Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chile: Desert, Wildlife & Mountain Lakes

While we were in Chile we had the privilige of take a day tour up north to the highland area (called Antiplano). It was a gorgeous trip through the desert up to the Lauca National Park. We stopped several times along the way. The first stop was to view some ancient grafitti created in pre-Incan times with volcanic rock. We were quite a distance but you could still make out some of the figures on the dusty tan hills. There were figures of people, llamas & condors. Then we stopped at a little village to check out a small church and old cemetary.

The view along our drive was amazing! Of course we had to stop and take pictures at every overlook along the way! (In case you didn't figure it out yet, this post is going to be mostly pictures) We stopped at a "rest stop" to have a breakfast of bread & cheese with coca tea (for the altitude). We were going up and up and up!!

At one of our rest stops we were visited by some animals who were pets of the rest stop owners: an alpaca, a llama and a goat. They were really friendly and followed us around. The llama butted himself up against me (I think it was in a friendly manner) and the alpaca though also friendly was spitting (yes I kinda got spit on!). The goat made himself at home on our bus. He climbed up and proceeded to look around for a snack. I had to close somebody's backpack that held a tempting bag of chips. It was so funny!

After a couple hours of driving up, up, up we finally entered Lauca National Park and began to see a change in the terrain. There were more green things growning and much more water than the desert we had been traveling through. We also began to see many different types of interesting wildlife!



Finally we made it to Lake Chungara, the highest lake in the world (at 4510m or 14,000 some feet)!! It was gorgeous and surrounded by several large snow covered mountains and volcanoes. We were so close to the Bolivian border that at least one of the mountains was actually located in Bolivia. It was such a serene scene with vicuña grazing and flamingos (yes, there are high altitude flamingos!). Well, you can take a peak at my pics that don't even begin to capture the beauty of God's creation! What a wonderful day!


-cher ens :) said...

Carrie! It's so refreshing to see your beautiful face and read all the stories of your adventures "down South" :) I'm so jealous of your new furry friends, but love that you got to splash in the Pacific! hurray! The sunset in Chile is gorgeous and I'm so excited that you are loving Peru. love and miss you lots! :)

Kristi said...

Carrie, I love your photos! It's so exciting when Blogarithm tells me you've posted something, because I know it'll be fun to see. I love the photos of the vicuña y vizpacha (sp?), but I think my fave is the one of the cemetery. I've seen other photos of those kinds of desert cemeteries in Chile and Argentina and it was cool to see it as part of your adventure ... I could almost feel the high, cool desert wind splashing across my face as I saw you there in your scarf. Okay I think I've commented enought for one day =-) but I'm really happy to read your updates and "travel" with you. Keeps me fresh on different aspects of culture, esp. w/ teaching Spanish. Hasta luego, amiga!

Bekah said...

Wow--what amazing scenery! If the pictures don't begin to show how it looked, it must have been amazing!

I laughed at the table story and shared it with Charissa, who is sitting here with me, and loved the animals that followed you around the rest stop! What great stories!

I got to go in the Pacific ocean, too, just at a different place!

Love and miss you!