Hiking and Canoeing Adventure
Tierra del Fuego National Park – Land of Fire – is located at the southernmost tip of South America mainland divided between Chile and Argentina for a total of 18,572 sq miles. This area was initially discovered by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition in 1520, although it was first occupied by man some 10,000 years ago.
The National Park was created in 1960. It protects the southern tip of the Andes, going from north of Lake Fagnano south to the coast of the Beagle Channel.
The landscape is a result of glacial activity. The Andes, oriented northwest/southeast, are a series of mountain chains divided by deep valleys with lakes, rivers, peat bogs and forest. The climate is cool and damp.
There are six species of tree found in Tierra del Fuego: These forests are unique in the world for having developed in a climate with such cold summers. Winds are so strong that trees in wind-exposed areas grow twisted.
Canal Fun (http://www.canalfun.com) provided a day of fun for all of us. Picking us up at our hotel in the early morning, we proceeded outside Ushuaia on the famous Pan-American Highway which runs from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in North America to the lower reaches of South America (29,800 miles).
Upon our arrival to the coastal area, we encountered two great bays, Lapataia and Ensenada, providing excellent views of the Andes and Beagle Channel.
After a leisurely hike through forested area and around the bay, our guides prepared a tasty lunch cooked over an open fire pit. Once we were fortified and well rested, the afternoon canoeing excursion began.
First we had to don rubber boots, then the rubber pants which were big enough for a giant, and finally life preservers. We were handed a paddle and told to help convey the canoes to the water’s edge. These are not your typical canoes, but more like an inflatable raft. Distributing the weight evenly, we sat on the rubber edges with our feet tucked firmly under the inside edging. Now it was time to paddle and get us out of the bay area and towards the Beagle Channel. Luckily for us, it was a fairly easy, enjoyable task.
Our landing spot was the terminus of the Pan-American Highway. Of course a sign designating this famous spot was picture worthy. All in all it was a great day!