Esquel is south of El Bolson and the Lakes District, still at the edge of the Andes.
It's a hub for Chubut Province business and tourism, so seemed a bit more worldly than other neighboring towns we passed through. Dave got real excited when he heard there was a huge rock out east of town in the middle of the pampa. There were no buses that went there, but he found a guide with a car....After two hours of driving on a bone racking gravel road across a very barren, flat, gravel plane of nothingness, here is what we found:
so, this is the place called Piedra Parada; literally, rock stop. it's maybe 200 ft. through and 500ft. tall. Apparently, it was a cooled hunk of lava that suddenly burst through due to internal pressure and a weakening of the surrounding rock. so, instead of rock stop, maybe rock plug is closer. This was kind of impressive, but only shrunk in comparison to the next batch o' geology.
We got to hike and marvel in Canyon de las Biutreras, about a mile from the rock.
that's probably me, part way up one of the narrow draws. all of these strong and sudden formations bespeak geology at it's most unbelievable suddenness. it seems as if all of this exploded from the center of the earth at once. cultural history made it a perfect weather and game trapping spot for the original Indians.
this particularly large protected opening has been the site of ongoing archaeological digs. lots of bone tools and flutes, plus remnants of basket weaving and cured hide clothing and shelters.
took a hundred or more photos, will go back here again some day for a thousand more.
although this is a federal protection zone," no cussin', no spittin', no campin,'" there are two areas where rock climbing enthusiasts are allowed. the little tiny white dot in the lower quarter of the center photo is of a guy, very slowly moving up. click on the photo to see him bigger..
and here we are, feeling very small.