Field Test: Ushuaia, Argentina

Field Test: Ushuaia, Argentina

By Theo Constantinou

Photos by Theo Constantinou

Apolis Nomads are a group of inspiring friends that contribute to the Apolis Journal and regularly field-test our collection in their workplace and on their travels to help us improve durability. A new addition to our Nomad roster is the global traveler, Theo Constantinou. We caught up with Theo after his recent travels through Argentina and share a clip from his personal journal as well as a few of the following images:

I was itching. After returning from India last summer, my soul ached again to see vast horizons, climb snow-capped mountains and walk endless dirt roads. The impending cold and depression of a North American winter was looming and the road was calling. Ever since reading Che Guevara's, The Motorcycle Diaries I had dreamt of traveling through South America. My intention was to walk and hitchhike from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, taking black and white photographs of the journey that would hopefully become a small zine called, No Dejar Rastro.

When the opportunity arose to field test the Transit Issue Cameraman Jacket, serendipitously my phone rang and my dear friend Alexander Kasstan was on the line calling from Haiti. He was working on a film project for UNICEF and after finishing wanted to inquire if we could meet at the bottom of the world. I told him about the project and we were off!!!

We decided to meet in Punta Arenas, Chile. From there we were planning on heading north to Torres del Paine and further north to El Chaltén, however, no plans were concrete. Some details of this field test will be left out, otherwise this story will turn into a novel. Our Airbnb host turned out to be an incredible human, involved in countless environmental projects, the producer of an international film festival [FICAMS], and other local sustainability programs. He invited us travel with him and his partner to Ushuaia, to participate in a re-forestation project. We jumped at the opportunity. He wasn't leaving for a week, however, and we wanted to hit the road. He told us that in 5 days at 14:00 that he would pick us up at a bus stand in the middle of nowhere at a place called el cruce [crossroads]. For the next week madness and adventure ensued, as we averaged 30 km a day on foot, encountered crazy Chilean gold miners, were shot at, and spent long nights in the harsh rains and winds of Tierra del Fuego. Like clockwork, we were picked up as promised shortly after properly photographing the Transit Issue Cameraman Jacket for the first time in color [all images shot on film]. We spent the next 10 hours speeding along dirt roads, passing through industrial towns along the South Atlantic Ocean and into the vast grandeur of the most beautiful, unadulterated landscape.

We exhausted the next days planting Nothofagus Pumilio and Nothofagus Dombeyi, in a national reserve that had been devastated by a forest fire some years before. After the planting expedition finished, we had the next week to explore Ushuaia before heading back to Chile. Our inquiries of the locals about the most rugged, 'non-tourist' trek in the region led us to Cañadón de la Oveja via Laguna del Caminante.

Our descent through Cañadón de la Oveja was not so favorable but as they say, 'a calm sea never made a good sailor.' On a fair day with moderate to no wind this walk wouldn't have been difficult, perhaps a bit tiring but nothing to write about. The morning ascent through the pass was sunny, with little to no wind and a cloud scattered sky, what seemed to be a perfect start to a long day. After two to three hours of up, we reached the summit. As we began our descent, suddenly and with no warning, treacherous winds blowing at upward speeds of 80-100 km per hour turned this walk into a life or death situation. On a day with no wind, the steep drops to our right are avoidable as long as you keep your footing and watch out for falling rocks. If you have ever experienced harsh winds pushing from behind, you know that they are powerful enough to lift a 90 kg man off his feet and thats just what they did on several occasions almost sending Alex and I hurtling thousands of feet to our deaths. One gust was so bad it sent me flying to what I thought was an impending death, luckily I was able to throw my weight into the left rock wall, completely blowing out my Standard Issue Utility Chino's and cutting up my hands on the jagged rocks. Providentially we made it off the mountain and into the protection of the forest.

The Transit Issue Cameraman Jacket stood up to some of the harshest climates in the world; torrential rains, mountainous snow and severe winds just to name a few. It is a great base layer under a torrent shell, has perfect sized pockets for most point and shoot cameras and just an all around sharp jacket for the modern explorer.

It seems fitting to end with the words of the rucksack prophet, Jack Kerouac ... that these 'unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.'

---

Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountainrange, and on the south by the Beagle Channel.

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