The End of the World As We Know It // Argentina & Chile

After motoring on and exploring the rainforest wonderland of the Carretera Austral in Chile, nothing could have felt more alien than entering the steppes of Argentina through the remote border of Paso Roballos.  We had hiked and camped in places that will enchant our dreams forever, but summer in Patagonia is a short season with so much to see and do, so we journeyed on towards new adventures, towards the promise of the unknown, the next, the (personally) undiscovered.  That is the thrill which keeps us enjoying this life on constant motion.  A single dirt track solemnly rambled through the scrubby cover, high mesa’s marking the eastern edge of the Andes range… and it was good.  A new day, in a new country, with an entirely new perspective to discover, like learning a new language we studied the landscapes, listening for the idiosyncracies particular to this new wilderness.
The mountains looked like they had been playing geological Scattergories: color, texture and height all mingled hoping for glory, but it was their collective mash-up that was the winner.  
While bouncing down the dusty route, we encountered these fellow overlanders- Flavio & Nathalie from Switzerland, traveling in their Mercedes 4100 van.  You can read more about their travels on their site.  

Adam grew up right down the street from the Devil’s Punchbowl in Southern California, where he spent much time doing free climbing (the most dangerous type, because you have no line to catch you if you fall).  He moved to LA for college and hasn’t climbed much since… being surrounded by all the amazing opportunities for playing on rocks, we are working towards getting the right gear to do some fun family climbing.
On the windy shores of Lago Ghio we boon docked for the night. 
We love that this is the screen we look at the most, the scenery passing as we slowly roll.  Undoubtedly, we are still tied to screens of technology as that is what allows us to earn income on the road & share our adventures with you in these remote places.  It is a precarious balance- living life and absorbing the essence of a place, staying present in that experience, and trying to capture a small slice of it to share with the outside world.  Have we captured it well or have we misrepresented it?  We spend a good deal of time waxing poetic on this subject, trying to honor the experience and stay present.  That is why we stepped away from video pretty early on in the trip, and why we have politely declined to be involved in 10+ video/reality TV projects since.  We do not want to live our life according to a shoot-schedule, to constantly film new takes, to have our daughters think of ‘hair and makeup’ which is fun once in a while but not for reality, to plot our course according to or wait in a place until the light is just right, and we most certainly have little interest in anyone else editing our life.  Perhaps the right situation will arise, but for now, please stick with us as we share this journey through words and still image.  To take the photos, edit them, share them on  our Instagram, Facebook and write 20 pages worth of text then assemble the flow of 200 pix here on our blog, is a serious undertaking.  Technology makes our trip possible; we would not be able to do this as we do 10 years ago, this is a modern adventure in which we relish the long stretches of analog living.
Bajo Caracoles is described as “the only reliable gas station in the area” but proved otherwise- they were simply out of gas and did not know when the truck would be coming to refuel them.  Thankfully in these remote zones, we carry 10 gallons of gas in the jerry cans on the back swing away system from our friends at GoWesty.  Our plan was to fuel up here, then head to the Cueva de los Manos, where there are some 2,000+ handprint cave paintings from ancient times, but we had to scrap that and keep heading south.  Perhaps on the way north.   
One in every 10,000 mammal births is noted as an albino, but most don’t fare too well in the wild, as their poorer eyesight and lack of the pigment melanin makes them easy prey.  Many indigenous cultures consider albino animals sacred, believing they represent the pure essence of that animal’s species and have certain ‘medicine’ to deliver as ambassadors from the other side.  We felt really fortunate to witness this beautiful albino guanaco and her little nursling!
The 7th largest desert in the world, the Patagonian Steppe or Patagonian Desert, covers 260,000 square miles.  The Andes range essentially blocks the moisture flow from the Pacific, where it dumps huge amounts of moisture on the Chilean forests.  Argentine Patagonia dances upon the horizon like an oasis that never appears.  
Later down the road, we popped in the second jerry can of gas, as the famous Patagonian wind whipped across the plains.
Our little ambassador of love and joy, Sierra Luna.  Born and raised on the road, she knows no other life, having spent her entire in-utero experience and from 8 weeks onward tripping around the globe.  
In Gobernador Gregores we stocked up on groceries (after playing at the park for an hour while the store was closed for siesta), attempted in vain at 4 different locations to connect to wifi, and filled all our gas tanks.  The town wasn’t calling to us in any meaningful way so went to Lago Cardiel, just off the Ruta 40, which is supposed to have great fishing and would be a quiet place to wild camp for the night.  We have said it before, we will say it again- we do not live our life on the road like a ‘vacation’- we wild camp most nights and make our own food, investing our funds into gas and groceries.  The beauty of slow travel, like a slow cooked meal rewards in the richness of flavor, of having transformed nourishing ingredients into something wholesome and delicious.  And it is.  It feels wholesome in the best way, to try and slow the progression of time, to savor these pure and ever changing lives we have been gifted with raising. Sometimes it hurts so good, the vast love we have for our little lovely ones.  
And we will certainly do about anything to elicit their free and pure laughter.
Ruta 40 is an iconic highway along the eastern edge of the Andes range, something equivalent to US Route 66 in terms of cultural importance to a nation.  Many stretches remain unpaved gravel, with herds of guanaco comprising the only traffic.
On Ruta 23 we turned west, heading to El Chaltén where the iconic peaks of the Fitz Roy range pierce the sky with their toothy grin.  Driving with our mouths wide open, we spotted in the distance a gaucho. 
As we drew closer, we could see he was not, and we were intrigued.  Never having ridden a horse before, “Julien Supertramp” decided to leave France, come to Argentina, buy 2 horses, learn to ride and travel around South America for a while. Here he is a week into his adventure, with his horses Jongo & Marco and his Pyranees dog Okie (hiding behind the horses). 
A life long dream coming into focus!  Approaching the Fitz Roy massif in Argentina on a rare clear day when the whole range stands looming above vast Patagonia. Really, there are no words sufficient to explain the feeling of driving towards this range.  
Driving into the high winds towards the Fitz Roy Massif we stopped to offer some water to these hard core 19 year old Swiss gals that had been pedaling for 5 weeks from Ushuaia.  Sensing they were more interested in a ride than some water, we broke down Lluna and Clementine’s bikes and loaded them in.  This is a 35mm photo Adam took on his Yashika T4 for a project he is calling “Hitchhikers.” asking the people we pick up- Where are you from & where are you going?
At the trailhead parking lot in El Chaltén, we ran into Simon in the blue van at left, who we had met 3 months earlier in Brazil.  Having checked the report (WindGuru is the most popular for this region), we knew it was a perfect ‘weather window’ in the notoriously fickle range, so did not waste any time hanging around town- we prepared for a morning departure into the backcountry.
Taking a turn on the other end of the thumb, we hitchhiked 13km up the road towards Lago del Desierto to Hostal El Pilar, where a trailhead started.
Los Glaciares is the second largest National Park in Argentina, spanning 2,800 sq miles, 30% of which is glacier.   Access is essentially broken up into 2 sectors, north (here, the Fitz Roy range, accessed by El Chaltén town) and south (accessed through El Calafate, with the Perito Moreno Glacier being the highlight).  Entering the northern sector of the National Park is free, and campsites are too!  Thanks Argentina!
After a few hours of hiking among the lush forest in on a warm afternoon, the views started getting dramatic!  Here the East Fitz Roy Glacier spills into Lago Piedras Blancas.
On the trail, I carry Sierra while Adam carries the bulk of heavy goods in his backpack.  I have to tell you, I’m pretty excited with my end of the bargain.  There is little bliss in this world that can compare to hiking in a stunningly beautiful location on a gorgeous day with a sleeping baby pressed to your chest, whisper soft sighs carrying sweet milk breath to your nose.  What a totally sacred time.
With the big 400mm zoom on, Adam closes in for a divine view of the jagged peaks. 
Arriving at Camp Poincenot, we set up our basecamp, dried out our socks, made lunch, then set off for the second (much harder) half of the day up to Lago de Los Tres.
After a morning on Mama, Sierra relishes some space and is working hard on learning how to pull herself around. 
We can’t believe this is real life! Taking in the incredible silhouette of the Fitz Roy massif from as many angles as possible. Coco charging the trail cause she doesn’t have a heavy ass backpack to carry (but she does carry her own water bottle).
The trail up to Lago de Los Tres is rated “difficult.”  As we climbed up the increasingly steep incline in the hot afternoon sun, red faced hikers descending looked at us and shook their heads.  A few smiled, some stopped to tell us in English or Spanish that the trail was way too difficult for Colette to make it, that we should turn around because it was futile, it was too far, too hot, too steep. 
So we asked Colette if she though she could make it, and an exuberant “yes!” was her answer.
There was one group of younger women on the trail that stopped to say they were very impressed with Colette’s climbing and that she could do it!   We were pleased there was at least one group of people on the trail that believed as well as we did that a strong, determined 4 year old can, given love, support, plenty of water and lots of breaks, complete a difficult hike.  
This view is even more  p o w e r f u l  in person.
At Lago de Los Tres, we are three hikers, one lil’ hitchhiker (who is snoozing peacefully in the Ergo), and a green beam. Coco was hot from the strenuous hike, and wanted to go swimming!  “No, it’s not cold, it’s refreshing!” Adam scrambled up higher towards the peaks, leaving Emily & the girls on the safety of solid ground.
Adam reached a point where he could go no further without proper ropes and climbing equipment.  Looking down at Lago Sucio (which does not look dirty as the name states) he said a bit of vertigo struck when looking down the sheer face.
As we descended to camp on the late afternoon the mighty Fitz Roy massif threw ominous shadows on all that lay below, like a shark taking a bite out of Patagonia.With such world class views, who cares that we are eating dehydrated whatever.
Sun rays slowly creeping from the highest peaks down the valley towards camp.  We ran into some very stoked rock climbers that were taking full advantage of the rare weather window.  Climbers from all over the world come here to summit these iconic towers, where most wait for weeks or longer to get the chance.
We are not schedule people.  We can certainly meet a deadline, but living the day-to-day waking to the sound of an electronic bullhorn is no way to harken the dia. So, carpe diem, we will seize the day.  Day 2 on the trail with the littles begins, we pack up and set off to explore this paradise.
When Adam saw these dead trees mimicking the angles of the highest peaks, he knew he wanted to get this shot.  So he hiked off trail to do just that.
And he came back with boots looking like these… He said it was a bit of an “aha!” moment when his feet sunk into the red mud.  “That’s why the trees are dead, they are submerged.”  With boots that weren’t going to get any drier, he pressed on until he framed up the above shot that pleased his vision.  I’ll say the photo is a keeper!!
After several hours hiking in the hot sun (slathered in sunscreen), we found a shallow glacial lake that was too tempting to pass up so we all stripped down & took the plunge!  Colette, the bravest of us all, stayed in the water the longest, calling to us waist deep in the water to “Come back in! Let’s swim forever!”Approaching the Cerro Torre massif.Camp on night 2 was pretty dreamy if we do say so.  The weather was indescribably perfect, with no wind in a place that howls with a gale on a regular basis, so we felt extra appreciative that we had hit the ground running when we arrived in El Chaltén. 16 miles logged in two days, these little legs have earned some rest.It was a full moon, Adam got up at the wee hours of morning to raise hands to the power of it all.  Mountains, moon, and stars are our chapel, this is our church.Why do sunsets get all the glory? The moon setting into the tower Aguja Standhart with Punta Heron, Torre Egger & the iconic Cerro Torre to the left.Adam set off from camp in the moonlight, his headlamp an unnecessary accessory in the majestic rainbow of colors that slowly morphed from ultramarine to lilac into powder blue.  In the still morning air, first light kisses Cerro Torre as a turquoise iceberg floats.  Nothing short of amazing views here in Fitz Roy.
These peaks remain some of the most technically challenging climbs on earth, with just the approach to these stone icons being a journey requiring serious mountaineering and glacier crossings. All this before the climbers even face the sheer granite known for exceptionally inclement weather.  While Mt. Everest may be the tallest mountain on earth, these peaks are certainly some of the most challenging and iconic for mountaineers and climbers.With the big zoom on, you can nearly taste the pink glowing gargantuan granite towers, that are considered a crown jewel in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The dancing S-curves of Glacier Grande meeting Lago Toro.  
Not mountains, but Glacier Grande’s rows of shark teeth.
We will be honest… it doesn’t get much better than this.
How does one get a 4 year old to hike for 3 days straight?  Day one and two were no problem, but day 3 she needed extra stops, extra snacks, and the promise of gelato at the end of the hike.
She did it!  Our champion hiked all 24 miles by herself.
Food first, then the gelato we promised Coco.  Pizza, salad, gnocchi for the girls, wine for us.
In the small but welcoming visitor center, route maps of summits.
Departing El Chaltén and the glorious Fitz Roy peaks, our hearts were full.  Fuller than we could have ever imagined.  There was a trace of sadness to leave a place of such undeniable natural beauty, but we knew we would return.  After a few hours driving we pulled off onto a small side road and popped the top beneath the full and radiant moon.We had met and made plans with some scientists who invited us to join them at the Straight of Magellan, where they would be conducting research on an oil spill from 1974.  So we bypassed a visit to the southern end of Los Glaciares National Park (and the famed Perito Moreno Glacier) for long stretches of desert.  Down the vast and open road we drove, south then east to the Atlantic coast.  
Parked at a gas station in what most would qualify as quite the middle of nowhere, we spotted this vibey twosome.  Pretty into the yin-yang hubcaps.
After yet another border crossing (standard procedure- paperwork, stamping, waiting in lines), we entered Chile again, crossed the Straight of Magellan by ferry and landed onto Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego- the island just south of the main mass of South America that is shared by Chile and Argentina.
Following very carefully the instructions we had received to meet the scientists, we checked and rechecked when the road was dotted with landmine signs!  We were indeed on the right road.   At the Paso International San Sebastián, the mines were installed by Chile in the 1970’s when both countries were on the brink of an armed conflict, but with the intervention of Pope John Paul II and the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984, war was avoided.  12,773 mines were implanted on the border zones, and to date 10,000 have been removed.  The remaining balance is supposed to be removed by 2020.  We are usually all about off trail explorations, but this is not an area to do so.  
Down the beach we walked toward the estuary where we would rendezvous to learn more about one of the only manmade oil spills in the world that has never been cleaned up.  After 40 years, we were interested to see what relics we would discover.
John, Erich and Lacey had been in the field for a few hours, measuring, recording and comparing photos Erich had taken at the time of the spill in 1974, with more photos he took in 1995.  In August 1974, supertanker Metula ran ashore in the Straight of Magellan, which is known to have extreme tidal conditions.  Spilling 54,000 tons of crude oil (2x the amount spilled in Alaska with the ExxonValdez disaster!) directly into the sea, it then carried onto beaches & tidal marshes of Tierra del Fuego.  Chile in 1974 was a pretty tough place, Pinochet had just overthrown the government with a brutal military junta, so this removed and remote region of Chile was of no priority.  No cleanup operation was ever executed by the government of Chile or Saudi Arabia (or anyone else for that matter).
Over 14,000 days later, there were still large areas of wet oil in the estuary!  It smelled like freshly poured asphalt if the wind blew from a certain direction, which was surprising to us and the scientists.  

The crude oil has morphed differently in areas on the coast and inland marshes, some places it was still wet, some areas it was buried under a layer of mud, other exposed areas it became a sidewalk.  A 3-inch thick piece of crude oil compacted by 40 years of time, now called “asphalt” in the oil pollution community, is residue formed from weathered petroleum products, varies in texture from hard and brittle to plastic, which actually looks like regular asphalt.

Erich, using gps waypoints formerly studied to take samples and make direct comparisons of the changes.
Referencing photos he took in 1974.Dr. Erich Gundlach (at left), an oil spill expert & scientist, got his start in the field when as a young lifeguard in Florida he wanted to figure out how he could remain on the beach & help preserve it.  He now runs Oil Spill Info, and travels the world for scientific oil spill response, training others in cleanup techniques and offers environmental assessments.  John Bauer (at right), who during the 1989 ExxonValdez spill in Alaska was in charge of saying ‘when’ was it was clean enough.  A former spokesman for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, he now does environmental consulting and has responded to marine and land spills including Deepwater Horizon, T/V Exxon Valdez, M/V Kuroshima, M/V Selendang Ayu, TransAlaska Pipeline.  So yep, we felt pretty lucky to get to see these experts in the field.

Not a pretty picture!  The extreme weather of Tierra del Fuego- intense rain, strong wind & little sun- has left pockets of fresh crude oil sequestered under a hard outer layer.  Called “mousse”, this thick foamy oil-and-water mixture is formed when petroleum products are subjected to mixing with water by the action of waves and wind. Mousse can range in colour from dark brown to nearly red or tan, and typically has a thickened or pudding-like consistency. Incorporation of up to 75 percent water into the oil, will cause the apparent volume of a given quantity of oil to increase by up to four times.
Crude oil: a fossil fuel formed from plant and animal remains many million of years ago.  It comprises organic compounds built up from hydrogen and carbon atoms and is, accordingly, often referred to as hydrocarbons.  Crude oil is occasionally found in springs or pools, but is usually drilled from wells beneath the earth’s surface. This oil of the Metula spill was transported from Saudi Arabia to be processed by Chile. Ha, a little too close babe!  While exploring the tidal estuary, Emily spotted a whale skull and portions of the skeleton.  Thankfully the corpse was fully decomposed, so we were able to inspect the bones, which ignited many questions from curious Coco.  We love fostering her child-led learning.  This experience, both for our own enrichment and hers is exactly why skipping from the dreamy, warm cordillera peaks to the wind-whipped lands of Tierra del Fuego with the scientists was an easy decision to make. It was a cold and windy afternoon in the field that led to happy hour in the van with our three amigos.We camped near the spill site, and in the morning set off to explore this dramatic land.  
We crossed back into Argentina (more papers and stamps, but increasingly efficient) and outside of the largest city on the island, Rio Grande, we camped on the namesake river.  This region is famed for trout… big, ocean run trout.  Most access to the river is privately owned land, and access is only granted by visiting the big money estancias that line the river.  We found access right off the road, where most locals head and Adam cast his line into the pink evening sky with dreams of a fish supper.
No such luck, but we still enjoyed our van-made meal.
Camaraderie: noun ca·ma·ra·de·rie- spirit of friendly good fellowship.  Within our VW world, we have felt this bond that only a few other modes of transport can inspire.  
Draping the trees in marvelous fashion was “old man’s beard” is a type of lichen thats often confused with Spanish moss.  It grows from Antarctica to the tropics and has been used to treat whooping cough, catarrh, epilepsy, and dropsy as well as astringent, a tonic, and a diuretic.  We did a bit of research and learned only 6 types of tree grow in Tierra del Fuego.
1) Winter’s bark, canelo in Spanish: so called because a boat with Sir Francis Drake in 1577 went ashore and recovered the bark, which helped treat their scurvy, caused by vitamin C deficiency, which the bark is bountiful in.
2)  Maytenus magellanica, called leña dura  is a hardy shrub.
3) Ciprés de las Guaitecas, slow growing evergreen is the southernmost conifer in the world. The yellow-reddish wood is very decay resistant, having a distinctive spicy-resinous smell (not good firewood).  It is widely used for building construction, which has led to its declining status.
4, 5 and 6 are all in the Nothofagus genus, the Southern Beech family…
4) Ñire, is scientifically called Nothofagus antarctica, is a small bush which turns the forest into a virtual rainbow come fall with leaves turning every shade of  yellow, orange and red.
5) Lenga in the Mapuche language,  regenerates easily after fire and can grow to 100 feet tall.
6) Guindo, nothofagus betuloides, was first collected on Captain Cook’s 1769 voyage.
OK, enough scientific ramblings, this is Lago Fagnano.  Isn’t it nice?As the mighty Andes range crumbles into the Great Southern Ocean, the land separating the two becomes a wet peat bog.  Called turbal, these peat bogs cover much of the southernmost tip of South America.  115 million tons of peat are estimated to be in Argentina, with 110 million of that occurring in Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands.  These wetland ecosystems form as dead organic matter verrrrrry slowly decomposes (like 10,000 years slow) due to the combination of heavy amounts of water with slow water saturation, low oxygen content and scarce nutrients.  
Then… we arrived…. in Ushuaia… the southernmost city in the world!   When we first posted this on our more current social media channels, many asked if we were sad our trip was coming to an end.  We originally thought it would take us 6 months to make it here, but it’s been two and a half years!  Let us tell you, this is not the end.
We explored this diverse city, set behind a curtain of snowcapped mountains.  Don’t know why, but we expected very little of this town at the end of the world. Guess our motto of “trade expectation for experience” really paid off.  We were so pleased to explore the mellow boulevards overlooking the Beagle Channel that were dotted with cafes.  (((Ahem)))  Do NOT miss Ramos Generales off the main drag across from the gas station.  They have, hands down, the best almond croissant between here and the Big Sur Bakery.  This statement has now been confirmed by two Frenchmen, so believe us when we say these crunchy, buttery croissants are legit.

Just off the main waterfront boulevard in Usuhaia (at Rivadavia 56), we visited the small but enjoyable Museo Yámana, an ethnographic museum chronicling the lives of the native peoples of Tierra del Fuego.  There were four fueguian tribes, all of who were known by several names… Yámana (pictured below) were also known as Yagan, a name given to them by Reverand Thomas Bridges- an English settler who founded Estancia Harberton and created a dictionary of their complicated languageThey were coast hugging sea nomads, living in huts and traveling by canoe.  Tierra del Fuego is so named because this tribe would always have a fire going to keep themselves warm (although having visited, I am not sure this would be sufficient).  They rarely wore clothing, as the constant rain made it nearly impossible to stay dry.  Their favored resting position was to squat, and they adopted it everywhere, which caused the skin on the knee to stretch.  They also leaned forward when squatting and held that posture while standing and walking, with legs slightly bent and feet turned inward, which was quite foreign to European eyes. 
Shelk’nam (pictured below) were also known as the Ona, the name given to them by the Yámana.  Mánekenk, were called Huash by the Shelk’nam, and were assimilated into their tribe in the early 20th century.  They were an inland tribe that hunted guanaco on foot using bow and arrow, following them great distances.  They dominated most of the mainland of TDF.
Kaweskar were known as Alakaloof by the Yámana.  While the four tribes were physically and culturally similar, their languages were different and they did not always understand each other.
No worries, just overlanders doing their thing. (Translation: glorified homeless folks searching for free wifi from a public parking lot.)  We later blasted R.E.M’s “It’s The End of The World with Willy & Maryam, who are on a round-the-world journey.  A year ago they departed Germany and crossed Russian on the TransSiberian Railway, island hopped in Thailand and are now over landing South America in a red VW bus.
Most expeditions to Antarctica depart from Ushuaia during the narrow season from November to February, with possible departures in October and March.  In our few days in the southerly city, we watched boat after mega-boat float in at dusk, then depart after breakfast.  We heard you could find “deals” to the icy continent, and after some limited investigation, found $7,000 per person tickets. (Compared to the full fare tickets that range up to $50,000 per person, these might be considered a deal.)  Oops!  I seem to have misplaced my gold bars.  Perhaps next time.  (Plus, the age requirement to visit is 10 years old, so the kiddos couldn’t go.)   Adam has had his heart set on going for years now, so we are trying to summon from the ether a trip where he work on a boat in exchange for passage.  If you have a lead, please do let us know.

We ran into our friend Erin again.  She has rode her Kawasaki all the way from the states down to the end of the world.  Wouldn’t have imagined, but there is a good street art scene in Ushuaia; here artists Seth & Jaz are killing it! Ushuaia is a surprisingly cool little city.  Note the munchkin Coco for scale.There are a few companies offering sailing expeditions to Antarctica with a small crew.  Now that’s the way to do it!
Just a few kilometers west of the city is Tierra del Fuego National Park, with the entrance fee you are permitted only 2 nights camping before you must leave.
This Bucher UniCat expedition truck is not for those trying to blend in, but wow it is spacious.This M.A.N truck has a hydraulic top that lowers, covering the back windows.  
We first met Willy and Maryam whilst negotiating our tickets for the Navimag ferry on the Carretera Austral in Chile.  In this funnel-effect of southern South America, overlanders and travelers with easily identifiable modes of transport, seem to bump into each other often.  We were pretty pleased to camp out in the lovely Tierra del Fuego National Park and enjoy a fire with our buddies on a cold night.  Good simple fun.We let this kid borrow a fishing rod and he pulled 5 (tiny) trout right out of the river!After 849 days, 30,699 miles, 23 border crossings, 14 countries, 4 motors and 1 new child we officially made it to the end of the road on Ruta 3 at kilometer 3079 in Lapataia Bay!We viewed the tour bus crowd with a twinkle of suspicion in our eyes, veering wide, we set off for a walk further into the National Park. 
50 Canadian beavers were introduced to the region by the Argentine government in 1946 as a potential for fur trading; current estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000 animals that now reside in Tierra del Fuego.  Having no natural predators (like bears and wolves on the other end of the planet) , they have wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.   Trees, once coppiced, do not regenerate as some do in North America; felled trees also create dams that flood areas, drowning plant forest and flora alike.   Eradication attempts have failed, and now the focus is on control.
This beautiful pink rock looked like the inside of a shell.  
Heavy rain fell on our second night in the park and we woke to bright blue skies and snow dusting the surrounding hills.
Having come so far and seen so much, reaching the end of the road was a celebration.  We headed out for champagne brunch overlooking Lapataia Bay.
Picadas at the end of the world: a perfectly crunchy goat cheese boule, grapes, avocado, pear, sun-dried tomato, and cheese were all the perfect compliments to the wild mushroom and chia pate Emily made.

Champagne brunch isn’t complete without the champagne!So here we are, at the end of the world as we know it, and we feel fine.