We started the day with a stop in the town of Vallenar (S0102), on a field next to some building development work. If the form of Copiapoa coquimbana from this area is C. vallenarensis, then surely these plants, growing well within the town boundary, deserve this name. They may no longer be there as clearly, the field would be the next target for the developers.*
Km. 647 along Ruta 5 was our next stop (S0103), again with (taller) Copiapoa coquimbana, Cumulopuntia sphaerica, Miqueliopuntia miquelii and some Echinopsis (Trichocereus) chiloensis.
With one more day to go, our mood had changed. Mentally, I’m sure we were all preparing for our home coming and a return to regular daily routines. We were running very low on film, so the urge to stay long at stops to take more pictures had gone. This ‘end of trip’ depression is also reflected in my notes, which are limited to only a stop number and GPS coordinates recorded for:
S0104 off Ruta 5 (The Pan Americana)
S0105 Quebrada Choros Altos
S0106 Quebrada Choros Altos, Chugungoe in 2006
* We returned here in 2006 and found that the local council had made an attempt to rescue these plants and had replanted them in a gentle sloping hillside. Some had survived, some had not. The building development had become established as a school. Let’s hope that looking after their local nature will be part of the school curriculum.