Ushuaia. The very name conjures in the mind a far away, mythical place. But with modern air travel, no place is far away. With the increasing wealth across the world, there are more and more travelers setting off to places that used to be seldom visited. But what about Ushaia, the southernmost city in the world? Surely a place like that is still off the tourist map. Not.
The city of Ushaia was little more than a tourist trap. Ushuaia’s main street was a gaudy strip of restaurants, clothing shops, souvenirs shops, and travel agencies. Ushuaia was also an expensive place. The good news was that Ushuaia was surrounded by incredible nature, some of which could be explored on the cheap, such as hiking to the Martial Glacier.
The Martial Glacier is located in the Martial Mountains, just above Ushuaia. Most people start the trip to the glacier by taking a cab to a ski area above the town. From the entrance to the ski area, there’s a trail that leads to the glacier.
I made the hike with a fellow traveler from Switzerland. It took us maybe an hour and a half to reach the glacier. The hike wasn’t difficult, but there were a few steep sections. The glacier was not particularly impressive. In fact, it was small. Climate change is inexorably melting the Martial Glacier. This glacier will most likely go by-by in the next couple of decades.
The best part of the hike was definitely the view of the Beagle Channel and Ushuaia. I stood taking in the vista, thinking of how Darwin had seen the mountain I was standing on over 180 years ago. Not really that long ago. The world has changed so much since he sailed the channel.