Dientes de Navarino

5:25 am and I am sitting at the airport in Santiago de Chile to get on the flight to the Easter Island and as I have nothin else to do, I am writing this blog post. Please excuse me if things don’t make sence: I got up at 2:45 am (wow, I have been awake for almost 3 hours already…).

After coming back from the Torres del Paine, I left right away the next day towards Ushuaia as the bus company wouldn’t let me change the date anymore. Everyone going to Ushuaia wants to see the end of the world in the National Park Tierra de Fuego. I didn’t expect too much but wanted to get from there to the Isla Navarino (Island Navarino) to do the Dientes de Navarino, a 3-5 day trek even further south than Ushuaia, across the boarder in Chile. In those days, you walk around the mountain range of the Dientes de Navarino, or in English, the teeth of Navarino or sometimes called Dientes del Dragon.

The trek was marked as challenging and demanding and I heard many people get lost on the trek. It is very remote and only a small amount of people even start the trek and even less finish it. If you want to do this trek, you have to carry everything yourself, not like in the Torres del Paine where you have the option to buy things on the way. On the dientes, you don’t have any campings or sanitary facility but at least you can drink the water coming down from the mountains.

Knowing all of that, I didn’t want to do the trekking on my own and looked for a trekking companion, which I found, a guy called Mathias from Belgium. I talked him into it, despise of knowing the boat to the island would cost us 220 US$. We started the planning right away and were about to leave two days after. As I just came out of the Torres del Paine with nine days of trekking, I knew what to do and buy so I was ready in a short time. All the food (except fruits and bread) we bought in Ushuaia because we didn’t know what we could buy on the remote island of Navarino. But we rented all our equipment directly on the island because it was a lot cheaper than in Argentina.

The boat ride, where we met 3 guys, that wanted to do the trek in 5 days (we in 4), was very quiet because of the calm sea. And we were even able to see pinguins, seals, and the best of all: humpback whales! Three of them, with the smaller calf. They were so close, they even dived under our boat. It was amazing! I guess, that made up for the price we paid for the boat ride.

The boat ride was followed by an one and a quarter bus ride to the main city on the island, Puerto Williams. Getting there, we did the immigration papers and after getting our renting equipment and a few more things at the supermarket we took of. But, we weren’t only two anymore, we were followed by two dogs (they stole my sandwich I would have had for lunch!!!). I thought, they would turn around at one point, but they actually followed us until the end of the trek four days later.

I was a little worried, what I would encounter, as everyone I heard talking about the trek said, this would be very challenging. It actually was, the reasons are:

– at some points, the mountain was very steep and you had to walk along the decline and were at risk of falling if taken a wrong step

– there was a lot of climbing over rocks

– there were swamps all over and one part of the trail was extremely steep but also very muddy, so you had to pull up yourself with tree branches and such (don’t forget we carried big and heavy backpacks)

– the trek was very well marked at the beginning, but later on, you had to find your way by following rock piles or some wood piled up or just following your instincts (apparently, they didn’t work 100% sure, as we got lost around 3-4 times)

– you had to carry everything with you, from your personal items, to the tent and the food (I recommend carrying extra, just in case you have an encounter with two hungry but very cute dogs)

At the end, the trek was challenging but doable. With those to cuties (we named them Spikey and Bladerunner) it was a lot of fun and cooking was double the work. Yes, I seriously cooked them their own food on some days. I mean, you can’t let them starve out there… Talking about the two: the second to last night, it was raining and we had some serious storms, so the dogs tried to get into our tent about 4 times during the night. Unfortunately we had to kick them out every time because there was no space with two people and two big backpacks sleeping in a two man tent. :-( I felt really bad for them but they are dogs so they survived.

At night in general it got pretty cold and I felt like I would be freezing to death, so I didn’t sleep much all those nights. But even though, we finished the trek in about 2,5 days, instead of the indicated 3-5 days. We weren’t running through it but we also didn’t idle. The second day was the longest with around 7 hours of walking up and down and getting lost quite a few times. Our stops at night were: Lago del Salto and Lago Martillo. The other night, we were already down all the way and only had to walk back to town for around 2 hours, so we camped along the coast. The last night we slept in a hostel/camping in the town of Puerto Williams.

The last day we had to say goodbye to our furry friends. They were a very good company for four days even though they were bringing chaos all along. They wouldn’t leave our sides all the time at the immigration office and even ran along the bus when we left.

By the way, the three guys from the boat, came back with us because they didn’t finish and turned around after the first camp because their backpacks were too heavy.

Conclusion

The trek was very challenging and I wouldn’t want to do it, if you don’t have a lot of experience with hiking and some experience in camping.

There was, except for the first day, always enough water, so there is no need to take more than about one liter of water in a bottle as you can always refill.

There are a few fire places and if you know how to make a fire, there is little need for gas and cooking with gas but you can make a fire and cook on it and warm yourself up before going to bed.

Take enough food for a day extra because you never know what happens with the weather or such.

We were very lucky with the weather and din’t have any rain until the second to last night at the coast. I can imagine, the path is even harder to find with bad weather conditions. The last pass (and the highest) is quite challenging and windy, so I don’t want to imagine that part with snow or even ice, as we heard some people had.

Have a map and/or a mobile phone with gps ready, so you can always have a look if you are right. As I said before, we got lost quite a few times even though the weather was perfect.

Take a comfortable sleeping mat (your back and bones will be greatful for it) and a warm sleeping bag, as temperatures drop during the night.

As you see in the pictures, the trek is very beautiful with swamps, forest, and a lot of rocky terrain. I would totally do this trek again but with some changes, like better sleeping bag and mat.

If you have any questions about the trek, let me know in the comments or on facebook.

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