Backpacking Punta Arenas
Eight Months On the Road Through South America
By David Rice
Page Twenty Nine
Backpacking by Bus In South America
Punta Arenas, Eight Months On the Road
By David Rice
Punta Arenas half a day away and this was the place and crucial time that
my film camera, my venerable Nikormat stopped working. I managed to run
off two or three frames and then the film would not advance. Here I
experienced a lifetime high one second and a major low the next, but that is
life. I will always have an image in my mind of that deep blue ice tumbling
into the water from the side of Grey Glacier.
We meet at the cabin on the lake and spent the night. In the morning we
hiked back to Refugio Pehoe, a brand new lodge where we reveled in the
great showers and we had a dining room meal. We stayed one night and in
the morning went over Lago Pehoe, a glacial lake, by boat. As the boat
crossed the lake, a grand view of the peaks beneath which we had hiked
came into view in dazzling sunlight. I had no camera to give a last goodbye
shot to this fantastic park where I had hiked for the past five days but I had
memories that will last forever.
The boat dropped us at the bus staging area and from there we went back
to Puerto Natales.
From Puerto Natales I caught a bus that would take a half day to reach
Punta Arenas. From the bus station at Punta Arenas I walked as I looked
for lodging and a woman came up offering a place to stay in her home, a
common occurrence in this remote area where the women try to make a
little extra money to support the household. I stayed two nights in this
Punta Arenas had once been an oiling town and a wealthy one at that.
Before that, the town had flourished as a center of timber harvesting. The
interesting buildings had been houses once owned by the wealthy and now
were museums to the various industries. Many upscale tour boats leave for
first class trips around the islands of Tierra del Fuego bringing Punta
Arenas tourist revenue as a staging area for trips to the national parks.
I wanted a nice meal before I hit the road again so I went to La Luna
Restaurant, a bright blue and yellow place full of Latin rhythms. I ordered a
Pisco Sour with a meal of steak and potatoes, the first steak I had in South
America, a land of great Argentinean beef.
I was determined at this point to continue heading as far south as I could
go so I knew that I needed a hat.
I tried on a stocking cap in Punta Arenas. The wool cap had a soft flannel
lining that is supposed to stop the chilly winds. After trying one on and
realizing how much warmer they were than any hat I had ever owned, I
wanted to buy one.
Then I considered how often I loose things; I bought three.