“There are some natural phenomenon that by their nature are beyond comprehension.” That was my (rather dumb) thought as I stood looking at my first encounter with the Great Salt Flat Salinas Grande in Salta, Argentina. How in the world is it possible to create reoccurring salt so far from the sea, so high up in the mountains?
The Great Salt Flat Salinas Grandes, a Wonder Made by Mother Nature
Well, of course science. And nature.
But still, it was startling and wonder-filled.
So let me have that: to be filled with awe at Mother Nature, dumb thoughts and all. To me, that is what Travel – with a big T – is all about.
Those moments where you are thrown off guard and off-kilter, when the time is most ripe for a shift in perception, for a moment of learning.
A Desert Out of Salt
Stretched before me into the far distance that is bordered only by the Andes miles and miles away, here high in the Puna region, is a bindingly white desert.
A desert not of blowing sand and shifting dunes, but of solid-surfaced salt.
And beneath that solid surface is a lake of salt water.
A Lake Underneath the Salt
I know that lake exists because the white surface is occasionally broken in places – by Man and by Nature.
Blue crystal-clear water shines with salt rock formations under its surface, and crystals floating upward to join and form new borders around its edges.
Salt Made by Nature – Useful for Food, Industry, and Farm Animals
My guide educates me on the various uses of the salt, depending on where and how it is mined. There is skimming for food usage, digging for industrial purposes and cultivating for cattle and horses.
I have come here as part of a hike and biking adventure in the region.
In contrast the dry brown mountains and flat puna of the area, this huge landscape is a marvel for squinting eyes. It positively gleams in the bright light of a blue cloudless sky, and is accented by small pockets of open blue water of varying hues.
Looking Back to the Ones Who Came Before Me …
I sip my own water as I stand on the parched surface and think about all those who came before me over thousands of years to be as dumb-struck as I.
Don’t forget to check out our other Argentina blog posts from this series:
- Argentina Travel Guide: A Land of Many Reasons to Go
- Traveling to Argentina: Adventure and Sustainable Travel – Where in the World is Theresa now?
- Salta, Argentina: A City in Andean Argentina (Part 1.a.1)
- Cultural, Natural and Ultimately Transformative Argentina Travel Tips: A Life-Changing Day in Salta, Argentina (Part 1.a.2)
- Natural Argentina: Ecotourism Can Fill Your Heart and Life Your Spirit (Part 1.b.)
- Desolate Beauty: The Great Salt Flat Salinas Grandes in Awe-Inspiring Argentina (Part 1.e.)
- Hiking in Search of the Pachamama in Argentina (Part 1.f.1.)
- Hiking in Search of the Pachamama in Argentina (Part 1.f.2.)
- Buenos Aires: How to Experience the Best of Its City and Countryside in 3 Days
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