Trip Start Jan 23, 2008
54Trip End May 23, 2008
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The bus ride was well worth doing in daylight. The raod follows the Santa River from the coast, where it is a wide fertile valley, to deep canyons less than 100 feet wide. Even Bill the Fearless said WHOA a few times.
Fortunately, the scenery provided ample distraction. While the area is incredibly arid, the valley is utterly transformed by irrigation into lush fields. However, as the valley narrowed, settlements dwindled to an occasional family eeking out a living on a bend in the river, a vicarious position between the turbulent water and towering scree slopes above. Further still, we saw a couple mining and hydroelectric projects, and the small settlements that eek a living off such operations. It seemed like a lonely dusty existence in the windy rockscape.
But SUCH a rockscape. The geology was simply stunning in form and color.
As the canyon narrowed, so did the road. Despite the dizzying height and narrow passages in the upper reaches of the canyon, it actualy felt safer as the road was cut directly into the solid mountain wall, including a grand total of 45 tunnels!
We were pretty stiff puppies when we got off the bus, but hope to shake out the kinks as we head out to explore even higher reaches of the watershed!