20 February 2011


The Italians were gone before I woke and the Canadians were still sleeping when I rode out of Tolhuin. It was windless and bright and cloudless and the sun was hot. It would be 105km into the high mountains to reach Ushuaia.

Lago Fagnano

Ruta 3 ascended and descended gently along Lago Fagnano and then the rode slowly began to ascend and beyond the lake through the valley I could see snow on the far mountains to the south. At 50km into the ride at kilometer marker 3000 I began the 400m climb over the Paso Garibaldi. It was hot climbing the winding road cut into the face of the mountainside, slowly climbing along the little guardrail, the mountain dropping straight down to the lake. It was 15km to the top of the pass and I stopped to look back over the lake. Then it was long, fast descent into the valley between the next range of mountains. I saw a couple of fully loaded cyclists coming the other way up the pass, probably having just begun their tours in Ushuaia.

Lago Escondido

Paso Garibaldi

There was more climbing but I only once needed to drop into my smallest chain ring. It was very busy on the road with tourist buses and cars and camions and off the road in the valleys along the streams there were many people who had stopped to picnic or to camp. All the travelers heading south had been funneled down onto a single road to the last city on the continent.

Monte Olivia

I made one final climb before the city and at the top saw below the port and there were cruise ships in the harbor and mountains behind it. I rode into the center of town and stopped at the tourist office for a map and directions to the campground at Club Andino.

It was a very steep climb north up the mountainside to the campground and I was tired and sat down in the bar beside the hot stove and had a coffee. From the window you looked out across the city and the harbor and the mountains that protected it. It was 25 pesos a night to put up a tent and I had a large plate of pasta for dinner. Tomorrow I would walk down to the port and inquire about passage on a freighter to Valparaiso, Chile. Tonight I would go to sleep at the end of the world.


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