After the exploration of Santiago and Valparaiso we took a dramatic turn to the northern part of Chile and the very remote Atacama desert. Though I’ve seen some beautiful desert landscapes, nothing compared to the foreign view we found here which reminded us more of MARS than any place on this earth. Even the name of one of the expansive vistas, Moon Valley, solidifies you are not alone in your galactic references. It’s hard to imagine that something so obscure, otherworldly and barren can be so beautiful but it is! The endless sky, the ever changing colors, the sculptural nature of rocks from behind massive dunes. Over our 3 day tour of the Atacama desert we would discover llamas in the wild, a town kept alive by 15 people, no stop signs or red lights and nothing even close to an advertisement, salt flats and volcanoes, rock engravings, valleys and geysers and the *most* unbelievable night sky I have ever seen you can find #onlyinsouthamerica.
I was quite enchanted with the colors of the salt flats, the O’Keeffe nature of the gradients, especially just after the sun had set and the mountains were a wash of early evening violet. These low valley salt flats, a result of the surrounding volcanic mountains, are very shallow and when I touched my hand under the surface I watched my skin wrinkle and dry out as if I was instantly aging myself by 30 years.
Early call time – leaving the hotel in the 5am hour to get to the Tatio Geysers was quite brutal but not as brutal as working at an altitude of 4,200 meters! I had never experienced altitude at that height before and although it did not make me feel ill it did catch me off guard when I thought I’d just “run back” to the vehicle to change lenses and found myself desperately out of breath!
Venturing into Moon Valley….
I got to run my fingers through the ten thousand year old Petroglyphs (rock engravings) while our guide described the difference in line sophisticated over time from this ancient art form.
As the sun set on Moon Valley we watched the colors sweep over and deepen the drama of the petrified salt and red clay in their curious shapes dancing through the valley. It’s funny when I look back at these photographs of my memories it almost looks as if snow has lightly dusted the scene, something which I watched happen in Joshua Tree this past January. There is no life and no humidity in Moon Valley, just a modern art masterpiece made my mother nature in rock sculptures and magnificent desert colors. Being the most inhospitable place on earth, you can imagine the effect this could have on your skin which is why I was so very relieved when I discovered this body oil!
I’ve also fallen in love with a new pair of super comfy converse in this updated classic style.
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