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There is a generation of Argentines who have lived the arbitration conflict by the Beagle Channel as well have been losing Picton, Nueva and Lenox to the hands of Chile. And it is the same generation that saw the change of  Tierra del Fuego to the creation of a new province in Argentina. At school “died” the asignature “Moral and Civic Education. Remember when war seemed imminent between Chile and Argentina and several inland cities are performing drills curfews in the houses. Never understood why these drills were done at 3000 km away. And I was very marked beyond, so far no one wanted trouble, no wars, because Argentineans and Chileans living the same reality in that area: stay away from the big cities, with a very hostile winter climate that fosters unity and fraternity between people regardless of nationality. The winter with so few hours of sun, snow and ice becomes much easier not to patrol the streets with car use studded tires or chains is a very different reality for those living away from areas with snow. And in a way becomes a way of life that only the fueguinos can understand, because they are living there and even have their codes of life. But summer, delights us with long hours of sunshine and light to admire all its territorial extension
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These circumstances have places like “Prison End of the World”, the postman end of the world, the lighthouse at the end of the world. The ski track end of the world on Cerro Castor and very crowded in winter. Furthermore, in our minds has been positioning the arrival of English ships, to settle in the area and already populated by natives as Yaganes or Yamana, Onas, alacalufes or kaweskar, among many others. It seems repetitive talk of the “end of the world” but I think that’s what makes the mystique of Tierra del Fuego is like remembering of school textbooks talking the fifteenth century when arguing about that the world was  square .

F. Scott Fitzgerald, quoted in the book Patagonia, open spaces and wildlife says:

For a transient and magical moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired to understand …

This is my second trip to Tierra del Fuego and it becomes difficult to find the secret. On the other hand I wonder why I want to know it? Knowing a secret, it mean to stop being one and lose the magic of this place where we realize that paradise takes different shapes and colors.National Route 3 from San Sebastian Crossing down to Rio Grande, and then go through Tolhuin and final destination Ushuaia is on a continuous seeing of geological transformation of nature and imagining that in every stone, every tree, every ledge, every mountain and every lake has a secret. Part of it maybe hidden in glaciers over 12,000 years ago which they became channels, such as the Beagle Channel. Others may be stored in the bottom of Lake Fagnano, Escondido Lake, Emerald Lake, or Lake Yehuin. But perhaps the wind carried to Cabo San Pablo, or Bahia Lapataia or Puerto Almanza or Estancia Harberton.

May we never discover the mystique of Tierra Del Fuego, hopefully never know his secret. Anyway, I invite you to visit it to know the places and keep it a secret. may be you are the lucky one

You can also read this post in spanish:

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photos: Laura Schneider
@LauraSchne

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