Looking For An Adventure of a Lifetime? Here It Is
By Michael Lanza
As we climbed toward Paso Australia, the wind gathered strength, shoving us forward and sideways, spinning us around. As if to suggest that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet, our young Chilean guide, Maurice, warned, “It’s going to be windy up there at Australia Pass.” In fact, at the 2,641-foot (805m) pass, it became hard to stand and walk. We alternately braced ourselves against the most furious gusts and stumbled a few steps forward during lulls of merely howling gales. Billowing clouds skidded across the sky, brushing against a row of stone pinnacles, some of the “Teeth of Navarino,” the peaks that give this remote mountain range its name: Dientes de Navarino.
My friend, Jeff Wilhelm, and I were on the southernmost trek in the world, the 22.7-mile (36.5k) Dientes Circuit. At 55 degrees south latitude, the Dientes, which reach nearly 4,000 feet in elevation on Chile’s Navarino Island, lie just 60 miles from the tip of South America and a short flight from the Antarctic Peninsula.
Established in the 1990s, the Dientes Circuit receives fewer than a hundred trekkers a year. Indeed, for four days out there, we saw no one and were very likely be the only people on the circuit. There are not many outstanding hiking destinations on the planet you could say that about.
Wondering what Patagonia was like before it became a darling of the international trekkers’ set? See my story “Unknown Patagonia: The Dientes Circuit,” which includes many photos and information for planning the trip. See also my story “Patagonian Classic: Trekking Torres del Paine.”
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Looking for other ideas for a trip of a lifetime? Click over to the All Trips page at The Big Outside and scroll through dozens of eye-popping photos and menus of stories from scores of outdoor adventures I’ve taken all over the U.S. and the world. That list includes A-list national parks like the Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Yosemite, and world-class destinations like Italy’s Dolomite Mountains and New Zealand, as well as wonderful trips you’ve never heard of. The All Trips page is divided into five sub-pages: All Family Adventures, All Trips By State, All National Park Trips, All Multi-Destination Stories, and All International Trips.
The All Trips page is a perfect place to start planning your next adventure—or to just start dreaming and building your to-do list of trips. (Mine is now 17,192 words long and keeps growing.) Would you rather just cut to the chase and read about my favorite places? See my stories “New Year Inspiration: My Top 10 Adventure Trips,” “My Top 10 Family Adventures,” “Tent Flap With a View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites,” and “15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life.”
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