Left Chilecito after a day´s R&R and climbed up to La Cuesta de Miranda - some impressive multi-coloured rock as we rode to the pass.
We had wanted to visit Talampaya National Park, a World Heritage site, but the authorities have restricted visits (only with guide) and won´t allow any transport within the park. A company called Rolling Travel (or `Rolling in Money Travel´) have complete control over the park and charge a fortune just to get transport on a 14km public road. We decided not to partipate in this scandalous and very corrupt practice.
Riding through a section of the park in the early morning we saw plenty of animals- guanucos, foxes, a pair of rhea (or nañdu), an armadillo and a strange rodent which we couldn´t identify. Only managed to snap a photo of a lone fox.
We are now thoroughly tired of northern Argentina- headwinds every day and featureless landscape. We pine for the Bolivian altiplano or the Peruvian Andes but all we have are long stretches of dry pampa without views of the cordillera. And it´s culturally quite dull too. Morale is low as my haemorroids have raised their ugly heads again and are a real pain in the bum! I needed to rest my bottom and have a few days out of the saddle so we took a bus to Mendoza from Valle del Fertil (our first transport of the trip-unavoidable really).
It´s almost four months since we last saw rain and the harsh UV rays have been shining on us as we head south. Judy is now sporting an unusual tan on her legs. I call it cafe con leche, or coffee with milk. Any other suggestions?
We stayed a few nights in Mendoza and two days around the high Andes near the border with Chile.
Puente del Inca- a natural brdge across the Mendoza river formed by thermal waters and mineralisation. Fantastic colours.
The view from our campsite, with Mt. Aconcagua (6959m) in the distance. It´s the highest peak in the Americas.
Further along the highway there is a closer view of the south face of Aconcagua. The peak on the right is the summit. We had wanted to hike further up the valley for closer views but unfortunately the park was closed to hikers because of avalanche danger.
Views of the Andes from the road south of Mendoza.
Ruta 40- swirling clouds and expansive skies.