I joined a tour group for the last two weeks of my trip. We were traveling from El Chalten to Perito Moreno, but the bus refused to start in the morning. The driver and the tour guide had to find another vehicle to jump start ours. It was almost three hours later when we took off. A big bus for 30 people carries only 8 of for the next two weeks—very comfortable.
It was a long drive with mostly flat and yellow/brown landscape. I was surprised in the late afternoon that we stopped to visit a place called Cueva de las Manos—Cave of Hands. It wasn’t listed on my itinerary, although other people received the info. I was pleasantly surprised.
Cueva de las Manos is a series of caves located about 100 miles south of Perito Moreno, Argentina. The paintings of hands date from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago. The site was last inhabited around 700 AD. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Perched at 11,600ft, the OPUS Hut is an eco-friendly, European style lodge. In the summer, one can drive to within ¼ mile of the hut, but in the winter, the road is closed, and one has to take a 3.5-mile hike to reach it. Breakfast, afternoon soup, and dinner are provided to the guests.
It has solar powered lighting and running water collected from the rain. There are indoor composting toilets, but no shower. A sauna room with a bucket of hot water is a refreshing way to clean up after a sweaty hike.
We indeed took a sweaty hike (5.5 hours). As an experienced rock climber and ice climber, David is like a mountain goat. Although I’m a pretty good hiker, I huffed and puffed and felt my lungs were going to explode at the high altitude (11,000ft-13,000ft). The view from the top was breathtaking. I was so glad he encouraged me to keep going until it was time to get down. 🙂
The slope was so steep that I simply couldn’t handle it. We had to find a longer, but less scary way for me. And even so, I had to hold his hand in a death grip when we inched across a crumbling ledge hundreds of feet above ground and when we stumbled downhill, racing against the threat of rain. Thunders boomed all around us by then, and drops of rain indeed fell on us. Luckily the heavy downpour held off until we returned to the Hut. If we were five minutes late, we would be drenched. The afternoon soup tasted heavenly.
Sitting amongst the craggy summits, the Hut is a remarkable place to visit. And the adventure I experienced with David will be one of the fondest memories in my life.
Originally established by miners chasing silver and gold in the surrounding mountains, Ouray is a hiker’s paradise. Miles of trails take one to mountain ridges, lush forests, deep gorges, waterfalls, and old mining sites. Although we had only a few hours, thanks to David’s knowledge of the area, we hiked to some of those beautiful places.
PS. Hot spring is another big attraction to this quaint tourist town. 🙂
Located in western New Mexico, El Morro National Monument features a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base. For centuries, travelers have left their mark upon the rock face. The top of the mesa is my favorite.
Petroglyph National Monument stretches almost twenty miles along Albuquerque, New Mexico. It protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in the U.S. I only had time to hike one trail—Rinconada Canyon, which offers 300 petroglyphs. Here are samples of the large collection there.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been to this park now. Since it’s only two and a half hours away from Sedona, I’ve taken advantage of its close proximity. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, the unique petrified wood still amazes me very time.
Gold Butte is a National Monument located in the northeast of Las Vegas. It protects 300,000 acres of desert landscapes. President Obama designated the area as a National Monument in December 2016.
I heard about this area years ago before it became a NM. In fact, I’ve tried to hike in the area but gave up since there was no sign, no trail, nobody around to ask information.
Even now, it is still a remote area. Libby and I drove as far as we could in her Prius and had to park by the side of the road to hike about four miles (one way) to Little Finland.
I’ve seen pictures of Little Finland online, and I was eager to see it with my own eyes. I’m glad we were so determined to explore the area. It turned out to be as fabulous as I imagined. There are petroglyphs and intriguing rock formations. We spent a long day and still didn’t want to leave.
This concludes my Las Vegas trip.