The cow hunter

Puesto de las Vacas is a remote place in Los Glaciares National Park. To get there you have to navigate between ice floes and skirt the glaciers. Some of these frozen giants, such as Seco and Heim, hang from the mountains entangled in the thick Patagonian forest, and others, such as Spegazzini, Upsala and Perito Moreno, plunge into Lake Argentino, the third largest in Latin America.

The isolated place is frequently visited by tourists traveling on cruise ships, where they disembark, take a short walk and visit the old shelter, with log walls and red tin roof, where the Finnish “gaucho” Harry Hilden lived.

This European gaucho settled there with his wife and son with the idea of capturing the cows that belonged to the old ranches, whose lands were expropriated for the creation of the park. The animals, over the years, became wild and were obviously not well regarded in a conservation area.

Harry had a partner who was in charge of transporting the meat on a raft and also carried provisions for him and his family, the only inhabitants of the place. But many times, his partner would forget for weeks to send him what he needed to subsist in such a harsh place, so he decided to buy a raft so as not to be isolated and not to depend on his irresponsible colleague.

His son José traveled to Río Gallegos to make the purchase, but on his return he was involved in a traffic accident and died. After the misfortune, Hilden left Puesto de las vacas.

The Finn lived from 1990 to 1996 and, according to what he said, they were the best five years of his life. It is also said that Harry lives in El Calafate and dreams of returning to Puesto de las Vacas, his place in the world.

Photo Taken: April 27, 2022
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