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“El Fin Del Mundo”, the signpost proudly announces – The End of the World.

Only this bustling port of Ushuaia, Argentina, is a jumble of North Face shops and Irish pubs. My boyfriend Michael and I feel a bit cheated. Shouldn’t the end of the world be more remote? 

We cross the majestic Beagle Channel to Isla Navarino, Chile, and get chatting to a couple of Israelis who are taking on the Dientes de Navarino, a five-day trek at the southern tip of South America.

“There are no refugios [mountain cabins] or facilities,” one tells us excitedly. “You have to drink from the streams and camp in the rugged wilderness.”

It sounds unbelievably special. And on a whim, we decide to go for it.

Arriving in the Chilean city of Puerto Williams, we hurriedly purchase gas and supplies. The southernmost town on earth is home to 2000 residents and the Micalvi, a yacht club built on an old iron steam ship. Here, after a few pisco sours (a potent local cocktail with grape brandy), anything can happen. You might even blag your way to Antarctica. 

But we have some serious tramping to do. First, we register our departure with the local police station, where we hear tales of trekkers getting snowed in and losing their tents to the howling winds. The weather is unpredictable because of the island’s proximity to Antarctica. Still, we are confident. Naively so.

“Suerte,” the friendly locals call, as we set off for the trailhead. It means good luck.We clutch one rudimentary map, and I’m already feeling a bit clammy under my pac-a-mac. As we set off I think perhaps we are a tad underprepared.

We run into Annie, a petite French-Canadian, venturing out alone. Michael and I exchange concerned glances. Will she be OK? She soon loses us in the thick beech forest of Cerro Bandera.

Cliffhanger: Michael’s fingertips decide whether he falls or not

Soon the track comes to an abrupt end. “Do you reckon those piles of rocks mean anything?” I ask. Michael shrugs.

We take the punt, and edge precariously along a narrow mountain pass. My heart is in my mouth as I gawp at the pristine, slate-coloured lake below. It’s as stunning as it is terrifying. “This can’t be the way,” Michael says doubtfully. 

We spend the next two hours scaling the peak for an alternative route. There isn’t one. “Just follow the cairns,” a day hiker advises. “Sorry, the what?” I ask, baffled.

It turns out these piles of rocks are, in fact, trail markers. This is useful information.


Hiking in Patagonia: TNT treks to the rugged, wild and remote Dientes de Navarino - the world's most southern trail
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