After enjoying lagoons with three types of flamingoes, barren landscapes of the altiplano, rugged mountains, often topped with snow, volcanoes, and geysers, we are on our way north, skirting the border with Chile which sometimes is just a couple of kilometres to the west of us. The mountains on our left, the high Andean peaks that define the border with the neighbour country, are stunning here, and the driver turns right, and parks the car. Not for the mountains: we have arrived at the stone forest. Where we saw rock formations from a distance at the Salvador Dalí desert the day before, we now get up real close. We can walk around the big rocks, lie under them for impressive views and pictures, enjoying the rocks from every possible angle. Then, our guide invited me to climb, and in a few minutes, we are on the top of one formation.
The views from here are different. People walking around below are dwarfed by the much bigger rocks, which in turn are just little dots in an impressive barren landscape that in several respects reminds me of a desert. To the west, the high-altitude mountain peaks of the Andes, to the east, slightly lower mountains jutting out from the landscape. On other rocks, more visitors. I get the urge of climbing all rocks, so I make my way down, and start climbing the next one. Some rise sharply from the sand below, but there is always a way up. The tops are flat, so once you reach it, you are free to walk around and enjoy the views from all sides of the rock. There are openings in the rocks, peepholes through which you can see the landscape behind. There are plenty of spots for pictures, and for posing.
We are happy to be able to freely explore the rocks of this stone forest, where we were not allowed to come close to what looked like similar rocks in the Salvador Dalí desert. Apart from enjoying the views from below and above, it is great to get some exercise by climbing up the rocks and be active. While most rocks are big and sturdy, these formations are shaped by erosion, and continue to be shaped. All those holes, openings, flat surfaces, and other shapes are all sculpted by the patient artist called wind. The most impressive example of this process if the Arbol de Piedra, or Stone Tree, which looks fragile, and cannot be climbed. It is smaller than the others, has a sharp side. The wind will continue to eat away and eventually topple this one, but for the time being, it is the most remarkable of all rocks in this stone forest.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Eduardo Avaroa stone forest (Bolivia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Eduardo Avaroa stone forest. Read more about this site.