Early morning rise and shine and catch a bus up to the Chilean Altiplano at 6:30am! Wahoo!
Sunrise as we walked out onto the massive salt flats of San Pedro de Atacama (3rd biggest salt flat in the world: 1. Bolivia – Salar de Uyuni, 2. Great Salt Lake, Utah). Regardless of size, this salt flat immediately deems itself AWESOME because it is home to 3 out of the 5 species of flamingos. That means, FLAMINGOS!
Watching the flamingos fly triggered the image of a flying trumpet fish (different colors of course: orange/pink/white/black versus golden yellow) and when they put their landing gear down they truly became the Walking Stick Running Man. Learned more about flamingos and how cool they are from our pirate-esque guide, Oswald. Apparently, every winter the flamingos migrate down to Patagonia because they prefer a wet winter there as opposed to a super cold and dry winter in San Pedro de Atacama.
On our ascent up to the Altiplano, our driver pulled over in a little town and our guide prompted us:
“We’re gaining altitude quickly, so hop out of the bus for 15 minutes and walk around really slowly to acclimate.”
…I didn’t realize that one could acclimate to our final destination of 12,000 feet by walking around for 15 minutes at 9,000 feet. Apparently, I haven’t done my research…riiight.
Arrived at the highland Altiplano lakes and walked around for a bit. Brisk air, plentiful sunshine combined with big snowcapped mountains, and cool icey blue lakes = Claire and Ingmar, STOKED!
Facing South East: