Valley of The Moon – Parque Triasico Ischigualasto!

Our tour didn’t get started til mid-afternoon. The guides had to wait for enough people to sign up as the drive is an hour and a half to the park, so to make it affordable for them they need to have at least three people. We ended up with four, thank goodness, and off we went from San Agustin de Valle Fertil along the main paved road where we finally turned off at a huge table bluff onto a dirt road for many miles more before reaching the Visitor’s Center!

Inside the Visitor’s Center was a ton of information – our circular route of travel we would take with their tour guide was shown on a poster!

And this Visitor’s Center displayed yet ANOTHER dinosaur museum!

This chart shows the different ages of life on planet Earth!

And then it conveniently shows which types of animals lived in each of those ages!

And then it shows how the archaeological research was done that helped discover all this lost history!

Look at the difference in size between these two different dinosaur species’ heads! It’s like elephant skulls to hummingbird heads, almost!

A picture of an archaeologist’s hands uncovering a dinosaur that died due to entrapment in quick sand!

Outside the Visitor’s Center and Museum across the parking lot was a large marketplace that had this interesting rubber tire made into a chair! I’d never seen this done before!

And then FINALLY the Park’s afternoon tour guide was ready to lead the caravan of cars on the 3 hour tour through the Valley of the Moon, as this Park is also called! Before departing I snapped a couple more photos to remind myself of where I was and the layout of the terrain … just in case!

Descending into this large area, the view did indeed seem similar to a moonscape!

Our first stop was in an area called the Painted Valley. It reminded me of landscapes I have seen in various National Parks in the U.S.!

The Park had been helpful to the visitors by posting signs with the various plant names!

And then suddenly I thought I saw a Sphinx and my mind was transported to Egypt! Amazing!

Strange barren topography!

At our next stop we had a sandy walk …

… past odd-shaped rocks …

… to a curious type of rocks that were ROUND!

Some were fused together!

Many were split in half! Whether this was natural occurrence or caused by man, I’m not sure!

Walking back to our vehicles, the red cliffs in the distance stood out in stark contrast to the surrounding scenery!

The ground held curiosities … like round rocks that had been sliced in half and left embedded in the substrate! Or maybe they were just partially formed round rocks that never actually matured to stone-hood! In any case, I think the round stones were created by gas bubbles emitted by the earth that solidified when combining with certain types of sand and minerals they passed through in the layers of sediment during their upward movement from below.

Near the end of the valley we arrived at an outpost which they call a Museum!

We received an explanation on the archaeology that had been done in the region. Sadly, though, every single talk on this trip has been in Spanish, and though I have a little Spanish vocabulary, I don’t have enough to understand most of what they’re saying as they speak so fast! Many of the other tourists didn’t know enough Spanish to understand them, either.

Before departing the outpost, I noticed some dramatic weather conditions unfolding in the skies!

At the end of the long loop we finally came to the grand configurations I had been waiting to see! However, it was hit or miss with the sun now as the clouds had been building! My photos didn’t turn out as impressive as I’d hoped they’d be.

The landscapes reminded me of Christmas colors with its greens and reds!

The last stop offered the ‘piece de resistance’ – translated from the French as meaning ‘the most substantial dish in a meal’! This picture was taken through the windshield of our car as we approached the famous rock formation known as El Hongo!

And then we were headed back on the long direct route to the Visitor’s Center! It had been a gorgeous afternoon!

A magnificent sunset was unfolding!

With HUGE Cumulonimbus clouds I’d not seen that large in a LONG time!

The Redlands at sunset!

Our driver’s dashboard sported a dead dehydrated lizard! He called it his Mascot!

And there went the last of the sun!

What an interesting day this had been, steeped in deep geology and epoch ages of this planet’s past! What I found fascinating is that it appears that all the various types of land configurations that exist in the Northern Hemisphere also exist in the Southern Hemisphere! And so far while I’ve been on this trip, I’ve met by brother’s double (only he was half the age of my brother), I’ve met the twin of Elijah Wood (the actor who played the part of Frodo and starred in Lord of the Rings) and there was another person, too – cannot remember now – who looked exactly like someone else I know in the U.S.  All this led me to wonder – is everything and everyone duplicated in various different areas of the planet? We and the planet are not unique unto ourselves? When I was in Cuba I also saw several people who looked like friends of mine back in the States – one of them was even a couple with BOTH of them looking like a couple I know! How odd!  This world has many mysteries that we many never unravel! And as the old saying goes, “As above, So below”.

But, enough of this! I have to prepare for my next destination … but wouldn’t you know it? Even THAT didn’t go as planned! Instead, it ended up BETTER than I had ever dreamed possible!


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