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winter 2018
Hanna Boney in Punta Arenas

The end of the world

Punta Arenas blog by Hanna Boney

Punta Arenas calls itself the southernmost city in the world and the only road signs leading out of the city read “the end of the world, turn right.” While it may not be at the end of the world, it is certainly very close.

I am sure many of you know of Patagonia the brand, the jacket company with those iconic mountains in the logo. These mountains actually exist, and we hiked up one. The first day we were there, we took a tour and got a pretty hefty discount on our pack entrance fee because of our visa. Riding in the bus was awesome because we could see so much more of the park than when we were trekking. Also, it was raining and super cold because it is barely spring here.

The second day was, by far, the most interesting. We got to the base of hike and saw the sign. 10 kilometers and a change in altitude of 900. And so we thought that this hike would be long but fairly flat. We could do it. We knew ahead of time that it was going to be 10 hours, but we could do it way faster than that. To travel 10 kilometers in 10 hours is basically nothing. This is where we make our first mistake. It is 10 hours, there and back, and therefore also 20 kilometers because the hike measurements measure one way, not both. Second, if you notice the sign says 10 kilometers and 900 so we, being Americans, naturally assumed it meant feet. 900 feet is not that much of a change, however, when you convert feet to meters you multiply by 3.28, which equates 900 meters to 2953 feet. That change is hard, especially when the last half-kilometer, you gain 300 meters of altitude. This produces a 60 percent average incline, and you aren’t walking it. To ensure that you feel the complete and awesome power of these mountains, add 3 feet of snow and cliff on one side of the 2-foot-wide path.

It was quite the adventure, but we all made it out alive. While I can sit here and tell you all about it, I think pictures do a much better job.