Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Monday, March 24, 2014

Parque National Los Cardones

Day 1106,
119 940 km since the beginning of the journey
Route: Cachi – PN Los Cardones – Cachi (137 km).

The previous posting will continue. Cachi.

Parque National Los Cardones (area 650 km²) is a huge cacti park and it is located by the road of Salta - Cachi. It is the same park which I intended to visit in January already but didn`t make it this time.. About twenty kilometers remained missing

There is no fee for visiting the park and a big road will take you right through the park. This part of the road is covered with a proper pit-free asphalt. In the meantime, there are some wider places, with enough space to stop, and also short walking trails and information boards about those tough plants that have managed to survive in this dry climate.

I'm not going to talk about the soil, mostly it consists of sand and stones of different sizes.

But the cacti grow here. On the stands one can read interesting information about cacti:

The critical years for the young cacti are the first 8-10 years, then they do not absorb water, and grow about 5 cm



And one legend of the 18 century:


Going further on the road there is one higher place which offers a fairly good view of the valley.



Piedra del Molino. From here the road takes down in the direction of Salta.


By the side of the road there are narrower and wider places which just invite to stop and take photos. In a larger parking lot the counter is full of not souvenirs, but a variety of llama products, cheese, sausages, hams. Just the right timing. And every product is allowed to be tasted first. It is said that it is not advisable to buy food while hungry, but now it is too late already.

Llama ham and cheese.

Driving up to the place where the cardan shaft fracture occurred in January (next picture is the location marked with a red circle), and where by the side of the road I had almost overnight. Mentally I was readyto spend the night there as morning is usually wiser than evening.
Not that a special emotional bond had occurred, but I remembered a tourist minibus parked at the curve and a hiking trail that ran along the slope of the mountain. And as the top priority at that time was to get back to Salta – the trail was left unacquainted with.





A few hours later, while driving back up the hill there was another sidetrack upwards which – according to the signs – was supposed to come to an end in 4 km a " fin camino ", but according to the GPS should still take out of somewhere. Encantado Valley is the name of the place. The solution is to go and have a look at it.

The road is perfectly driveable, and the place is completely deserted, but one of the sidetracks ends with a parking lot, so back again.


From afar there is another track in sight - but...

Passage of vehicles... is closed. Such a simple and concrete announcement should be taken into consideration. It is still a national park. Later, according to Google Earth one can see that the road continues through someone's yard. Back to Cachi the route takes along a side road which is called the Camino de Los Coloradoes (it should probably be translated as the Colored Road or Road of Colors), anyway in the sunset the mountains are of different shades of red.



Before going Cachi the landscape turns greener, and here too high cacti greet on both sides of the road.

A place to stay will be Cachi Municipal Camping again. And again, a lot of time is going to get bigger dust off the bus because the last part of the road was super-dusty again. I guess all the cleaning is in order to make new space for the new dust to come inside.


View Larger Map

In conclusion we can say that that was one of the usual action – free days, one in which the majority of the day goes according to the plan, and in the evening did not have to look long for a place to spend the night.

But the camping was without internet, and only of 2G was there otherwise this post would have been up a long time ago already.

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