ISCHIGUALASTO Provincial Park, or VALLEY OF THE MOON
I have written before about my love of deserts. Sometimes it is the tranquility I like, sometimes the chance to be alone... I find this relaxing.
But sometimes these barren lands bring interesting features and history and sometimes happy encounters with fellow travelers and explorers.
Such was the case with Parque Provincial Ischigualasto – near San Juan. Actually it is 270 kms from San Juan on a nice road. This park is also known as Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) due to its appearance. They thought this is what the moon must be like.
There are some amazing rock formations here, and the near constant wind has eroded many rocks into interesting shapes. With formations dating back more than 200 million years, this area is subject to many paleontological explorations and contains some of the oldest dinosaur remains on earth. As well as more than 60 species of fossil plants.
-10 degrees in winter and 45+ degrees in summer.. and always the wind. This is a harsh environment – but very rewarding to visit.
It is one of very few national parks on my memory where you can enter with your vehicle. But only within a guided group. So first the caravan of vehicles is being gathered at the entrance and then you are allowed to enter the park. The whole tour lasts around 3-3.5 hours with stops and explanations of a professional guide, around 40 km long. That’s where I encountered the group of riders from Buenos Aires and Bariloche, of course we were part of the same tour group and were riding together.
I enjoyed the valley and the tour. The weather was changing a few times from being quite chilly into very hot, then the wind started to pick up. But yes, this is the desert and this is very normal.
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