Ushuaia is the capital of the Tierra del Fuego province in Argentina and is considered the southern-most city in the world, hence its moniker "World's End". This small town is surrounded by the Martial mountain range to the north and the Beagle Channel to the south. Tourism is a major industry in Ushuaia as it is a key access point to the Southern Ocean and those who choose to travel that direction by sea.
The main street is filled with many shops and places to eat; I am a sucker for souvenir shops of which there are no fewer than 10 on a street that is less than 2 miles long (all of which sell almost exactly the same knick-knacks). I have already visited many of them for some window shopping (I pretty much bought just about every souvenir I could ever need last year...well, almost) and stopped into a favorite tourist bar, the Irish Pub, for a tasty Argentine brew.
Today was a day off for me, most likely the last until the end of December. I took the opportunity to visit the Martial Glacier just 7km outside of town.
Once you arrive at the glacier you have the option of hiking all the way or taking a chair lift up to the main trail heads. Never having been on a real chair lift before I went for the latter option. It was not very crowded and I was able to take my time climbing the steep hill to the "top". The view was great, I could see all of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel which I will travel in tomorrow on my way to the Southern Ocean.
|Looking down from the mountain, the city of Ushuaia is|
on the right and the Beagle Channel is heading off
to the left through the mountains.
The Martial Glacier is not the typical massive ice block carving its way through a mountain range. It is a cirque glacier--a glacier that is formed in bowl-shaped depressions in the mountain. In these bowls, snow accumulates, remaining through the summer and eventually becomes glacier ice. Cirque glaciers are often wider than they are long. Whatever the glacier, this was a beautiful place to spend the day!
|In the center of this photo, near the top you can see 2 of the 3 cirque glaciers found in the Martial Range in this area. To the right you can see the hiking trail I took.|
I will be boarding the Ioffe tomorrow afternoon for the first of 2 trips I will make to the Antarctic Peninsula this month. I am so excited to have this opportunity to travel back to the Antarctic! I will answer more of the questions sent to me while I am traveling as questions about penguins will become increasingly relevant! I will not have internet while on board, so please look for my next post(s) on December 18 when I come into port for the day!