Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Altiplanico Lakes

The quiet early morning streets of San Pedro de Atacama before I set out for a trip to the Antiplanico Lakes. We had a great Englishman, myself, a French guy, and three Chilenos, one of which (Esteban) is pictured here. What a charmer he was. That's an active smoking volcano out the window.

the old Inca road which went from volcano to volcano

These are stacked stones that the Incas used as prayers. Many of these are from tourists, as they don't last long.. ..the Incas also used them to mark their trails, so they may in fact be the origin of the trail 'ducks' all backpackers are familiar with.

My inca prayer tower

There are 140 volcanoes in this area, 4 of which are active...see smoke plume below. There are over 1,000 volcanoes in Chile

the sheer abundance of volcanoes is just's 3 in a row

Pedro, our guide, was a bit of a ham

Huge chunks of salt. This is the largest salt basin on earth. Though it's not as wide as Utah's or Bolivia's, it's deeper...1.5 km deep of solid salt

there's a flamingo in pics above and below

You can see terraces behind this church that the local indigenous peoples have used for thousands of years. In fact, they are called Andenas...and the Andes got their name from these terraces where they grew quinoa

Note cactus wood ceiling...there are so few trees up here

cactus door on 16th church. The towers were built away from the church to protect churches from earthquake damage since the towers often go first

This one is for Brian :)

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