stocking up on supplies and seeing the sights. For dinner we decided to go ahead and make some Cordero(Lamb)!! At one of the restaurants in town a “top of the line” lamb dinner costs 34$ Pesos, about 10 US$. We decided that it was too pricey so we went to the supermarket ourselves and bought the best cut of cordero(lamb) they had. Lamb costs 14.90$pesos per kilo. If you do the math, mouth-watering tierra del fuego-grown lamb is US$ 1.50 per pound!!!!! Unbelievable!  That being said, we bought 2.3 Kilos, a whole leg, for 34 pesos, about 10 $US.

Back at the hostel we lit up the oven and seasoned our lamb with olive oil, rosmary, and salt and pepper. MMmm.  We roasted it to a médium rare (some parts very rare) perfection, and  accompanied it with two bottles of red wine, both from argentina, a Malbec, and a Syrah/Cabernet. The wine was about 1.50-2.00$US per bottle. Dinner was pure deliciousness…..Mmm

The next day we started our 3 day trek(hike) in Valle De Andorra, the large valley in the mountains behind Ushuaia. The hike starts north of town, and then about 15 mile later comes out on the south part of town, a perfect hike if you only have backpacks. We took a taxi to the start of the hike, we drove out of town, up into the mountains, and up a dirty muddy dirt road. Eventually he dropped us off at a gate, and told us to continue to walk past the gate and on the right we will find a sign for the start of the trail.

Starting the hike, we can see into this deep valley with jagged mountain peacks on both sides.we are hiking in a thick old growth type forest with many trees that look similar to Alder, common in the US. The trail is pretty wide, and starts in some very pasture like land, where we can see far into the valley and the mountain peaks. We hiked for about 4 hours, since we started at 4 oclock in the afternoon, and then set up camp in a nice clearing, with a stream nearby. Once camp was set up we quickly broke out corys fly fishing stuff, and headed to the stream. The creek was about 15 feet wide and the water was very clear. The bottom was slate grey with many rocks and fast moving cold water. Cory was fishing with wet-fly nymphs or somthing, and we didnt even see any fish. Hmm. Alter a while I was wondering if there were even fish  in the creek. In case you didnt know, all the trout in Tierra del Fuego are introduced, and maybe there are creeks that did not have any fish, I dont know.

The second day of the hike brough tus out of the trees and above tree line. Once out of the tree I turned around, into the wind, and looked out. On the oppisite side of the valley, there are much more massive mountians then previously, and I could even see a hgih mountain glaciar!  Turning around there was a long ridge with peaks more jagged then the Sawtooths, and they looked cold, dead and foreboding, quite a sight. We hiked along the cold jagged ridge, heading uphill for about an tour until we reach the high mountain pass. Boy was it cold and windy. Once all therr of us made it to the pass, we headed down into the valley on the other side. I know we are with 20 miles of Ushuaia by the crow flies, but it felt like we could have been on Antarctica, the wind was so strong, and cold, and the scenery was awesome, dark, and foreboding. Comino down into the other valley, I could see the green cliffs of lichens and algea on the wind protected side, and countless waterfalls dropping into the deep vally leading to the ocean. We stuck to the north side of the valley, very high up, where the trail was easy to hike on, it was all rock, as opposed to mud. And way down the way I was able to see the ocean. Alter many miles of hiking along the side, we re-entered treeline and then headed to the end of the hike. Since the second half of the hike did not have any good spots for camping, we kept hiking to the town. Eventually we got to the outskirts of Ushuaia and looked back. The view was spectacular, however I know that being up there was much harder then it looked from here, in town.

We headed to a campground outside town, set up camp and took some much hended rest. Waking up, we finished off our food, headed into town, which took about an hour or so, longer then I thought. Got back to the hostel took our stuff, said our good byes, and got on the road for Rio grande. Stick our thumbs out, we got a ride from a guy that was driving propane north. He was very friendly, and showed us all the things to see on the ride. The drive from Ushuaia to Tolhuin is very beautiful, if I havent mentioned it before. From Tolhuin, we hended to catch another ride, but now the sun was going down. We waited for about 45 minutes, and when it statred to get dark, headed down the road, and traed to fina place to camp, when another car finally passed, stuck out my thumb, and he stopped!!! Sweet! We jumped in and he took us to Rio Grande. We arrived at 11:30 back to the hostel we were about  6 days ago, they le tus in with open arms, and we were very happy to have a home away from home. We had some dinner, more meat and bread, with a red wine sauce. Then we all went to bed!

Today we are gathering our stuff, and we will head into Chile! Out immediate goal is Parque Nacional Torres Del Paines. The journey may take two days, so we will have to see. From there we will head to Puerto Montt, and then to Santiago. We will just have to see where the road takes us!




Hi Nick and Laina,

I am just amazed at your fearlessness. Keep writing!!

Today is the inauguaration of Obama. It has been an amazing day. We had a brunch with 8 friends and watch the swearing in and the address. Now I am home, but watching the parade and the wonderful sight of the President and Mrs. Obama--young, intelligent, walking some of the route--hand in hand. This is a great country. Be safe. Love, Aunt Mary

  aunt mary Jan 21, 2009 8:53 AM


I am so happy and relieved to hear from you! I was getting worried. So, things are good now. Our whole school stopped everything today and gathered to watch the Inauguration live on CNN. It was very moving and a historic event! Tonight, Holly and I are going to an Inauguration Party! Yippee!! Love you and miss you more than you could ever imagine! Hope things are good with Laina's family. It sounded like her Grandmother was not doing well. Has she improved? Love,

  Mommy Jan 21, 2009 9:27 AM


You should know that I translate all of your stories using googles translate function to German for Oma.
e.g. this is what it does above for spanish:

Usted debe saber que traducir todas sus historias usando googles traducir al alemán la función de Oma.


  Daddy Peter Jan 22, 2009 11:39 PM


Now translating the above spanish sentence back to english yields:
You should know that all their stories translated using Google translate into German Oma function.
Oh, well
Stay safe and out of trouble

  Daddy Peter Jan 23, 2009 4:01 AM


spent the last hour catching up on your jouney. Hadn"t read anything for 3 weeks. are you eating too much meat? yuk...blood sausage.. get on with the fruits and veggies. I'm sending uncle terry out for a bigger map of south america so i can get a better picture of where you are...stop talking to people about australia....got it...never heard of a bus serving food and movies...take care hugs and kisses aunt susan

  TERRY AND SUSAN Jan 24, 2009 3:02 AM


Nick...great descriptions. I can't imagine how much you have walked.
The Obama swearing in and wonderful festivities would have made you proud of our country. 1.8 million people at the Washington Mall and no arrests or problems. People are reaching out to each other, and volunteering.
It feels good to me, that is for sure.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write to all of us who are walking with you in spirit and in prayer. Be safe and laugh a lot.
What do the people you meet think of our election of Obama?
Love, Aunt Pat...Uncle Richard, too!

  Aunt Pat Jan 24, 2009 3:17 PM


hola laina y nick
he pensado mucho de ustedes y sus aventuras y delicias...andale, que estoy con ustedes, que sean abiertos, bendigados por el camino y la bonita gente que conozcan.

mi querida papi se ha muerto hace una semana. El nos ha sido y sigue siendo mas grande de la vida misma. ha servido a miles de personas, a vivir una vida mas digna. Le habrian encantado sus descubrimientos, de su camino. que les vaya bien.

que se murio sin haber testigado la investidura de Obama y la alegria y esperanza de una nacion enterea, pues, como la abuela del nuevo presidente, solo puedo creer que murieron sabiendolo ya antes de nosotros y por eso murieron en paz merecida. me interesa saber de lo que hayan dicho los de su viaje sobre esta inauguracion.

anden con los dioses, su prima

  catherine fox-anderson Jan 24, 2009 3:55 PM


sobre blood sausage- "orcilla"en espana...por todo el mundo, si tomas la vida de un animal, comes todo, no pierdes nada. ..... se trata del respeto a la vida del animal, y de los beneficios dieticos....y .....

  catherine Jan 24, 2009 3:58 PM


oops- morcilla (blood sausage)

  catherine Jan 24, 2009 3:59 PM


hi, me again. Ushuaia...mentioned in that amazing movie you must rent when you get home and are feeling nostalgic...."Valentin"....

  catherine Jan 24, 2009 4:03 PM

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