Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Second Time's The Charm. Valle Arcoiris (Rainbow Valley).


Yesterday, we were on a tour that took us to see the petroglyphs at Yerbas Buenas.   After Yerbas Buenas, we were suppose to head to nearby Valle Arcoiris but the road was impassable due to recent heavy rains.  Apparently, about a week or so before we arrived into San Pedro, the region endured several major storms that flooded out roads.

The manager at Tourismo Layana had kindly agreed to repeat the tour except we would skip out on seeing Yerbas Buenas again and join the group for Valle Arcoiris.

So, that's exactly what we did.  Today, even though there were fewer people in the group, we traveled in a larger vehicle.  Perhaps the folks at Tourismo Layana figured a bus would better be able to take on the roads.

Our driver today, Pedro, also went on a scouting mission to check out the condition of the roads and gave it a thumbs up.

So, after Yerbas Buenas, we headed out....with fingers crossed that the road conditions were indeed in our favor.


In no time, we were completely off road.  The road, if you can call it that, was barely wider than the bus.  Rocks were strewn about everywhere, there were large muddy ruts and we crossed over a stream or two that were probably not there before the torrential rains fell.  I have never been offroad in a tourist bus before! It was a bumpy ride for certain and at times a bit scary as the bus would lean so far to one side, I feared it would completely tip over!



There were several points in the road where there were so many large rocks all over the place that Pedro and our guide, Leonardo, actually got out and moved the rocks!

Leonardo on the left and Pedro on the right assessing the situation!


It was rough going and many a moment I thought Pedro could risk breaking the axle and then we would really be stuck!


Some of the ruts were really deep and because the road was already so narrow, there was no way to avoid them.






At one point, we had seemingly hit a point of no return.  A large rut in the road followed by a barrier of dirt that was sufficiently high that Pedro would have risked flipping the bus over had he tried to drive over it.  The road was too narrow for Pedro to do a U-turn.  Luckily, a tour van approached and stopped to check out what was going on.  Apparently, he told Leonardo and Pedro about an alternative route but that was not all that he did for us.  He repeatedly drove over the barrier until it was relatively flat.  Pedro was than able to move forward and get to the alternative route.  From this point, it was a short distance drive, on a relatively decent road, to get to Valle Arcoiris.  We had made it!!  Our thanks all went to Pedro!!


With all his attention focused on getting us to Valle Arcoiris, Leonardo was not able to brief us on our ride so before he set us loose to explore the small valley, he gave us a bit if insight into the geology of the area.  As you might expect, the colors come from minerals that have leached to the surface of the rock.

We followed a mark path that led us past many of the colorful rock faces.  For me, I've seen more colorful rock formations e.g., at Painted Rocks National Seashore in Michigan and at the Zhangye Danxia Landform in China so for me, Valle Arcoiris was not all that impressive.  But, I don't think Bro had ever seen anything like this before so this was a new experience for him.



























By the time most of us had finished our walkabout and made it back to the bus, Leonardo and Pedro had set out a snack spread.  There were cookies, chips, peanuts, cheese and drinks.  Nothing fancy but a little something to keep us going.


Soon, it was time to head back.  First a stop back a Yerbas Buenas so people could use the facilities.


That was enough time for Bro to check out the small garden....

....and the cactus.


When we got back to San Pedro, we stopped by Tourismo Layana to let Pas know that we had made it to Valle Arcoiris and to pass along a word of acknowledgement for Pedro.

It took two tries and even though Valle Arcoiris was not as spectacular as I had expected, I'm still glad we made it!