To the end of the continent

Hiking is addictive!
After controlled and infrastructured trekking in Torres del Paine I searched for another, more remote project.

By now I was taveling alone and I would go on the next hiking trips solo as well.
I wanted to reach the “cruz de los mares”, a white metal cross which marces the most southern cape of the american continent.
When I hitchhiked to the end of the road, 60km South of Punta Arenas, I passed a monument which really amused me.
Called ” The geographical centre of Chile” it is the centre of this long country if you include Antarctica to the mesurement. Basically at the “End of the world”, or at least at the end of the continental mass…

Being dropped of at the final parking area of the road my next trekking adventure started.
After 10km walking along the beach I reached the Faro San Isidro, an old lighthouse inhabitaded only by Rudolfo, who takes care of the place.
Continuing along the coast I felt like leaving civilisation behind another time.
Wandering along the Magallan Street I could see the islands all over the horizon.
Tierra del Fuego, the grand one which I would visit later, Dawson, used as prisoners island during the period of Pinochet and many more which are part of storys and myths of seamans history.

I could observe lots of birdlife, some sea lions and find tracks of pumas and foxes.
All kinds of berries were ripe by now and ready to be eaten. Colourful algees covered the tideline along the rocky beaches which made walking quite slippery.
The countless capes at the corners of the bays had to be surrounded on forrest trails, marced by ribbons on trees. In one area there was swampland to cross on a muddy trail.
Cloudy, rainy weather created a mystic atmosphere. The three river crossings, which had worried me while the preparation for this trip, turned out to be easy. Even though two of them were up to hip deep and wide, there was almost no current.
More complicated was dealing with the tides. Quite a few times I found myself wandering in underpants through the knee deep sea at high tide, my upper body covered in winter clothes.

On the fourth day I reached the cape Froward. Up there I approached the shiny white cross, high above the surrounding seas. To my left side the Atlantic, to the right the Pacific I had reached the end of the American continental mass!

On the way back the temperature dropped and rainfall turned into snow. The beaches were covered in white, Patagonian snow storms reduced the visibility to a minimum. In its beauty I started to worry on the second day of constant snowfall.
All my stuff was wet by now so it made no difference any more to cross the rivers fully dressed up.
That was faster and reduced the risk of getting too cold… As weird as it sounds!

There was one shelter on the trail which I ugently wanted to reach this day. I did.. And when I approached I found four persons standing around a big campfire. What a relief!
All 5 of us slept inside of the tents inside of the old wooden hut, still freezing.
As it continued snowing next day they decided to return as well and we went as a group back to the lighthouse.
Another night we spent there, helping Rudolfo with logging for a bit, cooking together and drying all the stuff.
The next day we continued in rainy and cold weather until the beginning of the road. There was basically no traffic and we kept on walking to keep ourselves warm.
At one point we all could catch a ride back to Punta Areas, the next city.

Imagine the pleasure of a hot shower after that adventure!!!


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