Southwest Circuit Day 2

Travel Route: Hedionda – Laguna Collpa – Polques Aguas Termales – Desiereto de Daly – Laguna Verde – Geiser Sol De Manana – Laguna Colorada

What is the essence of a Road Trip?

Road trips get me into a Zen rhythm; the sense of time goes out the window. The essence of a road trip is to move, not necessarily to arrive at a specific destination but just to drive. The philosopher Martin Buber said: “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” As I have often heard, beautiful paths cannot be discovered without getting lost first.

The traveling experience does not end with the return home but is played out repeatedly in the mind. Travel is more than just seeing sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent in my living ideas. It’s an education like no other, maybe the best. I learn the history and stories in each location and town, feel the ground, and capture the spirit. Then, it becomes part of my own story that I carry inside and goes with me always. What are we, humans, but storytellers?

Desierto de Daly

Salvador Dalí Desert is a barren valley characterized by landscapes resembling Salvador Dali’s surrealist paintings.

Laguna Colorada

A rare natural wonder near Chile’s border, a blood-red lagoon filled with hundreds of pink flamingos. It’s known as Laguna Colorada (Reddish in Spanish). Folklore suggests the water is the gods’ blood, though scientists seem to believe the color comes from the algae and rich minerals in the water. The spectacular setting of the deep crimson lake, hundreds of flamingos, the stark contrast of the clear blue sky, and the mountains attract photographers from all over the world. I must admit that Laguna Colorada is one of the few places that made me feel like I needed a heavy-duty camera with a closeup lens to capture the sharp details better.

Flamingos are drawn to the lake thanks to its abundant plankton supply, the tiny and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the water. Some animals are adapted to feed on plankton, especially by filtering the water. The flamingos are naturally white but look pink because the red algae stain their feathers.