Destination: Patagonia y Tierra del Fuego

In a couple of days, Dawn and I will travel to Santiago and begin our exploration of the “southern horn” of South America. We will be in the southern parts of Argentina and Chile in the areas known as Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

We anticipate seeing the sights, taking photographs, practicing Spanish, hiking the mountains, walking on glaciers, and, of course, fly fishing for trout. Patagonia is one of several international destinations renowned for their trout fly fishing. We anticipate spotting unique wildlife including penguins, large condor birds, and guanacos (like deer).

The climate will be warm and getting warmer as spring turns to summer. Because South America is in the southern hemisphere, November is similar to our May. We expect the Patagonia area to be similar to the western United States (Colorado and Montana) and Tierra del Fuego to be similar to Alaska. When Bonny and Clyde escaped from the West, they went to wild and rugged Patagonia, the land of gauchos and estancias. Chile is about 3,000 miles long; its western border is the Pacific coast and its eastern border, the continental divide running along the spine of the Andes. Chile will be ragged peaks, glaciers, islands and harbors. Argentina will be high desert plateau with crystal clear rivers running from the mountains. Tierra del Fuego, the scene of Darwin’s voyages in the Beagle and innumerable shipwrecks, will be cool and windy

The fishing zones are described as northern, central and southern. See post, Map: Fishing Zones. The first two are in Patagonia and the southern is in Tierra del Fuego. The northern and central zones, around Bariloche (or officially San Carlos de Bariloche) are about 40 to 45 degrees south comparable to Colorado and Wyoming in the northern hemisphere. The southern zone is about 55 degrees, comparable to Kethikan, Alaska.

Our travel plans (see post, Map: Travel Route) are to fly to Santiago and spend about ten days tuning up our Spanish. We will be in class six hours per day for five days and stay at the “teachers’ house.” After that, we fly to Bariloche and will divide our time between the Junin and Esquel areas. Besides fishing, we will take hikes into the Andes peaks. Then we head west over the mountains to Puerto Montt in Chile, where we will embark on a ship that sails to Tierra del Fuego. We land at Puerto Natales where we will enter the national park, Torres del Paine. From there, we head south to Rio Gallegos and Rio Grande (towns and rivers). We hope to go as far south as Ushuaia. Finally, we fly from Punta Arenas to Santiago for the return flight to Atlanta and ultimately, home in West Virginia.

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