Tierra del Fuego

tierra del fuego
 

We crossed over the Straits of Magellan by ferry to the Island of Tierra del Fuego. The "Land of Fires", so called from all the campfires of natives seen by early explorers, completely surprised me. I was expecting something mountainous and forest covered. Instead we found a continuation of the Patagonian steppes we saw on the other side of the Straits.

In reality, the southern third of the island is mountainous and forested. But most of the island, at least all the parts we saw, varied from flat to gently rolling to hilly, but was uniformly grass covered. Most of the land is used for sheep but they are few and far between as the pasturage does not seem to be very productive.

The island is roughly triangular shaped, 200 miles north to south and 175 miles east to west. It is the largest island in South America. A bit more than half the island belongs to Chile; the rest to Argentina. There is a lot of open space out here with only a few small towns on this large island. There were only two gas stations on the Chilean part of island.

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