To Mars and Back

Published: August 12th 2007
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Hey all you sports fans...

We set off to Bolivia´s Southwest to view what some would call the world´s most bizarre landscape.
We would have to agree, its pretty bizarre place to see in person.

Started off our journey from La Paz to the town of Oruro, where we connected with a train to get us down south to a town called Tupiza. Most people start there trips from Uyuni, but everyone we had been talking to said to start from Tupiza and save the best for last - that being the trip across the world´s largest salt pan. So we did just that.

We arrived in Tupiza, a cool little town that feels like it should be out of the wild west of the the US. We booked a tour and spent a day walking around staring at all the crazy eroded formations in the valleys and hills surrounding town. Next morning we started off on a 4 day - 1275km journey on rough 4x4 tracks across the barren desert highlands in a trusty land cruiser, the ONLY choice of vehicle down here.

Southwestern Bolivia is an incredibly barren place, all above 3500m (often we were
Valle De Los MachosValle De Los MachosValle De Los Machos

Also known as the Valley of the Penis´ to the locals in this area...
higher than 5000m) that contains only the hardiest of living things eking out an existence. Not a single tree was observed in 4 days (and very little vegetation), with the only signs of life being some extremely hardy flamingos, a very strange emu-like bird of similar size, various lamas and vicunas (wild cousins but smaller) and an occasional fox that likes to be fed. And of course a handful of people scraping out a meager existence gathering salt, borax and quinoa (a type of grain). These people get my vote for worst place on earth to live - its one of those places that you have to be born into to have any desire live there! All the power to them.

So the pictures speak for our four days - stuck in a bumpy jeep 10 hours per day, freezing ourselves at night and in the morning (it was below -20 and with a windchill) while living off meager rations (Ben was the only carnivore in five and our cook had trouble figuring out how to cook for both at each and every meal), BUT constantly in awe at the amazing and beautiful lanscape that just kept unfolding before us.

The final day across the Salar de Uyuni, the world´s largest salt desert was awe-inspiring. We drove out onto it to watch the sunrise and then spent most of day driving across it with random stops to take photos and look at sites of interest. It is just a bit under 12000 sq kms of pure salt, between 2-12 meters thick. It seriously resembles a frozen Canadian lake in spring time, only the ice here taste ALOT saltier!

The pictures speak for themselves but they really are no substitute for actually seeing it with your own eyes. That is the only way to get it all in perspective!

Additional photos below
Photos: 42, Displayed: 24


Devils GateDevils Gate
Devils Gate

It is only 3 feet thick... It would literaly be a rock climbing wall!
Its Cold up hereIts Cold up here
Its Cold up here

At night it got down to -20C plus a wind chill... brrr

So we found some hot springs to warm up.
Pink FlamingosPink Flamingos
Pink Flamingos

This place deffently had diversity, you could never predict what would be around the corner!
Slush LakeSlush Lake
Slush Lake

The ripple was really cool to watch...
Lago VerdeLago Verde
Lago Verde

Green Lake and our crew.

Some were really loud and hot.

AND smelly...

29th May 2007

Love your shots!
Great flats pics guys! Ben, the one of you in the bottle is perfect! Keep on keepin on.

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