Photos

Photographer's Note

La Payunia is the name given to a region of amazing volcanic wasteland around two extinct volcanos - Payun Matru and Payun Liceu (don't ask me what the names mean - at my school we had a choice of French or German and Mapuche wasn't an option).

The ground is all covered in this black and red volcanic gravel with nothing growing except for clumps of yellow grass - a really extra-terrestrial looking landscape at times - I've seen very little like it except maybe some places in Iceland and its pretty unique in Argentina. The place is very remote - many miles from the nearest town along a dirt track which is possibly the worst road in Mendoza! That's probably why the place seems little known - even the people in the provincial tourist office in Mendoza capital didn't seem to know about it. But if you find yourself in the vicinity it makes a great trip from Malargue. I went with a tour guide called Santiago who was from a Galician family that had settled in the area at the start of last century - he's shown everyone from National Geographic to Jacques Cousteau around the place and also helped one of Argentina's top documentary series do a piece on it though ten years later they haven't got round to mailing him the cheque... Some quite interesting wildlife in the vicinity too - guanacos, rheas, a big lake full of flamingos down the road.

Incidentally I don't know if anyone's ever noticed but volcanic rocks make a really weird ringing sound if you kick them - give it a try next time you're near a volcano!

Unfortunately when you are travelling and reliant on tours you often don't arrive in the best conditions - so we got there about midday which is never the best time for landscape shots but I figured I'd post it anyhow since it was such an unusual place. I fiddled with a little in Photoshop elements to remove the blue cast that Provia has and to crop it a little and boost saturation a little bit to make it more Velvia-like.

ruffin, milloup, capa, levanten, mimi, Roly, kikvel, mortijo, guyfortier, chicken, sssimon has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 4112
Points: 24
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by Matt Jackson (ReynardTheFox) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 85 W: 8 N: 28] (260)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH