photos below are what we saw.
into the car and headed to the northwest from San Juan.
The story here is not the fellow, per se, but rather his
innovative headwear. He has solved a problem that
confronts any worker that is in the sun all day. He chose
a ball cap and then used a standard short sleeve tee shirt to
put over it. The head-hole was used for his face, then he
tied the sleeves behind his head. Voila, a head shield
that provides sun protection. By this time of the morning
it was very hot and the sun was unrelenting in the cloudless
about 90 minutes of travel on a pretty good road, we arrived at
the national park. The turn-off from the highway was
paved, but it soon became dirt. The path took us toward
the mountains to the west. As the path entered a small
canyon, we could see interesting rock structures resulting from
the terrain was quite similar to the Sonoran Desert in southern
Arizona and norther Sonora, Mexico. There were a number of
kinds of cactus, although none of them were the same species as
the norther deserts.
idling along the dirt track and spotted something in the shadows
of a nearby tree. I stopped the car and went to
investigate; what I found were Patagonian mara. The mara
is like a cross between a deer and a rabbit. These can get
quite big at 16kg and are much bigger than any rabbit-like
animal in North America. These mara were apparently
unafraid of me, although I did not get that close for fear of
spooking them before I got a photo. There is a baby mara
in the brush at the far right of the photo above.
circled around to get a better view. They watched me
closely but did not move. After a few photos we got back
in the car and motored on.
was out of the car shooting photos of the maras, I spotted these
epiphytes in a nearby tree. The desert seemed dry and it
was surely hot, but apparently there is sufficient humidity to support
these epiphytes. I was quite surprised.
to the end of the trail and headed out on foot to one of the
viewpoints. Along the way, we came upon these cactus which
look similar to Prickly Pear cactus in southern Arizona.
But, these are a different species like nothing I had seen
came upon a thorn bush, some kind of mesquite, with these
vicious thorns. I put my hand in the photo to give a sense
of scale. These are bad-ass thorns, long and strong
were other kinds of cactus nearby. This looks like an
agave, but I am sure it is not.
cactus ranged from really small to medium sized. This is
one of the smaller ones we saw.
yet-another species with longer, dark thorns.
little guy was one of the few plants we saw with broad
leaves. This whole thing was only 3" across.
Sonoran Desert, there is creosote. But, this is a different
species of creosote. The flowers were quite unlike the
North American variety.
appeared to be several kinds of beaver-tail cactus along the
trail. Note the thickness of this paddle; much thicker
than the Sonoran types.
the cactus clustered together. Note how barren the ground
is; no grass or ground cover.
portion of the plants were in bloom; here in Argentina, it is
late summer so these were likely late to the party.
spot a few isolated patches of flowers. This looks like
verbena, but likely is not.
isolated yellow bloom.
finally got to the viewpoint and were not disappointed. An
uplift has created large cliffs in the sedimentary rocks.
distance was another range that showed similar erosion patterns.
valley below, there were some "wet areas" that clearly had more
ground water. But the greenery was very localized.
bedding in the strata produced interesting shelves in the cliff.
range had rugged canyons in addition to the shelf-like
walked back to the parking area and Kathleen was not feeling
well so she crashed on a picnic table in the shade. I continued
on to the higher viewpoint for some additional photos of the
area. The trail took me underneath some nicely banded
trail wound along the base of the banded cliffs.
the viewpoints provided a clear view of a different set of
view reveals intricate structure in the cliffs.
range had shelves that reveal the tilt of the bedding.
These cliffs are rugged and steep.
near side of the canyon, similar structures were present.
Note the huge chunk of the cliff that has sheared-off from the
return path back to the car passed underneath a huge ledge.
parting view of the banded cliffs.
and later stitched a panorama of the Sierra de last Quijadas.
walking to dinner around 2100 and I saw lightning on the western
horizon. We hustled back to the hotel, got my Sony A7RM3
and headed to the roof deck. The thunderclouds were dark
and there was not much light, but I was able to catch a
lightning bolt in progress. ISO 1600, f/2.8, 0.5 second
exposure (hand held!), 35mm with image stabilization. I
took about a dozen shots but only 4 had actual lightning bolts.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.