After Ushuaia, we crossed into Chile, where we met our good friend Clayton in Puerto Natales
. He and his friends played the world`s best hosts and showed us an amazing time. In addition to housing us, they cooked us a local feast known as a curanto, twice. Take a huge pot filled with enormous mussels, clams, chorizo, chicken, ribs, potatoes, and wine, and cook over an open fire, then spend several hours stuffing your face. They even made an all seafood "mini-pot" for Susie. It was easily one our favorite and most memorable meals of our trip. Thanks again Christian and the Forteleza crew!! It was also good to see our friend Drew, and drink some of the delicious home brews from the brewpub he runs.
Puerto Natales is the jumping off point for the continentīs most incredible national park, Torres del Paine. Along with our new friend Scott, we did a five day trek, known as the "W," which combined four amazing features of the park, all of which could stand as individual parks in their own right. We began with the Torres (towers), then the Cuernos (horns), then the French Valley, and finally, the Grey Glacier. We capped off the hike with a boat ride across one of the park`s many beautiful lakes, and began thinking about Drew`s micro-brews on the bus ride back to town.
We flew from BA to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern most city in the world, to begin our month in Patagonia. Ushuaia is a bit rough around the edges, looks-wise, but has a quaint tourist center, which is frequented by hoards of seniors embarking on Antarctic cruises. We celebrated Susie`s birthday at a takeaway vegetarian buffet, so needless to say, she was thrilled. Our first South American trek took us into the Fuegian Andes, just outside Ushuaia. We camped at the edge of a beautiful glacial lake, seeing only two other hikers during our three day stay. While the scenery was stunning, we experienced the coldest camping of our lives, enduring 50+ mph winds, snow and sleet, and hoping we wouldnīt blow away. Perhaps we should have anticipated this since the lake`s name means iceberg lake!