Sunday, 18 March 2007

Around the Heilo Sur

The last few weeks we've been trekking at the edges of the southern ice field, the world's largest icecap outside of the poles. The landscapes are very beautiful and amazing with tall rocky spires and glaciers rising out of the plains. These areas, basically the Torres del Paine (Chile) and Los Glaciares (Argentina) National Parks, are probably what you think of as Patagonia: rugged mountains glaciers and spires of granite. It was all very amazing and beautiful. Can you imagine coming over a pass to see glaciers and snow covered mountains as far as the eye can see? I think with any luck the photos when we get them up will give a better impression than I can.

In between have been 5 hour bus trips through what Patagonia is really like: sheep country. The windswept post glacial undulating plains that cover most of the region have that 'big sky, nothing over 1 metre tall' beauty of the interior of Australia. The estancias (farms) are huge here as they can only raise 1 sheep per 4 hectares. I don't know what the statistic is in Oz but apparently for comparison up in the lush northern pampas of Argentina they have 20 animals per hectare which sounds like a big difference!

And did you know not all countries cut off the tails of their sheep? This is a bit random but they don't cut them off here, and the tails on sheep are actually surprisingly long! I guess there isn't much else to think about at 1 hour border crossings...

Anyway, after such a long silence this may be a random post sorry. We are both well and about to embark on a trek to the end of the continent on the Magellan strait - you can read more about it here, in the 'Cabo Froward' article. When we get back I will torture you all with our impressions of all three treks!

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