Southwest Circuit Day 2 — What is the essence of a Road Trip?
Why this area is it called Salvador Dalí Desert? What attracts Flamingos to the blood-red Laguna Colorada?
The Route: Laguna Hedionda — Laguna Collpa — Polques Aguas Termales — Desiereto de Daly — Laguna Verde — Geiser Sol De Manana — Laguna Colorada
On the essence of a Road Trip
Road trips get me into a Zen rhythm; the sense of time goes out the window. The essence of a road trip is to move, not necessarily to arrive at a specific destination but just to drive. The philosopher Martin Buber said: “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” As I heard many times before, in many different variations: beautiful paths cannot be discovered without getting lost.
The experience of traveling does not end with the return home but is played out repeatedly in the mind. Travel is more than just seeing sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent in my ideas of living. It’s an education like no other, maybe the best. In each location and town, I learn the history and stories, feel the ground and capture the spirit. Then, it becomes part of my own story that I carry inside and goes with me always; and what are we humans, but storytellers.
Desiereto de Daly
Salvador Dalí Desert is an extremely barren valley that is characterized by landscapes that resemble surrealist paintings by Salvador Dali
A rare natural wonder near the border of Chile; a blood-red lagoon, filled with hundreds of pink flamingos. It’s known as Laguna Colorada (Reddish in Spanish). Folklore suggests the water is the blood of the gods, though scientists seem to believe the color comes from the algae and rich minerals in the water. Photographers from around the world are attracted by the spectacular setting of the deep crimson lake, hundreds of flamingos, the stark contrast of the clear blue sky and the mountains. I must admit: Laguna Colorada is one of the few places that made me feel like I needed a heavy-duty camera, with closeup lens to better capture the sharp details.
Flamingos are drawn to the lake thanks to its abundant supply of plankton, which is the small and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the water. Some animals are adapted to feed on plankton, especially by filtering the water. Curiously, the flamingos are naturally white; they look pink because the red algae stain their feathers.