The land of fire.
Tierra del Fuego. The second reason to see the south. The last place I would see Chile. The farthest shore in the world. When I climbed aboard the ferry, the anticipation was unbearable. Brain and waited abovedecks while watching the crossing into the last island.
As we got closer we could make out more detail of the place. Dolphins lead the way.
And finally it stopped and we walked onto Porvenir.
I stood upon the bottom of the world.
Porvenir has the worst aspects of San Pedro and Punta Arenas. It's cold. It's too small to have a thriving life, but it's not a tourist place. So the town is always sleeping all the time. It took a while to find a hostel and longer to find a place to eat. But we managed both and are soon ready for my last trek. We didn't have a goal this time or a well researched route. It seemed somehow right to make the last one random. So we picked a direction and started walking.
Very quickly something caught our eye, a swarm of geese far off in the distance. It wasn't a flock; too stationary for that. Intrigued we investigate further.
Hundreds of geese. Thousands. More geese in this one spot than people in Porvenir. We stared slack-jawed for a while before moving on. There is a ridge in the distance, and we decided to climb it. There are many barbed-wire fences in our way, but they were old an broken and easy to climb.
Oh hey, alpacas. Or llamas. I can't tell them apart. We decided to follow them...
Brian thought they were pests, I prefer to think they were sheep alpacas. We decided to cross over and catch the sheep, hopefully sheer off some wool or something. The slope up was almost as steep as San Cristobal, but Brian showed me some tips and it was easier to climb. At the top we were caught by the owner of the herd. He's really nice, though, and let us continue romping around his land. Eventually we reach the top of the ridge, the landscape ahead stark with mountains and glaciers.
The way back was faster. We found a road with a blessed lack of shrubs and stones. After an hour we got back to Porvenir and walked along the shore. From there we watched the sunset, and with that my time in Chile came to an end.
I wrote this post in the airport of Punta Arenas. Soon I will fly back to Santiago, and then to Detroit. I have been in this country for almost three months. I have walked it from North to South. I have stood on two oceans and watched sunset over a lifeless valley. I have climbed mountains, trekked deserts, and traveled to the end of the world. I marched in protests and fought in riots. And despite all this, or because all this, I did some damn fine research.
The summer is over. I'm coming back to US with lapis lazuli, stones from the Atacama, and rocks from Patagonia. I'm coming back with a million stories. Most of all, I'm coming back a better person. I hope.
This will be the last time I'm online until I reach the States. I feel blessed for having done this. I have gone many places here, from the driest desert to the farthest shore. And yet there is always another world, another challenge to face, another frontier to conquer. This summer I conquered many. And someday, in another time and another place, I will face the frontiers once again.
Another time, and another place.