Travel Theme: Parks

“At the ends of the earth, where the Americas become condensed into a volcanic wedge of moist Antarctic rainforest and cold, beautiful lakes, caught between toothy ridges of sheer granite and rivers of glittering ice, is Tierra del Fuego National Park. This is the very edge of human habitation.” –

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is Parks.

Established in 1960, the Tierra del Fuego National Park encompasses about 240 square miles and is the southernmost national park in the world, stretching north from the Beagle Channel along the Chilean border. (map)

Our catamaran sailed into Bahia Lapataia with the mountains rising majestically from the channel.
Here sits the most

inconspicuous dock, so unimposing as to wonder if it is still in use.
The Pan American Highway, Route 3 all the way from Alaska ends at this unimpressive little dock. It was here we disembarked.

We headed out along Route 3, through Tierra del Fuego National Park—the only park in Argentina that has both mountains and sea, the mountains averaging about 4900 ft in height.  Our guide informed us that the subantarctic forests consist mostly of various types of beech including an evergreen beech.  The landscape is dotted with low-lying scrub bushes sporting white flowers called fachine.

We paused at Laguna Verde to watch a pair of grebe ducks, and later a pair of Magellan geese with chicks.
Apparently, back in the 1940s 25 pairs of Canadian beavers were introduced into the area.  Today there are 200,000 beavers and a lot of dead trees. Lesson:  don’t muck with Mother Nature.  Rabbits were also introduced in the early 1950s for food and fur.  Apparently eight rabbits will eat the same amount as one sheep—ergo sheep farmers became upset.  So, they introduced a virus to kill the rabbits.  The rabbits became immune to the virus.  So they brought in the grey fox, but the grey fox didn’t listen to the instructions and decided they preferred the sheep to the rabbits.  Lesson:  DON’T MUCK WITH MOTHER NATURE!

We stopped at the glacial Lago Acigami

On the pier at Ensenada Bay sits an unimposing corrugated tin building with a sign reading “Unidad postal fin del mundo”. This is southernmost post office in the world.

As we entered Ushuaia, the city at the bottom of the world, our guide pointed out  a yacht in the channel … “Rumoured to belong to Mel Gibson”, she said, he was thought to be fishing on the north side of Tierra del Fuego.  The lengths the rich and famous have to go to for a bit of privacy.


See also:
Sounds Like Wish
Francine in Retirement
Traveller 2006
Mostly Monochrome

8 thoughts on “Travel Theme: Parks

  1. Fabulous, Lynne, what a wonderful tour of the bottom of the world! Such stunning scenery. That anecdote about Mel Gibson made me laugh. 🙂


  2. Lynne, this was fascinating! Do you know why they would even have thought to introduce American Beavers? When will they ever learn? In Hawaii the rats came with the ships, so they introduced mongoose to kill the rats, except rats are nocturnal and mongoose not. So the mongoose and rats took turns destroying the native bird populations in shifts. Loved looking at the photos of a place I am curious about. My son is going to be in Argentina on a Fulbright next year, and we will surely go visit him, so I have my eyes open and my ears perked up trying to decide what we will see when we are down there.


    1. Hi Naomi – no I can’t recall why they thought to introduce the beaver in the first place. They did the same thing with plants and introduced gorse – which admittedly can brighten the landscape with its profusion of yellow flowers … but it has run rampant in some areas, taking over hillsides … and so it continues.


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