Vista of one of the Vinyards
A huge cactus...one of many along the way through the desert forest
Wind swept, sand & water sculpted
Julie tossed and turned all night in the heat of the desert night. Alas we slept in until 8:30 and rolled outta bed at 9:00. This is to be expected however as we passed through two time zones this week and still have not adjusted.
We strolled into the quaint town of Cafayate for Cafe con leche and were pleasantly suprised with a full on cafe barastia complete with espresso maker and all. We ordered sandwiches...all that was on the menu for breakfast and took the leftovers with us for our anticipated hike to the desert river.
We packed up our gear and headed out of town and along the way we met Enrique, a man who owned a restaurant with his Honda Transalp parked out front. We chatted moto's for a bit and agreed that we'd talk later and perhaps eat at his place that evening.
The walk to the desert river and waterfall according to the guide book stated that we should budget for about 3 hours walk in one direction. The sun was high, and the temperature was soaring. Some man in a truck stopped and offered us a ride in the back of his chevy S-10. Julie burnt her hands on the black paint of his truck box liner and we carefully sat on white buckets covered with rope for insulation against the deadly heat.
Alas we arrived at the trail head and immediately got cornered for a 12 Peso entry fee ( 3 bucks) Julie had already walked down onto the poor excuse for a river so I refused and followed her up through the boulder strewen river bed. At about 1.5 hrs into the ascent we gave in to the heat and decided that it was best to turn around as there was no relief from the sun. We climbed out of the river bed and into the scrub desert brush. There were suprisingly large cacti and hearty trees growing in an adjacent valley and smooth sand to walk on, on our way back. We mostly followed goat paths and other peoples foot prints to navigate our way back. (Also we walked back down hill which was obviously the way back.)
There were plenty of beautiful sights to see on the way down and although we were boiling in the 39 degree's in the shade heat and 43 degrees or more in the sun we stopped occasionally to enjoy the scenery.
Julie had to stop at one point and completely submerge herself in the river to cool off and enjoy the cooling soothing water. I however did not knowing how many goats and cows deficated in the river all the way up stream.
We finally got back to the the trail head and to where all the locals were congregated. Apparently the river is a pretty big deal and everyone was there laying in the 4 inch deep river. I thought about it for a second and figured that this time of year is about the only time that there is water flowing so its a pretty big deal...and a nice break from the heat.
We walked for about 2 km along the 5 km road trying to shield ourselves from the sun. We saw a taxi coming up the mountain in the opposite direction and hoped that we'd be able to catch him on his way down. Thankfully our wishes were answered and we caught a ride into the town for a well deserved ice cream cone.
We walked the rest of the way back to our hostal and cooled off again in the shower before heading back to Enrique's Baco Pizzeria-bar. We ordered the best steak and wine we've had this trip and put a good end to a great .....but scorching day.
Tomorrow we head further south on Ruta 40.