Turquesa and Turquoise


(en español - Turquesa y Turquoise)

Mid-April the sunrise is already considerably later than summer so when I arrived with a taxi at the trailhead at 07:15am, it was still dark. The trail I was going up was a new one for me - Laguna Turquesa, pretty much due south of the very well-known and popular Laguna Esmeralda. Both these trails start from the main Route 3 (Ruta 3) around 20km from Ushuaia. Laguna Turquesa's start is about 1km west of the large parking area where Laguna Esmeralda's trailhead is situated.

I got my gear and backpack sorted and headlamp on and headed off into the forest. This isn't a very long trail but has a considerable incline through the forest to reach the upper open areas and the actual lake.

The great thing about walking these trails with a headlamp is that the reflective markers are visible into the distance - actually making the trail following so much easier...for me anyway. 

Through the forest canopy the sky was already starting to change colour so I was hoping I could get out and near the lake around sunrise time to get some great skies and maybe some reflections in the lake.

Getting out the forest, there was still a short way to go and the final ascent to the lake - Laguna Turquesa. Outside the forest there was of course considerably more light and the sky was also lightening up as the day was breaking.

View north from the area between the forest and Laguna Turquesa
- Laguna Esmeralda just visible in the distance.

This last section has a few muddy bits but not much really in comparison to some treks in Tierra del Fuego. Reaching the lake, I was still the only one around - another benefit of heading off early on the treks! Plus...the light was looking amazing!

Working my way around the lake, the views were just incredible - I wasn't going particularly fast either as I stopped every few moments to take more photos! I was working myself to a higher point on the southern side of the lake to get some better views over the lake northwards toward Laguna Esmeralda.

View from the southeastern side of the lake

It was reasonably chilly but not overly cold and it was mostly overcast although the clouds seem to be moving some. For them to move faster there needed to be more wind which isn't necessarily a good thing as the temperatures will also go down considerably then, but hey - I wasn't complaining either way, it was a spectacular morning.

Another view north towards Laguna Esmeralda and the valley of Tierra Mayor.

I decided to work my way around the southern and eastern parts of the lake higher up along the surrounding slopes. During this time the sun peeked its head out a bit and the lake started showing its true colours...the turquoise it was named for. 

View from higher up along the northeastern side of the lake.

Getting higher, I realised I was getting onto a ridge between the valley where Laguna Turquesa is and the adjoining valley - looking down the other side, I had fantastic views into the Olum Valley and the rest of Tierra Mayor stretching away into the distance. The autumn colours were just simply mind-blowing!!

View over the Olum Valley and Laguna Ausente in the foreground - 
Tierra Mayor stretching out east along the mountains in the background.

I was once again in my happy place...in the mountains surrounded by panoramas that I could never tire of. It was only after an hour after I had arrived, that I saw some other people coming out the forest on their way to the lake.

Zoomed in on Laguna Ausente in the Olum Valley

After a few hours of just drinking in all this beauty around me, absorbing the refreshing mountain air...I started to head down to the lake and from there back to the main road to get the transport back to Ushuaia.

For more info on Trekking in Tierra del Fuego

LAGUNA TURQUESA trail info can be found here

View from the northern tip of Laguna Turquesa


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