Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Northern Argentina... Siete Colores, Quebrada de Humahuaca, Posta and Coctaca

From Salta, I continued north along the highway.
I passed by the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors).
To me, the hill seemed to have more than seven colors.
I could count at least 10, maybe more. But who is really keeping track. It's just one of those wonders to ponder. How does that happen?
I rode on and passed an area known as the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Ravine of Humahuaca). There were mountains with crazy rock formations. I don't know if these mountains were formed from erosion or tectonic plates colliding... amazing either way.
I checked out the Posta de Hornillos.
The fort was built in 1772.
Supposedly the fort and others like it were instrumental in the war for independence for Argentina.
Ever see a llama up close and personal?
How about a giant llama?

I reached the small town of Humahuaca.
I left my bags in the hostel and decided to do a little exploring in the outskirts. I headed down a dirt road to an area called Coctaca.
I found the village which contained about 5 houses and this small iglesia (church).
Not much out there, except some thistles and some ruins.
Actually, Coctaca is supposedly some of the largest pre-Colombian ruins in South America covering some 40 hectares.
However, many of the ruins were not excavated and could not be distinguished from a pile of rocks. But there were quite a few of them. There was no information center, no landmarks, no signs... just rocks. I walked amongst the ruins freely.
There was absolutely nobody around.
Just me, Emi and a few cacti.
Actually, there were more that a few... the valley was covered in cacti.
Up close, the cacti were quite exquisite.
Oh... and there were a few burros amongst the rocks and cacti.
I headed back toward town along the dirt road.
Closer to civilization there were more burros.
And a few sheep going about their business.
I ran into this old lady and her dog. She looked like an interesting person.
I asked her if I could take her photo... and she said yes. An austere lady in a rugged landscape.
The next day I would push on towards the north. I passed hills, rivers, canyons...
chasms, bridges and mountains.
I stopped along the way... just to take a deep breath... and look. Northern Argentina had some of the most amazing scenery.
Further down the road, I reached the frontier town of La Quiaca. I crossed from Argentina into Boliva. Bolivia requires a visa for US citizens. I was able to get it at the border. It set me back US$135. 

Ciao Argentina, you have been an amazing travel partner.

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