Ode to the Copper Spur along the "Southernmost Trek in the World"

Ode to the Copper Spur along the "Southernmost Trek in the World"

“A home has no boundaries.” You can find it under your own roof, a friend’s couch, the back of your CR-V, under a bridge, atop cold rocks, or even a tent. When you think of “home” like this, it’s quite fun to realize all the places you’ve, well, called home. Not just your house, but on the hillsides in New Zealand, caves somewhere in Iceland, surrounded by desert sand, and meadows in the North Cascades. I’ve been lucky enough to pack my Copper Spur to a few of these places around the States and the World, usually walking away with a few good stories (mostly around something going wrong). Luckily for me, South America will always have a spot on the “top 10 coolest places I’ve called home” list.

When you read about the “southernmost trek in the world”, it’s hard not to keep clicking down the wormhole of beta and photos. It’s especially hard when you’re planning a three-week trip that’ll bring you within an hour flight of this little island.

Nestled quietly south of Ushuaia and Tierra Del Fuego, Isla Navarino is home to a few smaller towns and some pristine subantarctic (that’s fun to say) landscape. Dotting those mountains you’ll find the Dientes Circuit – a five day, 53km trek leaving straight from town and circling a beautiful set of peaks. Why the short distance in so many days? We learned this wouldn’t be an average hike after trying to secure a map, only to find the small shop completely out of them. Slow internet, emails, and screenshots was the way to go. This place is far from anything we’ve experienced. So after one last visit to whatever grocery store we could find, we packed our gear up for an adventure.

Our tent of choice for this walk was the Copper Spur HV UL3. There was five of us split amongst the two tents – we wanted something with a little extra space (cue the “HV” feature) because we had a feeling we’d spend more time here than expected. Definitely wasn’t wrong about that. Besides comfortably sleeping three of us, these puppies were light enough to carry for the 53km without putting a dent in our pack. Which obviously meant more space for Pringles and canned tuna.

Over the next five days, we found ourselves setting up camp amongst the jagged peaks of the Dientes, near rivers dotted with beaver dams, and below mountain passes so full of wind that we were literally blown off our feet and into the dirt. Not to mention the random tent we saw ripped to pieces in the bushes before we walked below the tree line. We ate rolls of bread we bought before leaving (why didn’t we think of comfort food beforehand?), collected beaver bones near camp, and watched the wind pick water up from the lakes. This was a place of mystery and power that we were thankful to be exploring.

We were the furthest away from home we’d ever been and completely out of our comfort zone. But we made it back in one piece (unlike the girl who chipped a tooth from the wind blowing a rock at her…). I’m pretty psyched to forever look at a map, point to this tiny little island off the coast of Argentina, and call it “home.”

Greg Balkin travels the world capturing these moments and adventures as Yeehaw Donkey. Follow his Copper-Spur journey which most recently reached the summit of Mt. Baker in Washington.