Return Engagement: Tierra del Fuego & Southern Patagonia

November 4, 2018 § 3 Comments

On this key midterm election day in the USA, I’m so thrilled to be heading back (after voting, of course) to one of my favorite corners of planet Earth, an area of vast and stunning wilderness encompassing the islands, waters, and mountain ranges of the southernmost reaches of the South American continent.IMG_2134.jpeg

We’ll be stopping over for a few days in Buenos Aires, but the real adventure begins in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, as we board the Stella Australis, a small (150-200 passenger) Chilean-run cruise ship, and set off into the stark and storied landscapes and seascapes of Tierra del Fuego.IMG_4173.jpegIMG_8177.jpeg

We’ll visit the legendary Cape Horn, making a landing if the weather allows, and then follow in the wake of Charles Darwin’s Beagle and use zodiacs to explore various fascinating features, including fjords, tidewater glaciers, a penguin colony, and pristine high latitude temperate rainforests of this spectacular convergence of land, sea and ice, we’ll be on the lookout for whales, sea lions, penguins, albatross and many other fascinating bird species.IMG_8086.jpegIMG_4303.jpegIMG_2150.jpeg

Next, we’ll stay in the amazing Tierra Patagonia hotel at the foot of the dramatic granite spires and horns of Torres del Paine National Park. Here we’ll have several full days of hiking and/or horseback riding amidst one of the world’s most striking landscapes, in a part of Chile with some of the lowest human population densities on the planet.IMG_2244.jpeg

This rich and diverse ecosystem is of particular interest to us because it includes an apex predator, the elusive puma, and its primary prey, the charming and highly entertaining guanaco. What a magnificent opportunity!IMG_4623.jpegIMG_2277.jpegIMG_4697.jpeg

This will be my fifth time on this particular National Geographic itinerary, and I’m thrilled to be heading back. One of the advantages of being a writer is that it’s a multi-disciplinary pursuit—and a trip like this provides great material.IMG_2942.jpeg

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I’m a big fan of history, geography, ecology, and biography as disciplines that enrich any travel experience, and it will be my privilege to share some of those wide-ranging interests with the National Geographic group.IMG_2264.jpeg

Talks will focus on the history and geography of the region and the lives of explorers and adventurers who went on to make important contributions to humanity and the planet—and whose early lives were shaped by their journeys to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. My final talk will be more personal in nature, about my parallel careers as a novelist and travel guide, the links between travel, writing, and environmental awareness, and what I call the “geographic imagination.”

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All in all, it promises to be an unforgettable experience. This is a really fantastic part of the world and I highly recommend you get there if you can. I could be convinced, by the way, to organize a custom trip or two if anyone’s interested . . .IMG_2617.jpeg

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§ 3 Responses to Return Engagement: Tierra del Fuego & Southern Patagonia

  • david a purdy says:

    I would love to spend some time at the Southern Tip, hiking about the hills and valleys, taking in all the breathtaking scenery and getting to know the people and culture. Trouble is I can’t afford the cost, and besides, I’m likely to stay put once settled where the air is clean and stars come out at night. Then again, there is the sound of the penguin’s yawn which sure makes more sense than the moronic tweet squawking from the White House. Now, how about you writing a true to life account of Shackleton The Great (The Survivor)? Wow! Move over Homer.

    Later,

    Dave Purdy

  • Tim Weed says:

    Well Dave, I hope you do get there—or at least somewhere where you can feel the cool wind on your cheeks, see the stars at night, and take in the sunrise lighting up the snow.

    • steadystep says:

      The day will come, just when I don’t know. I believe that if someone really wants something bad enough, he or she will find a way to make it happen, if possible. This commonplace is coming from the heart of an incurable pessimist hopefully sane and shamelessly promoted.

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