Quite often, the desert can be a difficult thing to appreciate. It can bake you to the core; there are nasty dust storms; it is full of spiders, snakes and scorpions; there are more thorny, poky plants than imaginable; water sources are scarce; the barren, desolate landscape makes you vulnerable. However, despite all these hardships, the desert country we traveled through the past week left us in awe of it's imposing mountains and raw, untamed beauty.
Over the past two weeks we've hiked from jungles practically dripping in green to the erosion-cut landscape of the desert. I'll cover our first green week from lush Huerquehue National Park to Flor del Valle, Chile (sadly our last time in Chile) and Sarah will write in our next blog post about our second dusty week in from volcanic Caviahue, Argentina to Chos Malal, Argentina.
Hiking through Huerquehue (pronounced "where-kay-way") National Park, we found the hiking trails that Los Alerces National Park didn't provide. We were happy to be protected by the cool shade of the tall forest dotted with the exotic-looking araucaria tree. We patiently waited for a fairy to fly by while the park's well-maintained trails led us to white cascades falling down luges of black rock, tranquil lagoons flanked by moss-covered granite cliffs, a peaceful river valley, and ultimately to the relaxing Termas Rio Blanco (hot springs). However, the only thing that ended up flying was the mysterious tailed creature (monito del monte?) that fell onto our tent in the middle of the night - Sarah, in her sleepy semi-conscious state, wound up and THWACK! sent the little guy flying into the night's abyss before snuggling back into her sleeping bag unperturbed.