Valle De La Luna

With Olie, Colten, Elijah & Deborah in San Pedro de Atacama

With Olie, Colten, Elijah & Deborah in San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama, an oasis in the middle of the vast Atacama desert in Northern Chile. Numerous natural phenomenon can be seen here such as the Tatio geisers, Valley of the Death, Valley of the Moon, Salar de Atacama, El Tatio geysers, Laguna Cejar and much more. Valley of the Moon was the thing I wanted to see in Atacama and there were 2 options… I could book a tour in the late afternoon to watch the sunset or I could rent a bike and ride 45 minutes to the Valley and enjoy it’s beauty all afternoon. I chose for the last one and when I told my plans to my fellow travellers in the hostel, a few decided to join me…  Deborah from Germany, Elijah from Nebraska & my ‘Salar de Uyuni’ buddies Colten from Texas & Olie from UK.

Valle de la Luna

Valle de la Luna

Valle de la Luna or ‘Valley of the Moon’ is famous for it’s moon-like landscape due to different stratifications and salt formations. From west to east a high mountain range can be seen known as the Cordillera de Domeyko, whose peak is called Kimal (4278m). Next comes the Cordillera de la Sal in which we find Salar de Atacama. Finally the Andean mountain range made of a plateau, known as the Altiplano & a chain of volcanoes such as Licancabur, Lascar & Acamarachi who divide the relief & create the present system of gorges & rivers.

Hiking the canyons

Hiking the canyons

After purchasing the entrance ticket of 2000 pesos, we biked 2 to the canyon where we hiked through a narrow gorge into a pitch black cave to crawl out the other side and hike back along the rocky mountain surface of gravel, clay, salt, gemz & quartz which gave a beautiful brown/white color to the mountain range. The next few kilometers were really hard work as it was uphill with strong winds that didn’t really help the ascension. The strong winds that created the Great Sand Dune was now also affecting us by blowing millions sand corals in our direction, sandblasting us to the fullest. But ee persevered and reached

The Amfitheatre

The Amfitheatre

The Great Sand Dune, formed by the accumulation of sand, prompted by natural barriers which constituted the base of the dunes.   Finally we reached The Amphitheathre. The Cordillera de la Sal was formed by the horizontal accumulation of thin layers of materials such as sand, clay & salt which were subsequently destroyed by movementsin earth’s crust. The actions of wind & water upon this geographical formations have created a sequence of peaks, similar in outline to the bellows of a accordeon.

We didn’t reach The Three Maries, formations due to intense erosion & the Salt Mines, where crystals of gem salt can be seen. Instead we biked back, enjoying the beautiful Amphitheatre once more and racing downhill for fun and to make it back to San Pedro before dark…

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