Well THAT’S Not Something You See Every Day. Not In Illinois, Anyway. Unless Maybe You Work At The Zoo
Yesterday (Sunday) we were invited by our friends Katharina (Cecile’s colleague) and Claudio on an afternoon outing to a park outside of the city in the mountains (outside the city IS in the mountains unless you go along the coast … or into the ocean). Cecile had to work all day to prepare for her workshops this week in La Serena (more on that later this week), which turned out to be ok as there wouldn’t have been room in the car for all of us. So after lunch (remember, that’s around 1:30 for us, because we eat early) Joel & I headed down to the corner to catch a micro (bus) up to their place.
Or Peñuelas, for short. It’s a reservoir built by the state that Claudio says is now partially privatized so you have to pay some to get in. There are two entrances, one if you want to go down to the lake and another to go hiking. We were a little later in the afternoon, so we decided to take the hiking trail. It’s an interesting landscape, kind of savannah-like with widely separated larger plants and gullies from the rains. And rabbit burrow, lots and lots of rabbit burrows along with the little pellets that rabbits leave behind. And they rabbits don’t seem to care if they leave them on the trail or not. Hmph.
But more exciting was the possibility of seeing llamas. Not a strong possibility, but a possibility nonetheless. If nothing else it was nice to get out of the city, into the cool, fresh mountain air and enjoy a hike with friends.
And then we saw the llama.
Joel had been excited because he saw a rabbit hopping away as we entered the trail, but that was quickly forgotten. As you can see, it posed very nicely before walking away from us. After another bend in the trail we saw it again and I took some less good pictures. And then it was tired of being stared at and we didn’t see it again.
But the rest of the walk, about an hour loop trail, was very nice. They have informational plaques set up along the way, describing the native flora and fauna you can see there. What I found interesting was that there were two types of flora that were burned throughout the walk. Katharina didn’t think it was the result of controlled burns to remove non-native vegetation, but I’m not so sure. Every one of these was burned (at least as far as I saw) and nothing else was. Granted the plants are fairly widespread, but I still wonder.
Also saw several different types of bird, at least one I’m pretty sure was a partridge-type. It had just gotten sunny when we started but was slightly cloudy as we walked, making the lighting very difficult, so sorry the bird pictures aren’t better. But hey, I gave you a llama, so stop complaining!
All in all it was a very nice afternoon, good company, good to get out of the hustle and bustle (i.e. noise and smell) of the city and walk for awhile.
More pictures, just for you. Remember to click for a larger view. Wow, another unintentional rhyme, I’m getting so poetic in my old age.