Journey to the world's southernmost tree - National Geographic
Posted: 07 Jul 2020 12:00 AM PDT
To be unimpressed at first glance is entirely reasonable. It's just a tangle of gnarled limbs and silver bark hidden by reedy grass.Seven trees sprout on a hillside near the southern tip of South America, above the treacherous swirl of spray where the Pacific Ocean meets the Atlantic. A few of them are dead. None reaches higher than my thigh. The living bend and curl their way a dozen feet across the ground, like soldiers clawing through battlefield mud. Furious winds have driven their trunks completely horizontal.It's hard to square these scraggly specimens with the exceptional lengths we've gone to find them. We've flown across oceans; chugged 32 hours by ferry; motored 10 hours more on a wooden charter boat captained by a sailor who confessed mid-journey that he'd never navigated this deadly stretch of sea. Only then did we reach our destination—Isla Hornos, Cape Horn island, the last spit of ground in Tiera del Fuego. There we've hiked and camped through gales that knocked us down, slipped on penguin guano, and vanished to our armpits in thickets of barberry.
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