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A hike through the Quebrada de Don Eduardo with a local guide is an experience not to be missed after the classic vehicle tour through the great Talampaya Canyon:
As we venture into the landscape on foot, our experiences intensify, accessing spectacular viewpoints, discovering fantastic geological formations, learning about the fossils that have been discovered, local plants and their medicinal uses, wildlife and ecological challenges.
The Quebrada de Don Eduardo is a gorge named in memory of a local muleteer. It is walked with an authorized guide in 3 to 5 hour hikes of low difficulty, entering towards the north? of the great Talampaya Canyon through dry creek beds.
Our guide Jaime, passionate to answer all our questions, explained to us that in Talampaya were found the fossilized remains of prehistoric animals and plants that reveal the evolution of life in the Triassic, about 250 and 200 million years ago. Among them was found one of the oldest turtles in the world, called Palaeochersis talampayensis.
Jaime also made us pay attention to the flora of the place, corresponding to the ecoregion "Monte de sierras y bolsones", characterized as a shrub steppe with a predominance of jarillas, accompanied by several species of cactus, retama bushes, carob trees, chañar trees, as well as green bark shrubs called brea. Jaime's grandfather used to rely on many of these plants for medicinal purposes. A poultice made with jarilla leaves, for example, is a good anti-inflammatory and as a tea, it helps to soothe cold symptoms.
Flowering jarilla bush
The various lookouts reached during the tour, also served us to take a break while enjoying the spectacular views.
From this lookout you can see the formation called "El Flautista" (the Flute Player) in the background, a particular geoform originated by the erosion of water and wind. In the sliding images you can see the flute player from a closer view and then the rock from the other side, since the trail passes very close, surrounding it.
As we entered a narrow gorge flanked by impressive vertical walls, we crossed a crumbling rock face that formed an arch.
In one stretch we had to "climb" a wall of about three meters. Luckily, in addition to having the help of our guide, we were able to make use of some handy steps: The holes left in the limestone rock by harder pebbles as they became detached during the erosion process, as Jaime explained to us.
The effort of the hike was rewarded when we reached a natural viewpoint at the highest point of the trail...
… from which we could appreciate all the beauty of Talampaya from a very little known perspective, with the magnificent reddish cliffs disappearing into the horizon.
One of the walls is crossed by a geological fault in an almost perfect diagonal.
On the way back…
… the small hairy armadillo that crossed our path, running away in panic, was for us like a farewell warning of this unforgettable adventure in Talampaya: It made us think of its large armored relatives, the glyptodonts, a species extinct some 10,000 years ago due to overhunting done by our greedy human species!
© Texts and photos: Haupt & Binder.
Universes in Universe
Talampaya National Park
Located in the south of the province of La Rioja, on the border with San Juan, about 60 km from the city of Villa Unión. It is accessed via National Route Nº 76 that crosses the park.
Entrance, service area, offices to book excursions, restaurant, handicrafts:
Location on map
Talampaya (which means "dry river of the tala" - a local tree) can be visited all year round. It is advisable to wear light and warm clothing both in winter and summer due to the wide temperature range, which can reach -10º C in winter and 45º C in summer.
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Compilation of information, editing, translations, photos: Universes in Universe, unless otherwise indicated