Friday, February 8, 2013

End of the World

Fin del mundo, the end of the world. I’ve been there and it was amazing. From Ushuaia, Argentina we traveled to Tierra del Fuego National Park where the Pan-American Highway terminates, 11,065 miles from its beginning in Alaska. The stark beauty of this vast area was breathtaking—so much empty space with so few people. It truly felt like the last frontier.
Despite Tierra del Fuego’s claim to fame, we found ourselves heading further south to round Cape Horn, a massive barren rock jutting out of a tumultuous sea. It was a humbling experience being so far from everything familiar and at the mercy of something so powerful.  In the early years of navigation the waters around the Cape where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans collide were feared.  The conditions created by strong winds, large waves, powerful currents, and at certain times of the year, icebergs, claimed many lives and spawned rough and rugged frontier outposts fit only for the hardiest souls. We heard reports that over the past couple years the passage hasn’t been quite as treacherous due to less variation in the temperatures of the combining waters, but it was still an exciting ride and an once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I’m not sure if any pieces of my latest escapade will show up in the pages of a future adventure novel, but it will always be a bestseller in my mind.

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