El Fin de Mundo came complete with a multitude of hiking options. Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) abuts Ushuaia, and the mountains were astonishing and quite literally left my mouth agape when I first laid eyes on them. We only brushed a tiny minority of hiking options in the area due to limited time and lack of transportation. However, the options we had available were amazing. Be prepared for some mucky trails from these lower elevations, but the views are worth it. We got lucky enough that our hikes were during a drier stint in precipitation, so the trails in no way resembled the quicksand we were expecting. Good thing, too… I only brought my hiking shoes, and trail reviews promised sludgy conditions meriting taller boots. They were very foreboding in nature. The travel Gods were smiling upon us, and the ground was dry as a bone. Winner winner!
The Hubs and I researched hikes we could journey by foot without the aid of a vehicle. Laguna Encantada shared a section with the Laguna de Los Témpanos trail next to the Arroyo Grande that went to the Vinciguerra Glacier. The hike started in a bog/lagoon after leaving the main road. The morons that we were, we declared that we could walk the entire way from our accommodation to the end of the main road and still make it back before dark. Silly us! After walking for over an hour, we quickly realized that we would need to hitch a ride in order to have enough time to complete the hike. We trekked into town, found a bank to grab some cash, and hailed a cabbie. Yeah… that would have been a LONG stroll pre-hike. I would still get my steps in, though, since beckoning a cab at the end of the deserted road was not going to happen. We certainly made that 6+ mile trudge back post-hike. Legs… dead.
Back to the jaunt in the mountains. I made a brief stop in the bog to complete the necessary handstand with the peaks rising up behind me. While taking these photographs, I observed three excited dogs running around a bend in the river right in our direction. Yay, puppies! We anticipated the arrival of an owner shortly after the pooches began encircling me. However, no people ever materialized. Are these strays? Two have had recent surgeries (aka. spayed), and all were three were clean and well cared for. Insert puzzled emogie. Sure they would run off once we started our jaunt again, we lumbered on. As did the dogs. Assumption made an ass of me. Regardless, we continued on, dogs in tow.
After winding in, around and over a river, we began heading up into an Andean forest. The trail was devoid of people for the most part, as we only came across a few the entirety of the hike. The forest was tranquil, birds chirping, winds gusting through the trees, dogs barking, and dogs sprinting around us. So much for losing the furry beasts.
Some people that know of our travels, know I accidentally larcened a dog in Macedonia. Whelp… this time I tried to larcen THREE. Apparently, thieving dogs internationally is a thing for me when we go on hikes and this hike continued that trend, thus the post title. I’m not going to argue because I like dogs better than I like people! To include the Hubs some days. Getting back to this trip, these dogs came across us in the bog portion of the hike, and followed us the remainder of it. One was a psychopath that wouldn’t let us pet her, the other female would sometimes stay with us and sometimes wander off with the crazy one, and the boy barely left my side. I stopped, he stopped, and he walked right next to me. We decided to name the lunatic female Loca and the calmer female Argentina.
The male pooch, that I aptly named Ushuaia, we seriously considered taking home with us. He was the most perfect hiking pal. Alas, his loyalty was to his pack. Maybe I’ll come find him before we fly home….. Guinness needs a brother (at the time of this trip we had no idea we would stupidly get her a brother following our December trip). Anyway, when I say seriously considered, we left there researching ‘how to transport a dog to the USA from Argentina.’ On top of that, we looked into local vets, vaccines, and airline requirements for pet transport. That’s how awesome this dog was, and just how much we adore the four-legged creatures. Unfortunately, he did not stick with us, and we did not have the time to find him again the day we departed. Maybe next time…
Anyway, the hike was amazingly beautiful, even with fallen trees and flowing creeks causing us to lose the trail multiple times there and back. Eventually, we came upon a serene, desolate lake surrounded by snow-covered peaks. After finding a spot to lunch, we settled in to enjoy the views. Two of the dogs lunched with us, even getting treats. Loca, however, would not come near us. Every time I tried to give him a bite, he barked at us incessantly and never approached. I finally threw at piece of my sandwich to him, which he promptly devoured. Silly mutt.
The way back was largely the same as the way there, getting a little lost here, losing the trail there, maneuvering around a sink hole hither… you get the point. The dogs were with us every step of the way. Dog Ushuaia, I want to keep you sooooo very badly. I need a good hiking dog in my life. Hubs and I still talk about returning to Ushuaia just for the purpose of finding you, leashing you, vetting you, and flying you home with us.
Which handstand photo is better… with or without dogs? Obviously, dogs make everything better. Otherwise, the photos are basically the same.