Wednesday, 20 October, 2010 – Campo Quijano to San Antonio de Los Cobres
We enjoyed a nice and relaxed breakfast but then found that Angie & I were locked out of our room. The lock was broken, Never mind, a lock smith was called but about 30 minutes later had still not arrived. He arrived eventually on a little moped from a near by village and the problem was fixed in seconds.
It seemed a good idea to fuel up before we attempted the Quebrada del Toro. However, there was no fuel to be had in Campo Quijano, so we followed the locksmith to his village where eventually gas & diesel were found.
The main difference between today’s ascend and the one in in 2008 is that the lower 20 km of the road now follows the (dryish) river bed while road work crews are preparing the main road and taking down the rock faces where in the past we had found Rebutias.
Stops made tended to follow the 2008 stop list – not because we have lost our sense of adventure but because we were trying to fit so much into these three short weeks (I was amazed to look back and see what we had done already), so that it was best to drive straight to known places rather than explore for different sites. Stops for today were:
S1936 with Rebutia minuscula the main plant of interest. Synonyms include R. marsoneri and R. wessneriana.
S1937 with some scenic Echinopsis (Trichocereus) terscheckii
S1938 was at a dense stand of E. terscheckii where holes in the soil indicated that folk had been digging for Gymnocalycium spegazzini near the road. A bit farther from the road there were still plenty of plants. There were also a number of Cleistocactus hylacanthus (syn. C. jujuyensis) with red flowers.
S1939 was a few hundred meters before the Ing. Maury police control. As we went higher and higher E. terschecki gave way to E. atacamensis ssp pasacana but we had difficulty to spot the exact point and suspect that there were some intermediates for quite some distance before only ‘the true’ E. pasacana persisted
S1940 was for more scenery with E. pasacana
At S1941 we had to decide what to point our cameras at first E. pasacana, G. spegazzini or Eriosyce umadeave. My 74 images suggest that I did all three.
Now the search was on for a spot that Cliff had christened his ‘field of dreams’ in 2008 – another population of E. umadeave. S1942 was not it. The main attraction had been a crested E. pasacana spotted from the road.
S1943 was not it either, but gave a very similar crop of E. umadeave with as high light for me, a five headed plant with nearby a clump that put most Copiapoa across the border to shame – E. umadeave with some 40 heads! Cliff was more than happy that we had found another ‘field of dreams’.