Remember to click on the images, especially the Pano shots, they look much better when you they are in full size!!
Our first excursion into the Atacama Desert was into an area known as Valle de la Luna or the Moon Valley. It is called this because of the absolute starkness of the place. There is nothing here except rocks, sand and salt crystals. Nothing grows here, NOTHING! So it resembles the surface of the moon. It was a somewhat strange place, being in an area where there is no life at all, there are no bushes, trees or shrubs of any kind and so there are no birds or small animals to be seen, the place is pretty much sterile and has a stark beauty that is captivating. Also, the area gets pretty much no rain (approx 1mm per annum) so things are VERY dry. It is so dry that your nose and throat begin to dry out, it is a really unusual place. For those Star Wars fans out there, it felt as if we had landed on Tatooine (Luke Skywalker’s home planet) and I was almost expecting one of the Sandpeople to come over one of the ridges at any moment. It would not have surprised me at all to bump into any one of the Star Wars characters.
We visited the Moon Valley in the late afternoon and watched the sunset from one of the ridges, the colours were incredible. The stark rocky valleys changed from a warm golden colour, to a rich reddish orange tone and just after the sun had set, the sky became a magnificent magenta that reflected off the volcanic sculptures and rocks, it was an incredible light display. The Moon Valley was fantastic, it was our first experience in the Desert and one that we will not easily forget.