stayed one night at Tafi del Valle. Our hotel was OK, BUT
there was a feria in town that caused some ruckus. We
discovered, at around 0300, that the bands would be playing ALL
NIGHT. Indeed, they did not stop playing until
daylight. The venue was line-of-sight from our window in
the hotel room, so the sound transmission was unabated. We
only got a few hours of sleep and that was chemically
induced. Dazed and confused, I decided to take a hot
shower the next morning only to discover that there was no hot
water. Or, everyone else in the hotel used all the hot
water. But, whatever the cause, there was no hot water in
our room. We packed our stuff, had breakfast, and headed
out toward the ruins at Quilmes and then to Cafayate.
The photos below are what we saw.
rained during the concert, but the rain did not diminish the
noise of the performers. Or the duration. Daybreak
came and the rain stopped. The air was cool and
clear. From the parking lot of the hotel, we could see the
homes across the valley. The cloud layer persisted up past
the pass in the mountains.
considering the view across the valley, I noticed movement in
the bushes in front of me and spotted chickens. Skinny
chickens. They hunted bugs in the bushes for a few moments
and then were gone.
started up the grade to the pass to the east of the village and
got a great view of Tafi del Valle and its lake.
village is actually quite big and extended well into the valleys
to the west of the lake. These are mostly vacation
residences for the upper class in nearby cities and provinces.
up the grade, we pulled off the road to admire the view and
spotted these thistles in bloom. Note the thorns on the
pods in the rear.
were also more "conventional" flowers in bloom.
was photographing the flowers, this dragonfly lit on the rock in
front of me. Note the structure in its wings.
continued up the grade toward the 10,000 foot pass and spotted
this hawk taking five on a rock near the road. He flew
away moments after we got this photo.
cloud bank that was hiding the upper peaks of the mountain range
abruptly stopped near the pass revealing the treeless terrain.
above tree-line, the area supported a wealth of other plants.
surprised at how many flowers were in bloom.
shot this flower, I could not see the bug through the
viewfinder; I only saw it once I uploaded the photo to my
crest of the 10,000 foot pass, we looked up on the higher ridges
and saw cardones happily existing well above tree-line.
descended down the pass to the east and pulled over to take more
photos. Beside the road were many cardones. These
heavily-thorned plants exist at high altitudes and seemingly
tolerate ice and snow.
pull-out, we spotted yet-another kind of flower in bloom.
nearly 10,000 feet elevation, there were plenty of plants in bloom.
west, we could see the valley of the Santa Maria river. In
the distance, in the clouds, was another high range of
passed a sign for "observatory". Kathleen investigated
staying at the observatory, but the circumstances (and lack of
food there) prompted us to choose Tafi del Valle. There
was a large telescope on site, but the casitas were small and
lacking amenities (like indoor plumbing). But, when we
passed the site on the road we decided to check it out.
down-slope from the pass we encountered a small pueblo that had
a museum with nice rock walls.
wanted to check out the ruins at Quilmes. We followed the
down-grade to the Santa Maria river and then headed north to the
turn-off for Quilmes. The road was dirt, but in acceptable
shape. We came to a water crossing and had to slow
sufficiently to be able to hear the outside world over the
rattling of the car and spotted a large flock of birds in a
nearby tree. The birds were making a terrible racket and
flitting about. A closer look revealed that this was a
flock of parrots, likely migrating. There many, many
hundreds of them in the brush near the trail.
ruins at Quilmes were interesting. There was a reasonable
museum there with amenities and an audio-visual show.
Outside, there were artifacts from the indian culture that was
destroyed by the invading Spaniards. Above are
"morteros" or grinding holes used for grinding local seeds into
walls and terraces were part of the ruins and likely comprised
the living quarters for the tribe.
was a nice cardon skeleton outside the museum.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.