24 January 2012

Mischief in Patagonia: shipwrecks, glaciers, and more enduro camping

Location: El Calafate
Mileage: unknown, thanks to a broken speedo
Days without license plate: 29
Nights in a hostel since La Paz, Bolivia: 3

In case you are new to my humor, I will point out that the part about me riding a vintage snowmobile to the south pole was a joke.  I have been puttering around Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia for the last 3 weeks, exploring lakes, capes, and out of the way valleys.   Since my trusty Panasonic camera was stolen in Ushuaia, all the pictures until the big shipwreck at Punta Arenas are from Owain and Hannah, two Australians I have been riding with.  From here on, you will be looking at shots from my new Canon D10.

headed out of ushuaia, rainbow overhead

junk piles have always attracted me

inside the hut was a train set 25 years in the making.  the eccentric owner started when he was 24 and has been adding pieces slowly over the years.

a pleasant wooded site off Lago Fagnano

At Cabo San Pablo, an old (German built?) freighter lies beached and accessible at low tide.

Desdemona slowly returns to the earth.

scaling a cable and using the crack as traction, we climbed aboard for an inspection

a pirate's life for me

all the fittings are completely fractured by the oxidation

you have to watch your step...  the frame of the lifeboat remains

most of the brass portholes have been scavenged

owain climbs the smokestack

the waves now enter the holds

cabo san pablo en moto

an andean condor came to check us out

the trail leading up to the lighthouse

the leaning lighthouse of san pablo

now to find a flat spot for the tents...

lighthouse and the full moon

cooking hobo dinners (sausages and chunks of potato, carrot, onion, and veggies) on the fire on top of the cape

crossing suspect bridges

major dandelion infestation near lago Yehuin

a kind Rio Grande family took us out for a boat ride

Lago Blanco.  They always talk about ''riding off into the sunset''.  they rarely mention that you just end up finding a camp site 15 minutes later.  oh yeah, looks like my tail light's out.

classy digs for the night.  perfect place to cook up some argentinian bacon, smuggled into chile in my PVC tool tube.

back roads put you in contact with some friendly locals.  this logger invited us in for home baked bread, coffee and a break from the rain.

rolling into small hamlets cold and wet sometimes means the next day will be sunshine.  hang in there!

a foxy family plays at pali-aike national park

Owain, guanaco, and a KLR.  They have spent 2 years riding through South America, visiting every country in about 60,000km

Guanaco on volcanic crater rim

first pic with my new camera, Punta Arenas, Chile

a camera really needs to depict the sky well.  rolling through open country towards puerto natales

the main starter shaft seal leaked and filled my starter with oil.  after a day of push starting, i was able to track down some  new brushes and seals for a rebuild

of course the brushes were the wrong size and had to be filed down and soldered in place

owain got to work modifying the seal height to match the original

just lubin up the o-rings and needle bearings

that big slab of meat is called matambre and is amazing when fire grilled.  the rum is called Flor de CaƱa.  it goes great with some CocaCola, lime, and matambre.

campground barbecue with long distance cyclists and motorbikers.  good company!

southern approach to the famous Torres del Paine National Park

the road draws you in like a tractor beam

excavator porn
 After arriving in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, we stashed the bikes behind a maintenance man's house (known to the youngsters as Tio Juan), loaded up our packs, and set out on a week long hike.  to see the awe inspiring rocks, ice, and valleys.
owain and hannah in valle de los torres

Torres del Paine, AKA The Towers of Pain!
they're not as big as they look.  i broke a piece off the top as a souvenir!

Oops!  It was a big piece that broke off!  It fell with a thunderous crash onto the glacier below.  Awesome show!

back at the main hotel of the park, someone made the crappiest junk display ever

let's take a bunch of broken metal, paint it black, and put it in the front yard!

it will look really classy with our 4 star hotel and mountain backdrop

remnants of older forest fires

Eddie Van Halen's white pony?

at dawn, the sun plays tricks under the clouds

torres del paine did not burn down completely, so there is still plenty to see and do (for tourists and arsonists alike)

rapids disappear into the canyons

we hiked up to the pass, the lowest point on the ridge in the upper left of the photo

click on the pic for a bigger view.  there is owain at the bottom.  grey glacier behind

ice ice ice, all piled up and creeping along

you can see the ice flowing down from the icefields, bringing streaks of rock with it

view from a ridge above lago dickson

our hike was full of stealth missions to explore off trail.

the mosquitos were voracious, especially for hannah

I was voracious for Calafate berries.  there is a mosquito on my nose

Cabeza del Indo, AKA Indian Head...  I noticed the Indian has a furrowed brow

this little owl was just chilling on a branch about 10 feet away from the trail.

full of little lakes and tourists, i was dying for a robotic Nessy.

This is why I seek out small border crossings.  It is pretty laid back.  Help yourself to the stamps, and table tennis...

ok, you have been out too long when it seems like a good idea to buy a kilo of low-grade sausages.  ps it is time to cut my beard.

Suzi Smackdown with pampas stretching all the way to the Torres del Paine on the horizon.  You may notice that I have added a ''totally sweet'' guanaco skull to my headlight fairing...  further theft deterrent on top of my main method (the fact that it is a 2003 DR200)

The Aussies headed for El Calafate, Argentina.
on down the road i go...


dd_traveler said...

hehe - not 'new' to your humor - I just don't get jokes :) no south pole, huh? still - amazing scenery! see any albatross? that's one of my life's ambitions :)

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