March 30, 2008

not Alice's Wonderland, but worthy

Most people know Navarin Island for the four-day Dientes de Navarino hiking cirucit. But as its trail markings beg repair, a new option is gaining favor.

The trail to Lago Windhond is low and long, passing through crimson and ochre peat bogs and gorgeous stands of dwarfed beech (lenga) strung with fallen trunks. It is mostly an obstacle course, which made me happy to be with Brian, a US backcountry ranger guiding a season in Puerto Williams. He kept his eyes peeled for the few trail markings—posts striped with orange paint or small pink ribbons fastened to evergreen branches.

Redheaded woodpeckers flitted about. Underfoot there were purple mushrooms and wild strawberries, tiny and sweet, peeking out from damp sod. We ate them with the dirt still on. The whole interior and southern edge of the island is uninhabited. Canadian beavers are wreaking havoc, but its wild as it ever was. For five hours we walked without seeing a soul, just the muddy tracks of wild dogs.

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