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Day Four: The End of the World

Posted on December 3rd, 2017

Dave!Because killing an entire day in our hotel room was not an option, last night was spent Googling for things to do in Ushuaia. Four-wheeling around Patagonia seemed like a fun thing to do, but there were no available spots. Then we discovered "Tren del Fin del Mundo" (Train of the End of The World). Originally used to transport prison labor to the countryside to collect timber, it eventually became a tourist attraction that runs into Tierra del Fuego National Park. Not everybody can say they've ridden "the southernmost functioning railway in the world," so plans were made.

We didn't know how many tickets would be available for the limited number of runs that the train makes, so we hired a taxi and got there plenty early. We were, as it turns out, the first ones to arrive at 8:30. You can ride the train one-way or round-trip for 800 pesos "tourist class" or 1400 pesos "First Class." We opted for the latter because the extra $30 US gets you a private compartment with drinks, a croissant sandwich, and souvenirs. Money well-spent...

Train of the End of the World

And when it comes to the Train of the End of the World... you're not just First Class... you're First Class As Fuck. It's engraved right there on your seat...

Train of the End of the World

The train itself is of the narrow-gauge variety, and looks like something you'd ride at Disneyland...

Train of the End of the World

While charming, in its own way, the train ride itself is not overly-spectacular. Other than bragging rights of having ridden the southmost train on the planet, it's kinda slow and boring... despite the narration that tells you about the history of the train as a prison labor transport. On the trip into the park, you do get to stop at La Macarena Station, where you can climb steps up to a small waterfall though...

Train of the End of the World

Train of the End of the World

The main attraction along the way, if you can call it that, is the wild horses that live on the plains of the park. Apparently some of them escaped from local gauchos and started breeding, so now they're everywhere...

Train of the End of the World

Train of the End of the World

Train of the End of the World

The nice thing about us having hired a taxi instead of going on a bus tour is that our driver warned us about the train being a bit boring. So instead of riding it back to the station, we hired him to wait for us at the end and take us further into Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Our first stop was "The Post Office at the End of the World" which sits on Lake Roca. Alas, it was Sunday so the office was closed... no passport stamps or postcards from the southernmost post office... but it was still nifty to look at...

Post Office at the End of The World

Post Office at the End of The World

Post Office at the End of The World

Post Office at the End of The World

Post Office at the End of The World

Our next stop was Lake Acigami, which is so cold, windswept, and choppy that you can't swim in it. All you can really do is look at it...

Lago Acigami

Lago Acigami

The waves off the lake are so strong that they've carved out the area where they reach...

Lago Acigami

Lago Acigami

From there we continued on Route 3 to the literal End of the Road at the End of the World...

End of the Road at the End of the World

If you look at Google Maps, you'll see exactly where the road ends and The End of The World Begins. If you had the time, you could start at the end and drive all the way to the beginning in Alaska, which is 17,848 kilometers (11,090 miles) north...

End of the Road at the End of the World

End of the Road at the End of the World

End of the Road at the End of the World

End of the Road at the End of the World

As you can kinda see in this satellite image, there's a wood-plank pathway that leads out to The End of the World...

End of the Road at the End of the World

There is a large viewing platform where most people walked to, then turned around and walked back to the road. But if you look at the Google Maps satellite image above, you'll see that the large viewing platform is NOT the "End of the Earth"... for that you have to keep walking until you reach a smaller platform...

End of the Road at the End of the World

I won't lie. The view is pretty great, even though our beautiful blue skies were starting to cloud over...

End of the Road at the End of the World

I took a panorama shot of "The End of The World" with my crappy pocket camera... it's cool, but really doesn't do it justice...

End of the Road at the End of the World
Click to embiggen the photo in a new window.

Before heading back into town, our driver wanted us to see two things.

First was a beaver dam. No beavers... just a dam that the parks service keeps around for tourists to look at. The walk to the site is quite nice...

A Beaver Dam!

But the dam area is pretty much gutted...

A Beaver Dam!

A Beaver Dam!

The last thing he wanted us to see was the tiny wild orchids that grow in the area. I'd never seen orchids grow in the wild, so that was actually interesting to me. Turns out they are almost impossible to photograph because the wind is always blowing. I gave it my best shot though, and this is as good as I was able to get...

A Wild Orchid!

And... that was that. Back to Ushuaia we went, where we wait to be whisked away to our expedition orientation dinner.

For tomorrow we set sail...

   

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