The old bridge over the Rio Grande looks very interesting from a large distance, but once you get close to it, you will see that it is extremely dangerous to step on it ! This bridge dates back to 1920 and you are not allowed to walk over it ! In case that you want to do it anyway, take a look first for the many rusty or broken parts of the construction !
It is a fascinating construction of steel and wood and it was the only way to get across the river for all cars and also for the cattle, that was taken to the closeby freezing-point. The bridge was produced in the USA and assembled here by local engeneers.
Rusting takes a lot longer in this part of the world !
Cyclers and cardrivers have to fight all the time with the strong, cold winds along the N3, the Panamericana Highway, and sometimes it might happen that the cycklers are using the wrong side of the road, so be carefull ! Obviously these cyclers feel safer themselves, when they would be able to see the other cars oncoming...
Guanakos are a smaller species of lamas and we saw quite a lot of them, while driving around in the area north of Tolhuin. At one side they are quite shy, but they might panic and run into your car, so you better watch out for them , while driving on the N3 and even more so in the side-roads.
Be careful, when driving the dust-roads in Tierra del Fuego / Fireland : The dust will get really everywhere, even through the locked doors.We had some camera-equipment in the back of our car and had the feeling it would be safe there, but see for yourself in my photos : it is clean only at the places, that were covered by something and you really have to completely clean all of your belongings afterwards !
Driving through the wide landscapes of Tierra del Fuego / Fireland is a great adventure by itself, but you have to be careful when estimating driving-times, because that depends very much on the (mostly lousy) road conditions. Roads that are marked as quite good roads might finally be rocky roads without any ashpalt, narrow tracks with just one single useable track in the middle and the oncoming trafic will hopefully be able to see you ahead of time and search for a good place to let pass you by.
In my pics here you see the road to San Pablo. From Ushuaia it starts as the ordinary N3 , the Panamericana Highway, but north-east of Tolhuin you will have to drive about 30 km on a rocky dust-road. Driving this road might be dangerous, because mostly it follows the landscape and there are lots of bends, where trees are covering your sight and you might see the oncoming trafic too late. The road is also in most places just wide enough for a single car in the middle, where everybody is driving and on the "hard shoulder" you have to be careful and drive very slow !
I have no idea, who had the idea to call this road from Ushuaia to Lapataia a highway, at many places it is smaller than an ordinary road. The very end of the Highway Nr.3 to Lapataia is quite narrow and just a sandy road through the National Park, at some places you will be lucky not to meet onward trucks or buses, because there is just space enough for a bus in one direction and there are lots of buses going there every day.
We made a cardinal mistake on day three of our hike, when John took off alone and Matt and I chose to take another, apparently less dangerous route. John ended up falling down a steep sloe and injured his hand, but he really could have suffered a worse calamity. While Matt and I tried to keep track of him from out altitudinally superior position, we often lost him in the trees. Luckily John was a strong hiker and fought through the problem, but if he had been hurt so far from civilization, it would have been a crisis.
Even though you may be a long way from civilization and you think that the wilderness water looks pure, always play it safe. Never drink water directly from streams -- always boil it, filter it or use cleansing tablets. The water in the streams may run fast and clear, but in Tierra del Fuego there are lots of beavers to urinate and defecate in the water, and some probably even die in it, lying in state for days while insects and fish pick clean the carcass. Now do you want to drink that water straight from the stream or lake! No!!
If you are desperate, I recommend drinking only water that is running and far above tree line where no beavers live and only other hikers and birds can foul it. But carry a filter with you and don't get desperate. The results are not pleasant!
Backpacking in Tierra del Fuego is great -- an experience you will never forget. However, you certainly won't forget it if you get lost in the backcountry and this is certainly possible. Where we hiked there were NO marked trails and, on a couple of occassions, we almost took the wrong pass. Be careful! Come prepared! At minimum, you should have a topographical map, a compass and a GPS. And leave a copy of your itinerary and expected return time with someone who cares (a hotelier or the police) so that you'll be missed if you're not back in time. Don't laugh. Not long before our hike, a group of backpackers was lost for 28 days and had to live off the land. Now, that's unforgettable!
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