El Fin: Into Ushuaia via the Backdoor

At last, the publication of my arrival into Ushuaia. About time, I’m sure you’ll agree…¬†Punta Arenas (7th Sept 2017) – arr Rio Grande (10th Sep) – dep Rio Grande (18th Sep) – Tolhuin (18th Sep) – Ushuaia (22nd Sep) Tierra del Fuego – a name that had been embedded into my psyche for so long…

Entertaining Interludes crossing a Patagonian Desert – El Chalten to Torres del Paine

On the vast open stretches of Argentinian pampa even a small headwind can induce boredom and I occasionally fantasised about a speedy arrival in Ushuaia after so much time on the road. These thoughts were normally fairly fleeting, however, and would be rapidly alleviated by a favourable change in wind direction, the appearance of a world class geographical feature or some kind of entertaining interlude. 

Lago de Los Tres Winter Camp – Fitzroy, Cerro Torre. El Chalten

Time to strap on the backpack…. It’s -10C as I lie in the dark, waiting for the next 100 km/h gust. Each one worse than the last. Then it hits… A surge of adrenaline courses through my body as the tent is flattened against my entire body once again…¬†I have been unable to stake out the tent on the hard rocky ground, and it feels like I might get blown off the mountain.

Guanacos in a Very Windy Pampa. Gregores to El Chalten.

“Viento en contra o al favor?”. Notably off-colour with some kind of fever, I was doubting whether I should head off into the desert at all. “Oh you’ll have a strong tailwind, definitely a tailwind”, replied the farmer. Not twenty minutes later I was experiencing the strongest headwind of my life.

Paso Rio Mayer in Winter – the Carretera Austral alternate exit from Villa O’Higgins

“Todos los pasos est√°n deshabilitados (All the passes are closed)….It’s very complicated here in winter my friend.”, the Villa O’Higgins carabinero officer explained. “The river can be up 100 metres wide and 3 or 4 metres deep.” ¬†After days of strangely warm weather and high rainfall in Villa O’Higgins, his words made some sense. ¬†Maybe it was impassable? ¬†After all he should know what he’s talking about, right?

‘Cheating’ my way back across the Andes and into Santiago

ARGENTINA. IS.¬†MASSIVE. With only a¬†90 day time stamp it was inevitable that my route would have¬†to take me back over the mighty Andes at some stage. With time in short supply I chose the pass¬†next to Santiago close to the¬†highest mountain in the Americas. Warned repeatedly by locals about the hideous amount of trucks and…

Effing Hot Ruta 40 – Cafayate to Jachal, North Argentina

“Why?” Endless stretches of paved road disappearing into infinity. At times hours would go by and it was hard to tell if I had actually progressed. ¬†The death of my phone and thereby podcasts and various educational audio literature I like to listen to compounded the boredom to ‘hard to bear’ levels. All the while…

The Sirens of North Argentina – Irresistible Salta and Jujuy

Mate, malavares, fiambre, ice cream, high quality beef, Malvinas, Maradona are all mainstream Argentinian experiences but one thing stands out above the rest for me: Of all the Latin American countries I’ve visited (there are a lot of them), Argentina¬†can safely claim¬†the nocturnal noise and sleep deprivation award by a considerable margin. No matter what…

Wild Desert Donkeys – San Antonio to Cafayate

After accidentally timing Paso Sico and San Antonio de Los Cobres perfectly with the busiest days of the year (or possibly ever), due to peak tourist season and flooding roads, it was a relief to finally leave.  My route continued via the famous Ruta 40 and after climbing up a pass of nearly 5000 metres it descended for 260km down to world famous vineyards through dry rugged cactus terrain intermittently following a divine river oasis. It was spiced up further by crazy wild donkeys, beautiful shaded plazas, leeches (!) and incredible rock formations.