"Catherine & Richard"
Southern Patagonia, Chile
These photos were taken on our trip to southern Patagonia during the winter (June) of 2014. We drove the 4x4 camper throughout southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego - 1,200 miles; over 600 of those miles were off-road. The climate varied on a daily basis, typically, from sunny and clear and extremely cold (sub-freezing), to snowy and a bit warmer. Heavy winds occasionally kicked-up over night, however, during the winter the winds are more moderate. They often reach 75mph in Tierra del Fuego during the summer months. The road conditions can be more hazardous on paved roads. as black ice is sometimes difficult to spot. Off-road has its own set of hazards in a harsh environment, but generally you can get from point A to point B unless the road is steep and deep with icy-snow, or a pass is blocked by a rock slide.
For us, winter was the best time to make this trip. The national parks, lodging facilities, and most support services in the area were all shut down, they are for the most part seasonal - opening in the austral spring and summer months . As a result, there are virtually no tourists to speak of in southern Patagonia during the winter; at least we did not run into any the entire time we were there. The opportunity for experiencing raw nature, at perhaps its most stark and astounding, is there for the taking.
Sweeping landscapes and prolific, roaming wildlife open up at every turn of the road, each turn seemingly more dramatic than the previous. And since the national parks and reserves are closed for the winter season there are no fees charged, tourists, support services, or facilities available, yet the roads are not gated and access to the remote areas are still permitted, at your own risk. With a 4x4 truck and self-contained camper, wherever you stop for the night, you are home. There are no limitations to where you can go or camp other than the ability to get there on your own. And this is what we love about southern Patagonia. It is Chile, yet another world unto itself.
Rich and Cat Ian-Frese
Winter 2014, Southern Patagonia, Chile