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Unread 3 Mar 19, 12:13 PM  
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Melbatb
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Argentina: Summer In Winter - Spring 2019: Day 8 - Petrified Forest


I woke up at about 6.30 am and O about 40 minutes later. We were due to be picked up at 9am so were in no rush!

We headed to breakfast to find Juan in a panic as he had overslept! We told him not to worry as we had plenty of time!

I felt a bit guilty then asking for scrambled eggs - especially as everyone else that came in did too! O and I figured that we may need energy for the day!



Today we were off about 110km to see a petrified forest! That was about as much as I had told O - who had envisaged a walk through a spooky wood! Needless to say there wasn't a tree in sight! I chose the excursion as something a bit different and it was actually very good!



We were the last to be picked up in a mini van. Our guide was Rosie and there were 5 other people on the trip. Two were American and the other three were Dutch. All were over 65 (we only knew this as all complained they couldn't do the ice trek as they were over the age limit of 65 ! )

As English was the common language this made things easier for Rosie as she only had to do one set of explanations. On our way to the first stop (a hotel for coffee and the last loo stop) Rosie explained the history of the area and the dinosaurs that had been found there (well the remains of them...)



At the hotel I had a coffee, O had a brownie and we both had the vital loo stop! We also chatted to our fellow travellers.



We then had a 15km drive down a bumpy unpaved road to a private farm where dinosaur bones and petrified trees had been found over the last 30 years. The own allows the one tour company to access it.

After 30 minutes we arrived. We were lent a walking stick and given our packed lunches (unfortunately our vegetarianism had not filtered through)!

And then we were off on our hike.



Rosie explained over the course of the hike that 90 million years ago dinosaurs roamed the area. The area was layers of clay and sand rock which you could see in the formations. As time evolved the land changed and made it what we see today. The land is now barren and little grows there due to both the soil conditions and the climate.

Her explanation was a lot more detailed!



The sun started to come through which made for a nicer experience. We also learnt a new Americanism - a bio break (also known as a wee stop )

The landscape was amazing (yes- that word again) and totally different from what we had seen previously!



One of the first stops was a dinosaur fossil - of the femur. Paleontologists had found a wealth of fossils and bones. Most of them had been taken to the Natural History museum in the Santa Cruz state capital.

We learnt how to tell if it was bone or not - if you dampen your finger and then put it on the bone it will stick lightly. If there is no tackiness, it isn't a bone!



We then learnt about petrified trees. Basically, petrification is a chemical reaction that occurs very slowly with the minerals in the soil transform the structure of the wood into a very hard stone structure. The trees had been knocked over and covered by the soil and over millions of years the petrification had occurred.

It looked like wood still from the outside and you could still see the age tings but it was rock (sometimes with quartz innit depending on the chemical/mineral process). It was also very heavy.



Another example - the largest one we saw.



We also learnt about what little fauna and flora that grows there - including the calafate bush that produces berries similar to blueberries - and is made into a popular local jam!



We stopped for lunch - O had two pieces of cake while I had two spinach empanadas and an apple (O couldn't have the apple because of his braces! )

The setting for lunch was perfect - in the dun, out of the wind with nothing around us but the scenery.



After lunch we made our way slowly back to the minivan.



All in all, we had walked for about three hours.



We drove back along the dirt track, catching odd glimpses of wild ostriches and llamas.

Back on the main road, we stopped again at the Leona hotel for coffee and a loo visit!



I hadn't appreciated that we were about 2,700km from BA! We were more southerly than almost any other part of the world!



We drove alongside Lago Argentino. It really is that blue.



We got back about 4.30pm. A brief rest was had before we walked into town. I needed to change some more money which I managed to do so.

Most of the shops and restaurants were along the main road though there were alleyways off every now and again!



O was hungry so had a chocolate milkshake to tide him over.



After looking for somewhere to eat, we decided to go back to Morrison's.

I had two starters- minestrone soup to begin with.



And then a poached egg in a veggie stew. Both very delicious but I struggled to finish the egg dish.



O had a mushroom risotto which he declared delicious. He finished off with another banana split.

Total cost, including three soft drinks was about 28 euros.

We walked the two minutes back to the hotel. After a bit of social media we were ready yo sleep!


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Argentina - Summer in Winter
Unread 4 Mar 19, 02:07 AM  
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Unread 4 Mar 19, 09:39 AM  
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mick
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Another brilliant day and something so different

Joan
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Unread 5 Mar 19, 09:32 PM  
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DisneyDaffodil
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Amazing photos, what a spectacular sight. I didnt know much about a petrified forest until I read this, and then had Georgia (who is a Biology student and very interested in conservation and nature) explain more to me. She also said this looks a fascinating place to visit, you are inspiring my family to travel more (as if we need any more encouragement 😀 )

Love the look of Os milkshake too 😀
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Unread 6 Mar 19, 09:05 AM  
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WileyCoyote
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Completely fascinating! How different and now I am equipped to detect fossilised bones 🦴 with your handy tip ! Another day of long gaps between loo breaks . Eek. Must have been quite something having lunch in such a unique place.

Dinner was interesting. Egg in stew. Erm. Not sure about that.
You must have racked up some steps on this trip !
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Unread 6 Mar 19, 08:32 PM  
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CrispyA
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That forest looks really interesting - and very different from anywhere Ive been before. Glad there were not more coatis to steal your empanadas!
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Unread 6 Mar 19, 09:32 PM  
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Melbatb
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Originally Posted by mick View Post
Another brilliant day and something so different

Joan
I am so pleased we did the trip! It really was interesting.

Originally Posted by DisneyDaffodil View Post
Amazing photos, what a spectacular sight. I didnt know much about a petrified forest until I read this, and then had Georgia (who is a Biology student and very interested in conservation and nature) explain more to me. She also said this looks a fascinating place to visit, you are inspiring my family to travel more (as if we need any more encouragement 😀 )

Love the look of Os milkshake too 😀
I think Georgia would love Argentina. O said so much of what he has been studying in Biology/Geology was bought to life!

Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
Completely fascinating! How different and now I am equipped to detect fossilised bones 🦴 with your handy tip ! Another day of long gaps between loo breaks . Eek. Must have been quite something having lunch in such a unique place.

Dinner was interesting. Egg in stew. Erm. Not sure about that.
You must have racked up some steps on this trip !
We walked about 130km over the trip Everyone else went for bio breaks but I managed to avoid it (find crouching down a bit hit and miss )

Originally Posted by CrispyA View Post
That forest looks really interesting - and very different from anywhere Ive been before. Glad there were not more coatis to steal your empanadas!
It really was worth the trip - and a great contrast to the glacier!
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Unread 13 Mar 19, 09:52 PM  
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Jake71
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A totally interesting day. I'm so enjoying your report, as always.
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