Connect with us

Travel & Escape

Here’s How My Boyfriend And I Live In A New City Every Single Month

Published

on

If you live in New York City for long enough, you have those moments where you imagine what it would be like to live somewhere else ― somewhere where the weather isn’t so cold, and the main method of transportation doesn’t reek of urine and trash, somewhere you could have a room that fits more than just a full-size bed and a vertical dresser.

Every year, for the past six years, on Aug. 1, I’ve reluctantly signed on the dotted line of the lease renewal for the New York City apartment I’ve unpacked my stuff in for quite some time, agreeing to pay an exorbitant amount of rent for a depressing amount of space. But this last August, I had been dating my boyfriend for close to a year-and-a-half, and we had decided to take the next step in our millennial relationship, meaning sharing more than just a Netflix account.

One afternoon, after talking out loud about how it would be nice to spend a year living somewhere other than the madness of Manhattan, we came to the realization that turned us into modern-day nomads: If we didn’t have a lease anywhere, we could afford to live in a new city every single month.

Since we both have the incredible privilege to work for ourselves, the only requirements were that the city has good public transportation (we don’t own a car and renting one isn’t cheap) and that we could find a place to live that cost less than what we both paid in rent in New York City (around $1,500 a piece).

And just like that, we flipped our plan of choosing just one city to park ourselves in for a year, to choosing an unlimited amount.

The first step to making this happen was to make sure that we could travel lightly. We decided to sell, give away or donate close to 90 percent of our belongings. We left a few garbage bags of clothes, personal items and a few pieces of furniture at my boyfriend’s parents’ house, which is located nearby in New Jersey. We then packed only enough clothes for our adventure, fitting them into one carry-on suitcase and one checked bag each.

For the past year and four months, we’ve lived in a new city almost every month, staying some places longer because we loved living there so much. We’ve lived in cities like Portland, Austin, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and in a few different neighborhoods in NYC (like Bed-Stuy, Greenpoint and Hell’s Kitchen). Here are the five main ways I’ve been able to live in a new city almost every month, without blowing my savings account or putting an end to my career.

Adam and I at our first stop: Portland. We hiked for the first time in our lives.


Photo Courtesy of Jen Glantz

Adam and I at our first stop: Portland. We hiked for the first time in our lives.

Take Over Someone’s Apartment

One of the main logistics we had to figure out when city-hopping was where we would live. Over the past year, we’ve lived in over 11 different apartments, sleeping in other people’s beds, using the contents left inside of their fridge, and crossing our fingers that we wouldn’t find any unwanted house guests roaming around, like roaches or rats.

No matter how many times you enter someone else’s home, there’s still a period of three to four days where you just feel like you’re a guest. However, after those days, you adapt. The fun thing is, you get to not only see how other people live, but you get to live like them, which isn’t something most of us do. Most of us build our own habits and cling to them for life.

After picking a city to live in, our first place to search for an apartment was Airbnb, where we found that in some cities, like Portland and Los Angeles, you can get a discount of 10-30 percent for booking a month-long stay. We also searched local Facebook groups to see if people were looking to do short-term month-to-month leases on their place.

Before we decided on an apartment, we researched the area to make sure it was safe, had a lot of food options in walking distance and was in the heart of the city so that we could be around the action without having to rent a car 

Get Into the Freelance Game

Though both of us are business owners, we also turned to freelance websites to help us take on additional work in the marketing, writing, business development and social media fields. Earning extra side income helped us pay for things on this adventure that we wouldn’t normally tap into our small pot of disposable income for. This allowed us to go to local museums or attractions and eat at restaurants more frequently than we did when we both had our own kitchen and the proper utensils. We used websites like UpWork, CloudPeeps and Fiverr to find side gigs.

Adam at the airport lugging our stuff to a new city.


Photo Courtesy of Jen Glantz

Adam at the airport lugging our stuff to a new city.

Tap Into Your Friend Network

To help save money along the way, one of the things we did was check in with friends who lived in the cities we wanted to travel to. We asked them to let us know if they had any extended travel plans so that we could house sit their place. We ended up staying at a friend’s has in Austin, for a month, for free, under the terms that we took care of their two dogs, which to us was just an added perk. We also found that our network of friends was able to steer us in the right direction as to what neighborhood we should choose in those cities, the best time of year to plan to live there and the sights we should absolutely see on our monthlong stay and the ones we could ditch.

Travel Lightly

Living out of a carry-on suitcase and one checked-bag size suitcase makes you picky about the clothes you bring with you. I started to realize that I really only wore the same three shirts, four pairs of pants and three dresses. I packed those items plus jackets, shoes and life items (like a mini-hair dryer, a couple of books, rain gear, and my makeup and hair products).

The thing about having fewer things is that you adapt and suddenly, you don’t miss much. Occasionally I’ll think about a top, a sweater or a pair of shoes that I used to keep in the back of my closet and wear once in a while; I do miss being able to get creative with a closet full of clothes. But now, I get creative with the few things I own, and there’s something oddly fun about that.

Living with items that you had to drag around with you every 30 days also leads you to be more conscious about buying new things. When I walk into stores, I now ask myself how badly do I need this item and how much weight will it add to my already 49-pound suitcase? Usually, I leave empty-handed.

Find a New Work-Life Balance

Perhaps the hardest part of living in a new city almost every month is finding a work-life balance that compliments the strong desire to explore what’s around you and to make sure that all of the items on your work to-do list are properly taken care of.

One of the things I did was budget out 2 to 3 hours a day to explore, whether that was early morning, during lunch or at night. I made sure to spend between 8 to 9 hours a day at a desk, a coffee shop or a local co-working space working. That way, I was able to maintain a normal work schedule while also making sure that I was squeezing out every ounce of what a brand new city offers. I did try to implement a “no weekend” work rule, where I’d spend Saturday and Sunday adventuring around town, though of course on busy work weeks, that rule was broken.

Adam and I in Los Angeles, a city we lived in this past winter, surfing on my 30th birthday.


Photo Courtesy of Jen Glantz

Adam and I in Los Angeles, a city we lived in this past winter, surfing on my 30th birthday.

My boyfriend, who has his own marketing company, spends most of his day on the phone and computer, rarely having to meet with clients in person, and when he does, he jumps on a plane (using airline miles) to meet them. I not only run my own wedding business, but I freelance and teach workshops all over the country. When my work calls for me to be in a specific city, I travel there and then come back to the city I’ve parked myself in that month. When I know my work is going to take me to a location for a week or two, we try to plan our traveling and our “city of the month” around that.

My boyfriend and I both worked hard, for years to be able to work for ourselves and work anywhere and we feel proud that we’re able to do that, even though some days the hustle can be hard and the work hours can be extra long.

Traveling like this has put our relationship on an accelerated path. We’ve had to face relationship struggles and problems that other couples might not face for many years in their relationship, dealing with things like living in a new city, again and again, where we both don’t know anyone. We face the stress of having to find creative ways to pay our bills while traveling and work through communicating better ― even when both of us are in a new place we feel uncomfortable in.

But it’s also brought us closer together, having us rely on the strength of our relationship to make “new” feel like “ours” in just a matter of days and learning how to deal with constant change, never settling down. We’ve become great at dealing with life’s curve balls and always being on-the-go, and we look forward to the day when we test our relationship like most do by learning the art of living together in one place, for a long period of time. 

While there is something calming about resting your head on your pillow-top mattress every night and walking around the corner to your favorite bodega for ice cream, there’s also something thrilling about moving around, living out of a suitcase, and understanding that there are far more magical places in this world than New York City.

I don’t know if one of those places will become the place at which I take a new permanent mailing address. That’s to be determined ― however, not for a while. I plan to keep moving around for at least a good chunk of 2019 ― or at least until I get tired of all my clothes being wrinkled.

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Travel & Escape

6 Places To Visit In Italy That Aren’t Rome

Published

on

By

Rome is often touted as the place to go in Italy, which is well-deserved thanks to its rich history and mouthwatering food. But there are several other spots throughout the country that give travelers a look at Italy’s dynamic culture.

To gear up for 2019, several travel-focused sites rounded up the best places to go for the year, and quite a few Italian spots that weren’t the typical locations of Rome, Venice and Florence made the cut.

Below, check out the cities and regions they recommended that are a bit under the radar for the average traveler.

Matera

NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The European Commission named Matera this year’s European Capital of Culture (alongside Plovdiv in Bulgaria). The city also earned a spot on multiple 2019 travel lists, including Travel and Leisure’s “50 Best Places to Travel in 2019,” National Geographic’s “Best Trips 2019” and Architectural Digest’s “Top 20 Places to Travel in 2019.” It’s home to the Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches, a system of cave structures UNESCO collectively named a World Heritage site in 1993.

Ischia

Marka via Getty Images

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples. 

Ischia, a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, is one of 50 places on Travel and Leisure’s “50 Best Places to Travel in 2019” list. Its stunning beaches attract many tourists looking for a day in the sun, while the Aragonese Castle brings sightseers and history buffs. But if you’re looking for a real view, Mount Epomeo offers a look from the highest peak on the island.

Piedmont

Nicolò Campo via Getty Images

Italy’s region of Piedmont, which features the Mole Antonelliana landmark building in Turin, ranked at the very top of Lonely Planet’s “Top Regions” list this year.

Lonely Planet’s team named Piedmont 2019′s No. 1 region to visit. Bordering France and Switzerland, it boasts several ski resorts and gorgeous views of the Alps. Turin, the region’s capital, is home to the National Automobile Museum as well as the former Lingotto Fiat factory, which featured a test track on the roof. Ivrea also has a massive food fight every year, if that’s more your thing.

Puglia

DEA / V. GIANNELLA via Getty Images

Lecce, a city in Italy’s Puglia region, has been called the country’s “Florence of the South.”

Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot formation, made Fodor’s “Go List 2019” as well as The New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2019.” The region features Alberobello’s limestone homes known as “trulli,” one of several locations in Italy that have earned a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Last year, GQ described Puglia as “Italy’s most overlooked food destination.” It also offers several gorgeous beaches as well as the Baroque city of Lecce, a popular tourist destination in the region.

Emilia-Romagna

AGF via Getty Images

Emilia-Romagna is an Italian region that houses Bologna, which Vogue called the spot for the “ultimate Italian foodie tour.”

The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy made The New York Times’ “52 Places to Go” list for 2018, and this year, a few of its cities made an appearance on 2019 travel recommendations from Mic and Forbes. Italy as a whole is arguably one of the best countries for food lovers, and this region in particular ― with its signature prosciutto di Parma and tagliatelle Bolognese ― definitely makes the case. Lonely Planet called it the country’s “gastronomic paradise,” and Vogue described Bologna, the region’s capital, as the spot for the “ultimate Italian foodie tour.”

Palermo

Stefano Montesi – Corbis via Getty Images

Piazza Pretoria in Palermo features a gorgeous fountain and several statues.

The capital of Sicily, Palermo made Condé Nast Traveler’s list of “The 19 Best Places to Go in 2019.” The Cathedral of Palermo, which features royal tombs, is often a pull for tourists visiting Sicily, as are the Norman Palace and the Palatine Chapel. For more of a local look, travelers can head to the Ballarò Street Market. And if you’re looking for an envy-inducing view, Mount Pellegrino offers a photo-worthy look over the city.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

Travel & Escape

15 State Parks You Can Visit During The Government Shutdown

Published

on

By

It’s day 25 of the partial government shutdown ― the longest in U.S. history. The shutdown has affected the U.S. travel industry in many ways, from TSA checkpoint closures to vandalism in national parks.

Unfortunately, a large number of national parks have been forced to close during the shutdown. But if you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you can turn to the many state-run options. With this in mind, the travel site Atlas Obscura put together a list of “wondrous state parks,” drawn from its user-generated database of destinations.

“The news is inundated with how our national parks are being affected by the partial government shutdown, and this inspired us to look at what our users have submitted for state parks across the country and encourage our audience to explore those instead,” assistant places editor Kerry Wolfe told HuffPost.

“State parks are particularly great because of their hidden historical aspects, proximity to home (no extensive travel needed!), and they’re often filled with unexpected flora and fauna and intriguing natural environments,” Wolfe added. “For example, New York’s Green Lakes State Park contains meromictic lakes, which are rare geologic features only found in a few places across the United States.”

Without further ado, here’s a sample of 15 beautiful state parks you can visit during the government shutdown, with descriptions from Atlas Obscura. Check out Atlas Obscura’s list of 70 parks for more.

ʻAkaka Falls State Park, Hawaii (Big Island)

Danita Delimont via Getty Images

“These picturesque Hawaiian falls are home to a rare species of fish that uses a special sucker to climb up cliffs.”

Medicine Rocks State Park, Montana

Federica Grassi via Getty Images

“This beautiful ancient site dotted with unusual perforated sandstone pillars was considered sacred by American Indian tribes.”

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, Nevada

Posnov via Getty Images

“These huge stone ovens in the desert fueled the Nevada silver boom, and may have also been a hideout for outlaws.”

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California

Sean Duan via Getty Images

“This Big Sur waterfall drops 80 feet directly into the Pacific Ocean, and inspired the hillside house up top.”

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Florida

Golden Dusk Photography via Getty Images

“Located within a historic park, the [Cape Florida Lighthouse] is the oldest standing structure in Miami.”

Caddo Lake State Park, Texas

Westend61 via Getty Images

“Foragers once flocked to this big beautiful bayou to hunt for pearls.”

Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Jeffrey Coolidge via Getty Images

“Even Henry David Thoreau found this glacial pothole [The Basin] irresistible.”

Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

Bob Ell / EyeEm via Getty Images

“This quiet park’s strange sedimentary spires were named after Kodak’s color film.”

Natural Bridge State Park, Virginia

Buyenlarge via Getty Images

“A sacred site for Native Americans surveyed by George Washington and owned by both King George III and Thomas Jefferson.”

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota

David Hughes via Getty Images

“This picturesque cliffside beacon no longer calls to sailors but shines once a year in honor of a famous shipwreck.”

Totem Bight State Historical Park, Alaska

Wolfgang Kaehler via Getty Images

“This historic collection of Native Alaskan artifacts was resurrected through a partnership between the WPA and tribal artisans.”

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Kentucky

by Jonathan D. Goforth via Getty Images

“Moonbows over Kentucky.”

Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area, Georgia

Christy Meadows / EyeEm via Getty Images

“Providence Canyon, affectionately known as ‘Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,’ is one of Georgia’s most treasured locations.”

Ecola State Park, Oregon

VW Pics via Getty Images

“Hidden behind two regal viewing points, Crescent Beach offers a private, misty retreat into prehistory in the heart of Oregon’s bustling Ecola State Park.”

Baxter State Park, Maine

DenisTangneyJr via Getty Images

“The highest point in Maine is a grand gift to the state’s citizens that also happens to be one end of the Appalachian Trail.”

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

Travel & Escape

In Chilean Patagonia, following a track to the end of the world

Published

on

By

The hiking trail leading to the Moradadel Diablo volcano (the Devil’s Dwelling) crossed a field of blackened lava, congealed during the last ice age. Black lizards covered with white speckles, known as lagartijas Magallanicas, skittered across the ground, and the desiccated corpse of a guanaco, a wild grazer related to the llama, baked beneath the sun. A puma had probably killed it, my Chilean companion, Alvaro Soto, said.

I picked my way across the crust, pocked by holes just large enough to twist an ankle. After a mile, we climbed over a heap of rocks that slid beneath our feet and emerged at the summit of the crater.

A volcano field at the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.
A volcano field at the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.  (TOMAS MUNITA / The New York Times)

Soto and I gazed across the maw at a scene of otherworldly bleakness: A curving wall, tinted green, splattered with bird feces, or whitewash, and riven with crevices, formed the volcano’s lip. Steep slopes of scree and soil laden with red-tinted hematite fell away into the abyss. The cries of buff-necked ibises, large rodent eaters with cream-and-russet throats and curving grey bills, echoed off the canyon. A peregrine falcon rose, plummeted into the crater, circled back up and disappeared inside a crevice.

We were deep inside Pali Aike National Park, one of the least visited yet most dramatic reserves in Chile, 175 kilometres north of Punta Arenas. The Tehuelche hunter-gatherers who once dwelled here called this moonscape both “the place of desolation” and “the devil’s country” and believed that evil spirits possessed it. It’s not hard to see why. The area is studded with volcanoes, formed during the Jurassic era 100 million years ago, by the collision of the Chile Rise and the Peru-Chile oceanic trench.

Three eruptions — the first taking place 3.8 million years ago, the most recent 15,000 years ago — covered the steppe with spills of black lava and pillars, columns and parapets of basalt, which glow yellow, red and greenish-gray in the harsh desert sunlight. Half a dozen craters and collapsed cones loom over the terrain like broken teeth.

An obscure stop on the route of parks

Despite the bleakness, this 31-square-mile reserve, established by the Chilean government in 1970, teems with wildlife: hares, tuco-tucos (molelike rodents), skunks, armadillos, grey foxes, pumas, guanacos, lizards and dozens of species of birds unique to Patagonia. Chilean flamingos, splashes of pink and orange in a charred landscape, gather in the park’s soda lakes. Buff-necked ibises build nests high in trees or inside the extinct volcanoes, sharing the ledges with peregrines — a symbiotic relationship rare among birds of prey.

Pali Aike is among the most obscure attractions on Chile’s new Route of Parks, a 1,740-mile wilderness trail that was unveiled earlier this year. The route was the culmination of a yearlong process that began in April 2017, when Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the widow of the North Face founder, Douglas Tompkins, donated to the Chilean government 1 million acres of Patagonian wilderness through Tompkins Conservation, the non-profit umbrella group of conservation initiatives that she co-founded and now leads. Out of that land, Chile carved two new reserves, Pumalín National Park Douglas Tompkins and Patagonia National Park Chile.

As part of the deal, the government set aside an additional 9 million acres to enhance the country’s national park network. A total of 17 national parks have now been linked by the Route of Parks, a hiking trail that winds past mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, forests and arid steppe, and roughly follows the Carretera Austral, the country’s storied Southern Highway (also known as Route 7) through Patagonia.

Travellers who want an unmitigated dose of Chile’s wilderness can now travel from Alerce Andino National Park, near the city of Puerto Montt, to Cabo de Hornos National Park at the southern tip of the country. The new route reflects the Chilean government’s growing commitment to preserving Patagonia’s pristine landscapes — and its unparalleled bird life.

Caiqu�n (also known as Magellan or Upland) geese in the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.
Caiqu�n (also known as Magellan or Upland) geese in the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.  (TOMAS MUNITA)

The birds were mainly what I had come to see. While doing research on an ornithological-related book over the past 18 months, I’ve travelled around the world, exploring bird-rich countryside in Scotland, the Rhondda Valley of southern Wales, and MatoboNational Park in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. None of those regions, however, compares with Patagonia, home not only to the pallid peregrine — a rare, white-breasted morph of the southern peregrine — but also to passerines, waders and carrion-eaters found only at the bottom of South America.

I made my forays from Punta Arenas, a windswept city of about 125,000 on the Strait of Magellan. Navigated by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, the strait remained one of only three options, along with the Drake Passage and Beagle Channel, to sail between the Atlantic and Pacific until the Panama Canal opened in 1914.

I stayed at the Hotel Plaza, a gaudy French neoclassical villa built by a family of cattle barons in the early 1920s, adjacent to the Plaza de Armas, otherwise known as the Plaza Muñoz Gamero, a leafy square in the city centre. There I met Soto, a young photographer, bird-watcher and son of the local representative of the Servicio Agrícola y Ganadera (Department of Agriculture and Livestock), the government agency responsible for protecting Chile’s wildlife. He had agreed to be my guide for the trip. We rented a pickup truck and set out on a chilly spring morning at the height of nesting season through the Patagonian Steppe on the two-lane highway known as La Ruta del Fin del Mundo (The Highway at the End of the World).

Lesser rheas, known locally as ñandús, grey flightless birds that resemble ostriches, scurried away from our pickup truck amid clouds of dust. (Charles Darwin heard about them during the Beagle expedition of 1831-36, and after searching fruitlessly for months, realized that he had been served one for a post-New Year’s Day meal; he preserved the head, legs and a wing for study and classification back in England.)

Guanacos, with brown coats and creamy white bellies, placidly munched the hardy yellow grass known as coirón. A few panic-stricken beasts leapt over the fences of cattle ranches along the road. “Some of them get snagged and can’t extricate themselves,” Soto said. They become easy prey for the pumas that prowl the pampas at dawn and dusk.

The less-traveled route

The caldera of the volcano Morada del Diablo, (the Devil's Dwelling) in the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.
The caldera of the volcano Morada del Diablo, (the Devil’s Dwelling) in the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.  (TOMAS MUNITA)

A fork in the road presented two options. One branch bore left toward Puerto Natales, the gateway to Torres del Paine, a 700-square-mile expanse of glaciers, lakes and mountains, and one of the most popular parks in Patagonia. The less-traveled route, which we took, bore to the right in the direction of Pali Aike, and farther north, the Argentine town of Río Gallégos. The asphalt soon ran out, and a gravel track dipped and rose through bush-covered hills for about 24 kilometres. Then we arrived at a one-room ranger hut and a sign for the national park. I paid the gatekeeper 3,000 Chilean pesos (about $4.50), while Soto, as a Chilean citizen, paid nothing.

“You’re the first visitors in the park today,” the gatekeeper told us. It was 1 p.m. According to Chile’s National Forest Corp., which administers the park, Pali Aike received just 2,537 visitors in 2016, half of whom were foreigners. That works out to seven people a day.

“This isn’t a park for everybody,” the gatekeeper said, adding that many visitors have a particular interest in volcanic geology or the fauna of Patagonia. He said he had started working at Pali Aike only two weeks earlier, after spending most of his life as a gaucho in southern Patagonia. Now in his 60s, he had decided he wanted a more sedentary existence. He invited us inside the hut to share a mate — the caffeine-rich drink consumed everywhere on the pampas — and served it the traditional way, repeatedly pouring boiling water into a mug stuffed with leaves, and inviting us to sip through a metal straw.

“Gracias,” I said, after the first sip. Then, when I asked for more, he gave me a lesson in mate-drinking etiquette. “We only say ‘gracias’ when we’re finished,” he said.

We spent an hour inside the caldera of the Morada del Diablo, perched behind a guardrail at the edge of the drop-off. Huge, encrusted pillars of basaltic lava loomed behind us, and the green, fissure-ridden lip of the collapsed volcano rose before us across the abyss. Savoring the silences, we watched three breeding pairs of buff-necked ibises cavorting in the cloudless sky. An inspection through binoculars of the lone peregrine falcon revealed the greyish underparts of the common cassini, and not the rarer pallid morph. Then we returned to the dirt lot where we had left our car, drove down the road, and hiked up a second extinct volcano, reaching the summit by a winding ascent up a dirt path.

In the late afternoon, the sun cast the elongated shadows of Pali Aike’s pyramidal hills and asymmetrical volcanic mounds on the desiccated grass. The rising trail skirted a caveonce used by the Tehuelche, otherwise known as the Aónikenk, hunters who migrated here after the glaciers receded 10,000 years ago. Drawn to Pali Aike because of its abundant game, they were also fearful of it, seeing in the blackened ground and dead volcanoes the ubiquitous presence of el diablo.

On the yellow plain now far below us, a long line of guanacos — the Tehuelche’s sole source of protein, clothing and shelter — headed toward a pocket of water. Soto, armed with a guidebook to the birds of Chile, silently pointed to a small passerine with a brilliant red breast that had settled atop a lichen-covered lava tower beside us: It was a long-tailed meadowlark, a rare species found only in southern Patagonia and the Falkland Islands. A least seedsnipe, a small gray-and-brown bird, one of Patagonia’s most common, swooped down beside it.

As a late-afternoon chill set in, we drove across the plain to Laguna Ana, a salt lagoon near the park entrance. I walked along the soggy shore, drawn by a blur of orange at the other end of the lake. Sinking to my shins in the ooze, I extracted my legs with an unpleasant sucking sound, briefly panicking at the thought that I had stumbled into a pool of quicksand. Veering onto firmer ground, I peered through binoculars at what now revealed itself to be a flock of Chilean flamingos — slightly pinker than their North American cousins, with greyish legs, red joints and a mostly black bill — at the water’s edge. Driving outside the park near sunset, Soto pointed out Southern caracaras, also called carrion hawks — imposing, vaguely menacing birds of prey with black crests, scarlet faces and sleek, black-and-gray feathers — perched on a dozen fence posts along the road.

We spent the night in Punta Delgada, a ramshackle settlement in a saddle between bare hills, near the narrowest crossing between the Chilean mainland, El Continente, and Tierra del Fuego. At the family-owned Hostal San Gregorio, we ate a hearty meal of noodles and roasted chicken, and received directions from the aged owners to the best spot in the area for seeing the rare peregrina pallida. I thanked the hostess for her hospitality the next morning, blurting out that I was not expecting to find such comfortable accommodations at the end of the world. She shrugged. “For us it’s not the end of the world, but for you we understand.”

An avian spectacle

A Magellanic snipe in Bahia Posesi�n, near the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.
A Magellanic snipe in Bahia Posesi�n, near the Pali Aike National Park in southern Chile.  (TOMAS MUNITA)

Soto and I drove down a dirt road toward Bahía Posesíon, Possession Bay, an inlet of the Strait of Magellan, sandwiched between the mainland and Isla Grande, the largest of Tierra del Fuego’s islands. Sixty-foot sandstone cliffs, perfect falcon-nesting territory, run for miles along a deserted beach here. “This is not a tourist area,” Soto said.

Descending to the shore via a steep trail cut into the cliff, we approached a plywood shanty sheltered behind boulders. “I saw a pair of pallidos flying above the cliffs this morning,” the occupant, a fisherman in a black gaucho hat, told us. “Just head down the beach and you’ll find them.”

We hiked along a shoreline carpeted with mussel shells while scanning the cliffs — some bare, some blanketed in scrub and dwarf pine — for the aerie. Waves lapped over the shoal just off shore. Magellanic oystercatchers, black-and-white birds with elongated orange beaks, the better for plucking the meat from the bivalves’ shells, peeped hysterically over our heads. Southern giant petrels, big black seabirds also called Antarctic giant petrels, giant fulmars, stinkers and stinkpots, flew in formation. Soto pointed out southern lapwings, cinnamon-bellied ground tyrants, and Austral negritos. The pallidos, alas, remained well concealed.

As we headed back toward Punta Arenas, one more avian spectacle awaited us. On a stretch of dirt road through the pampas, running parallel to the Bahía Posesíon, Soto motioned for me to pull over. Here, not marked on any map, lay a nondescript puddle, just a few dozen yards across, that seemed to have attracted every species of water bird in Patagonia. Thumbing through his guidebook, Soto identified red-gartered coots, white-tufted grebes, four varieties of ducks, blue-winged teals, silver teals, oystercatchers, upland and crested geese, tawny-throated dotterels, Magellanic snipe and, on hard ground yards past the pond, another cluster of flamingos.

We lingered for an hour, alone on the pampa, fascinated by the variety of avian life squeezed into such a small space. Our disappointment over missing the elusive pallid peregrine had receded. Soto tossed his bird book in the back seat, and we continued down the dirt track toward the Ruta del Fin del Mundo.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending