We put on our rain jackets, hiking shoes, and a hat and heading into the beautiful Reserva Magallanes. The Reserva Magallanes, or Magallanes Forest Reserve, is located a mere 7km from Punta Arenas, yet holds 20,878 hectares of protected forest.
There are two main entrances to the Reserve, one is located up in the hills near the entrance to Club Andino while the other is below at Rio de las Minas (River of the Mines). We took the high road on sunday in order to take in the views of the giant gorge, Garganta Alta (High Throat), and of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas and Tierra del Fuego.
First we drove to the Garganta Alta trail head and set out to see the gorge. Remember, when the strong Magallanes winds blow down the valley and out to sea, make sure you hold on to your hat because it might just blow away!
Next we headed back towards the park entrance to meet up with the trail “Mirador Zapador Austral.” We shed layers as we hiked through the protected Lenga forests, climbing the 2.2kms to the lookout. At this time of year, spring had arrived: the berries were in blossom and the canopy held a soft, filtered light which descended on the forest floor.
The Reserva Magallanes, like other hidden jewels in the region, intertwine the yin and yang of life in the Patagonia: the softness of a delicate native orchid growing near the twisted, crooked trunk of a native tree, doubled over from the harsh winds. The land, like its people, have adapted and transformed to combine these soft and harsh realities. Everyday brings something different, so being prepared for whatever life throws your way makes the Patagonia a hearty soul. And remember, hold on to your hat!