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Old 03-06-2013, 02:11 PM   #122
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oddometer: 296
san pedro de atacama, day 1

wednesday, march 6, 2013

woke up at 9am. it's nice to be able to sleep in and not have to suit up for the next city. i've decided i'm going to stay here until saturday or sunday. talking to people, there is just too much to see to move along any sooner.

after an omelette at a little hole in the wall down the dirt street (they are all dirt streets), i suited up for a ride. i took the side cases off the bike, as i knew i was going off-road. the valle del arcoíris (rainbow valley) was the destination.

i back-tracked on the road that brought me into town yesterday. i had my eyes aggressively searching for the black, 5" rubber cap that rocketed off my homemade tent storage tube yesterday. a quick glance at the photo from yesterday near the s.p. de atacama / tuina sign confirmed it was still on at that point. so i drove almost to that sign today, about 40km further than the turn-off for valle del arcoíris. so i'm sentimental! it's part of my bike, part of me. i didn't find it.

it was about a 25km joyride on pavement to the turn-off for valle del arcoíris. as soon as i turned off the road, i was fighting my way up a thick riverbed, complete with large boulders, deep sand, river crossings up to my knees and a lot of swearing and sweating.


valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


valle del arcoíris 2, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the fight was worth it, as arriving at valle del arcoíris was pretty amazing. i wish i could see that place at sunset or sunrise. like many places around atacama, there are thick salt crystal deposits everywhere. the mountains sparkle in the sun, reflected off millions of tiny reflectors.


salt crystal, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


salt deposits 2, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


salt deposits, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


red towers, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


red towers 2, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


tourist and red towers, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

you can see the green areas where the copper ore is oxidizing. the red areas are probably iron oxide. there was blue, yellow, and just about everything else. the white areas are crystals that are growing, because the ground is saturated with salt deposits.


close up salt deposits, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


copper ore 3, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


copper ore, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


copper ore 2, valle del arcoíris, mantacilla, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

it was a challenging 4-hour journey, then back to the hostel to relax and maybe go for a run. tomorrow, i'm off to explore the volcanos to the east of town.

porkandcorn screwed with this post 03-07-2013 at 02:49 PM
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