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.