spent the night at a hotel close to the town square in
Cafayete. The story was the usual: motos (motorcycles,
without mufflers) day and night. And, by the luck of the
draw, the narrow road outside the hotel was also the main road
when going north. Those things said, we did have a nice
bottle of wine at a cafe next to the plaza and then a great
dinner at another place on the plaza. The room had light
blocking shutters, so we grossly overslept. But, once we
got rolling, things were great. We headed out toward Salta
via the Quebrada de las Conchas (loosely translated, "Shell
The photos below are what we saw.
rained overnight and cleared the air. In the morning
sunlight, the nearby mountains looked great from the balcony
outside our room.
headed north toward Salta and entered the Quebrada de las
Conchas. The Quebrada (loosely translated as "breaks"
meaning a break in the mountains) had many brightly colored
layers of sandstone that we nicely illuminated by the sun.
lower portion of the sandstone cliffs had wind caves.
the sandstone layers eroded at different rates producing
the previous night (including thunderstorms in the mountains)
produced sufficient runoff to get side washes wet.
about 1100 hrs and the thunderclouds were building again for the
Quebrada de las Conchas was created the classical way: the river,
in this case the Rio de las Conchas, held its course while the
mountains uplifted over a period of millions of years. The
Rio de las Conchas is not that large, but when laden with
abrasive silt and sand, cuts like a saw and exposes the
was taking the above photos, a beetle came running past
me. That, in and of itself, is not remarkable. But
what WAS remarkable was that it was running on its hind legs.
got a bit deeper into the quebrada the strata became more
toward the nearby mountains we could see exposed cliffs of
siltstone. Siltstone produces spectacular "mud curtains"
when exposed to hard rains.
distance, we spotted power lines running over the mountains.
The weathering had produced nice hoodoos in the sandstone
cliffs. The awesome views were causing us to pull over
about every 100 yards.
the local flora was in bloom.
up the canyon we spotted the convoluted folding that the
Quebrada is known for.
curtains were visible on the far cliffs.
some large hoodoos close to the road with mud cliffs visible in
the distance. The clouds threatened rain, but the rain
never came (on us).
looser conglomerates near the mouth of the Quebrada eroded into
de las Conchas took a big bite out of the soft strata producing
distance the sandstone has eroded into fantastical shapes.
The road at the upper right of the photo above is likely to
service the power lines.
a multi-shot panorama that I stitched together with PTGui
Pro. This is the lower portion of the Quebrada.
A few kilometers
up the canyon we encountered interesting hoodoos.
We came to a "ventana" (window) in the mud hills.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018 all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.