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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

28 June 2011

Salty

25th June 2011

Today we dared to brave the road to the Salar de Surire.

The guidebook suggests you only try this with a high-clearance vehicle. The lady at the car hire place shook her head vigorously when we asked if it was sensible to do. But Flavio said that if we took it carefully, and slowed down to navigate any really bad pot-holes or deep ruts, then it should be possible – and if we find an impossible bit, we can just turn back.

Haha! The road was superb, we steamed down it at speed and only had to slow for the odd sandy patch. There were smoking volcanoes and vicunas along the way, and at the end of the road was the Salar de Surire which must be one of the highest salt lakes in the world; a huge expanse of whiteness surrounded by a ring of dusty mountains. At one end of the lake they are mining the salts for borax, which seems an odd thing to do with a National Monument. But the lake is so big that all the trucks and diggers are soon out of sight.

At the far end of the salar there are hot pools where sulphurous water bubbles steamily out of the ground before being cooled by the high altiplano air. There’s no changing room here, there’s nothing except a signpost in fact. But then again nor was there anyone to watch us except for a couple of ducks. So we found ourselves having a nice hot bath in the open air at an altitude of 4.5kms, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Not many people get to do that. And really, getting to do what not many people get to do is one of the big appeals of travelling to far-flung places for me. So today was a winner.


2 Responses to “Salty”

  1. Robert Branch says:

    Wow Matthew, that is an awesome day just judging by the vistas, let alone the great weather you enjoyed all they way up there.

    • shortclaws says:

      Thanks for commenting! By contrast, today has been a far from awesome day. Hmm… I suppose at least I’ve had time to reply to comments and catch up on the blog.

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