2008-11-15 -54 -69

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Sat 15 Nov 2008 in -54,-69:
-54.5220956, -69.1288515

peeron  Eupeodes google  osm  crox


[edit] Participants

  • Relet 22:46, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

[edit] Expedition

The hash is situated a bit south of Estancia Almirantazgo. There's no road leading there, just an airfield indicated nearby.

Not that I really would have expected to ever reach this one. But as I had in mind to visit the south of Tierra del Fuego anyway, why not see how far we get. And that's how far:

But first, let me say that you shouldn't look at Google Maps. They had a blind monkey draw their roads behind its back. Try OpenStreetMaps which are using the official Chilean road survey data or at least the satellite images.

The rough itinerary from yesterday's hash to this one was:

  • Starting in Punta Arenas, at 2008-11-14 -53 -70 going north.
  • Passed the abandoned Estancia San Gregorio, where some nice shipwrecks are located.
  • Crossed to the island Tierra del Fuego by the Angostura ferry.
  • Stopped at the last gas station for the next 250km. (Did bring a full 20l canister)
  • Drove south, on bad roads, through eternal pampa. (Great wildlife, interesting trees.)
  • Slept somewhere near the roadside. No cars passed all night.
  • Drove further south.

I had the rough idea to turn around when either the road ends, or my gas tank would be half empty, leaving me half a tank and the canister to get back (to Porvenir, on another road). It was a close call, but the road won. The pampa eventually subsided into an amazing mountain landscape with immense blue lakes, fjords and lagoons, snowcapped mountaintops and -of course- bad roads. The Chilean government is currently building that road, which is supposed to eventually lead until Puerto Williams, which is the next island south. Currently, that part is only accessible by going across Argentina, just as the whole south of Chile is only accessible by plane, or by going through Argentina. It's not exactly a strategically or logistically optimal constellation, but if you look at Chile on a map, efficient logistics is not even a conceivable option.

So then, after having driven up and down these amazing mountains in the most fuel-efficient manner, I eventually reached a police station. Just what you expect in this no-mans-land. Incidentally, I expected this - a guidebook I read said something about the road eventually ending, and that there would be a friendly Carabinero whom you should alert that you plan to venture further south and that it would be a further five days of trekking to reach the next Estancia. It also indicated that there might be some option to get to the Estancea Almirantazgo.

So, I had a nice chat with the carabinero, who was indeed friendly. He was also quite amused by my plans. He told me that there would be no problem if I ventured further south, just that I should park my car where it does not hinder the construction, that I should be careful, as they are currently building a road down there, using explosives to carve into the mountain, and then, how I intended to cross the river.

I did not actually have a good answer to that. But I thanked him, parked my car, grabbed my trekking stuff which I could finally put to use and ventured forth. It was about an hour of walking until I reached the river. There was, indeed, no bridge. Or, actually, they were just building a bridge. I could see heaps of rubble on this side, and a few living containers somewhere down the coastline (the river yields into the sea there) where they had a flat cargo boat anchored. I also could hear the construction work going on somewhere in the mountains on the other side. I could also see that there was possibly a road in the direction of Estancia Almirashtapash on the other side.

Nope, swimming did not seem a viable option this time. I also did not bring a boat. So my only option would be that other path leading west, that was indicated on one of the guides' maps. There wasn't. The landscape looked just rocky and mossy, but there was actually no place where you would not sink in at least ankle deep into muddy (but mossy) water.

Nope. No boat. No path. No plane. No hash. I thankfully accepted this as an excuse to take the Kingdom For A Boat consolation prize, and returned to my car. I would possibly have needed a motorboat to go up the river to even remotely reach the hash on the same day, but I still believe that was the main obstacle.

[edit] Photos

You can click through beginning at the old hash until eventually you reach the bridge that someday will be or my fail face.

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