Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

May 10, 2002...

Credit to Park Talampaya

-- Story by Erin --

Thursday, May 9th: Our next stop that evening after Valle de la Luna was the national park of Talampaya, some 60 kilometers away.  We had heard that we could camp next to the park office so we decided to do that, rather than drive another 60 kilometers to the next town for the night.  On the way we met 3 Argentine's, Carina and her husband Patricio and their friend Jose, on 2 very heavily loaded 90cc scooters.  They were on a 10 day vacation very far from their home town of Santa Fe.  Turns out they were headed to the park as well that night.  When we arrived at the turn off for the park at 6pm the gate was closed (but not locked!)   We went in anyway and rode the next 13 kilometers to the actual park entrance.   When we arrived there was not a soul around, except for a few playful foxes.   The camping area was well marked so we started setting up our tent.  A short while later the Argentine group showed up and pitched their tent.  I guess the park staff didn't expect campers that night because they made sure to turn off the water in the bathrooms and outside taps!  Luckily we all had a little bit of water with us so it wasn't a problem.  The guys built a big bonfire and we stayed warm and chatted by the fire until we were out of wood.  Being out in the middle of nowhere, it was deathly quiet all night (even the strong wind during the day had died down) and you could hear the peeps and footsteps of the local animals in the night.

Sunrise is relatively late here, about 8am, which is when we all finally stirred from our tents.  It was a fantastic sight (as sunrises tend to be) with a thin layer of cloud clinging to the ground and the mountains around us turning from purple to pink to the red natural color they are.  The guides turned up around 9pm and we got ourselves organized to go.  The program is the same here as in Valle de la Luna, no entrance without a guide.  This time however you have a choice of 2 different tours, one long and one short.  The cost is slightly higher here and you must go in their trucks.  In understood why after seeing how fragile the environment is here. We opted, along with the Argentine's, to take the shorter (more economical) tour for one and a half hours.  The route took us through a brilliant red canyon along the dry river bed (with very deep powdery sand) of the Talampaya River.  The walls are sheer drops created by the millions of years of water and wind.  There were several stops along the way including: petroglyphs created by the native indians, thought to be a sacred place where they performed special ceremonies and sacrifices, a place called the Botanical Garden with it's many different plants and trees, and to see fantastic rock formations.  Ņandus, foxes, condors and other interesting birds are fairly abundant here.

At mid-day we said goodbye to our new friends and went in opposite directions, us to Laguna Brava in the north and they to Valle de la Luna in the south.


In the National Park Talampaya with Carina, Patricio, Jose and our guide

The dry riverbed with our truck and guide

One of the scenic stops in Talampaya.  Can you see the "monk"?

Sunset over our bikes at Talampaya


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