The photos below are what we saw.
the east of Jachal we came upon these huge "flatirons" produced
by uplifting and erosion.
crest of the ridge we got a great view of a huge peak to our
east. I doubt this is Aconcagua, but whatever it is
called, it is HUGE. Just 2 days ago, the mountains were
barren but yesterday's thunderstorm brought snow to the high
told by a close friend that had spent many years in Argentina
that coming from Southern Arizona I would feel "right at
home". True enough. The terrain was very, very
similar down to the tall cactus. But, these are cardon
cactus, not sahauros that are found in the Sonoran desert of
SoAz. But, they look very similar but do not share similar
internal structure as we will see in a later photo.
took us past a huge range of mountains with rugged cliffs.
wound up the face of the cliffs to the summit. Near the
summit, I spotted movement in the brush along side of the
road. At first I thought it was a deer, but a closer
inspection revealed that they were llama (or at least I assume
they were llama -- they could be alpacas or vicunas or guanacos.
But llama is the best guess). I pulled over to the side of
the road and the llamas went on high alert. They made a
warning cry like nothing I have ever heard. The two above
are totally focused on me as I slowly walked toward the fence to
get a photo.
two, part of the same herd, were more focused on the actions of
their alpha male.
I made a
smootching sound and they went to red alert status. They
eventually decided it was safer to head for the brush and that
is what they did.
down the road, we spotted another herd on a distant ridge line.
the turn-off to go to Parque National Ischigualsto and we
spotted yet another group of llamas. These bolted at the
sound of the car, but for whatever reason they ran TOWARD us
rather than away.
entrance to the park there was yet another herd, this time on
the roadway. This group seemed less annoyed by the car,
presumably because they see cars every day.
earlier about the internals of the cardon being different than
the sahauro. The internal skeleton of the sahauro has long
slender ribs, the cardon has a mesh-type morphology. This
structure is more akin to what is inside cholla or prickly pear.
the places we passed had nice stands of cardones.
drove through another park, Talampaya, we could see huge
sandstone badlands in the distance. There were no trails
that went in that direction, so we continued on the asphalt
the center of Talampaya we got a great view of the huge peak to
our northeast. This is a big mountain.
stopped at the Talampaya visitor center and saw this
Thor-clone. It seems that the only way you can get into
the backcountry areas of the park is via a tour in one of these
4x4 Mercedes trucks. This truck is much newer than Thor
and has a longer wheelbase.
exited the north end of Talampaya and Kathleen suggested a
"short cut" which turned out to be dirt. No matter, it's a
rental, right? We did a bio-break and spotted these tiny
flowers in bloom.
the f***ing road? We had to take a detour around this
wash-out. Many of the arroyos showed evidence of recent
rains. This arroyo took a direct hit; even the bridge
abutments were gone and nowhere to be seen; it would have
normally gone from left to right. I am not sure what roll
that piece of pipe in the lower center of the photo above played
in this drama, but it is useless now.
terrain, flora and fauna is indeed similar to SoAz, right down
to the palo verde and mesquite trees. To be sure, these
are not the exact same species as found in SoAz, but they look
little spiny friends.
the main highway again and headed east where we spotted this
interesting rock formation.
went up a steep grade through dramatic red sandstone cliffs to
the top of the pass, a place called Punto Alto at 2020m.
the pass, the road headed down the opposite side through a steep-walled
canyon. The canyon was SO steep that the road was
essentially a bridge built into the cliff.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2017, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.