Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

A short bus trip from Ushuaia is the Tierra del Fuego national park. Bordering Chile this small park offers camping sites and some beautiful scenery for hiking along with yummy brownies at the cafe.

Peeking across to Chile from the Argentinean border.

Peeking across to Chile from the Argentinean border.

We camped here the full 2 days our entry fee purchased us. We paid to stay at the camp site with facilities but considering the hot water showers had been broken for over a month and we saw toilets at some of the free campsites I think we would pick somewhere else if we were to do it again. Our campsite came with a Caracara who would eye us off cautiously while we cooked our dinner. I don't think they allow campsites without spectacular views in this region of the world.

Beavers were introduced to the area by the Argentinean military. They were originally brought down to create a fur industry and lucrative side business for the military posted in the remote south of Argentina. It was discovered there are two types of fur the beaver grows and the money is in the winter coat. Unfortunately, for the Argentinean officers and for the Patagonian ecosystem, it doesn't get cold enough for the beavers to grow their winter coat, thus making the whole endeavour pointless. Once realised, 50 beavers were released into the wild. 60 years later there are estimated over 200,000 beavers, migrating up through Patagonia. They have crossed the Beagle channel and, more recently, Magellan's Straight leaving wide areas of destruction in their wake. A money-for-beaver-tails programme was shutdown in Chile after a couple were found to have captured a male and female beaver and started breeding them to collect the reward money leaving the beavers free to continue increasing in number.

The Pan-American Highway has its southernmost terminus inside the park. While we were there the sign saw, in quick succession, a bus load of National Geographic tourists, a continuing stream of well equipped camper vans, many with maps drawn on the side showing their progress from Alaska, and a group of Harley Davidsons, evidently completing the same journey from top to bottom. The idea has been placed in my mind now and I am well aware of it trying to germinate into the next great adventure. Time will tell.