Salt Flats Tour Day 2

November 18, 2005
Day 51

We got up early this morning, had a small breakfast, and started driving. Our first stop of the day was Volcan Ollague, an active volcano looming in the distance across the Chilean border. Next, we went to a series of lagoons. Every lagoon we saw was home to hundreds of flamingos. I was very happy to see them because I was told that there would be flamingos on my Islas Ballestas tour, but I didn't see any. Each lagoon seemed more beautiful than the last with their colorful algae, blue skies, and mountains in the background.

After doing a few hours of sightseeing, we stopped for lunch. The area we stopped at was inhabited by dozens of "scrabbits," animals with heads of rabbits and tails of squirrels. I couldn't quite figure out how the scrabbits could survive at nearly 5000 meters without any food in sight, but then I saw some other tourists throwing their leftovers to them. I guess that explained it.

We drove for another hour after lunch through some very bumpy terrain and arrived at the "Arbol de Piedra," or tree of rock. It was a giant rock that barely seemed to be able to stand up on its small base. There were also some other big rocks nearby that provided some much-needed exercise for me when I climbed them after being in a truck for the last two days straight.

Our final stop of the day was at Laguna Colorada, a large lagoon that was part ice, part salt, part mud, and all flamingo terrain. I walked with my group to the Mirador, a lookout point at the top of a hill about halfway across the lagoon, where I was treated to even more spectacular views.

The place we stayed at was not nearly as nice as last night's. There was no running water, the bathroom smelled horribly, it was much colder than last night, and all six of us had to sleep in the same room together. The only consolation was that we had to get up the next day at 4:00 AM, so we basically just ate supper and went to bed very early. One good thing about being at high altitude is that is makes you very sleepy, which comes in handy when there's nothing to do because it's pitch black due to a lack of electricity.

The photo album for this entry is here.

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3 thoughts on “Salt Flats Tour Day 2

  1. Urrv


    First off - HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Not to rub it in, but we had a feast of Turkey, mashed potatoes, cheesy carrots (trust me they are good), dressing, gravy, cranberry salad, and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. Hope you had a good meal.

    Secondly, we are enjoying your blog quite a bit, and we think we know the actual name for your "scrabbits". Katie and I are 99.98% sure that they are wild chinchillas. They fit the discription perfectly and even resemble Cuco, but they have have longer ears and look to be a little bigger in size.

    Well I have to go eat some leftovers. Take care and happy trekking.

    Urrv, Katie, & Bella

  2. Dan Perry Post author

    Hi Urrv. I ate pizza for Thanksgiving, as you'll soon find out. My tour guide told me the real name of the scrabbits, but I couldn't remember it. I don't remember it sounding like "Chinchilla," but you may be right. And don't worry, I haven't eaten one... yet.

  3. Nic

    The flamingos are amazing! I have only seen them in fact, didn't really know where they really lived. There were four of us in college that were nicknamed the pink flamingos. I'm going to forward your pictures to the group :)

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