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Canyons and caballos

August 1, 2006

What an adventure Paul and I had today, along with the French and Dutch couples that were with us on our “triathlon” tour of Tupiza´s surroundings. 

We began the day by biking 12 km on the dirt road heading south out of town.  After arriving at a small outlook likely constructed for tourists, we loaded the bikes onto the top of a 4WD and headed even farther out into the Chichas mountains.  The formations and colors were spectacular:  ridges and spikes tinted red, grey, green, yellow, and brown by the oxidized minerals composing them. 

Following our 4WD trip and a lunch of tamales, sandwiches, and liquid yogurt in ketchup pack-like plastic packets, we took a two-hour horseback ride into Devil´s Canyon.  Paul found himself on the most independent-minded horse of the pack and ended up leading us all into fast trots and canters–Paul´s first time going any faster than a walk!  I was having almost as much trouble staying on as Paul, though, as the saddles were narrow and tippy, so when Pancho, my mount, decided to trot faster and faster rather than canter, I felt like I was bouncing all over the place!  All turned out well though and the ride was absolutely exhilarating.

Tomorrow we´ll have a more relaxing day, perhaps taking a hike or two in the morning before packing up for our train ride to Uyuni.  Both of us are very happy to not have to ride a bus on the one-lane dirt roads that lead to and from Tupiza again–we were terrified on the overnight ride in (yes, Mom, even I was scared out of my mind!).  Imagine looking out a bus window and seeing nothing but blackness:  no shoulder, no guard rail, nothing except the switchback of the road thousands of feet below.

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