Moon Valley in the Atacama Desert is a fine example of just how stunning Mother Nature is. From the moment we started walking through this textured landscape, I felt as though I had left Earth.
Following our guide, my anticipation heightened in the abundant sun and seemingly endless powerful blue sky. We were embarking on a journey to embrace an environment that is now protected to ensure its natural state. Apart from the designated trail, the ground rests untouched from human interruption.
As we weave through this desert valley, I wouldn’t believe such a place real, if I wasn’t here absorbing it. It is sensual overload.
We start to ascend, winding steadily up until we reach the base of one of these great ridges. Like an exposed spine, the bones have crumbled from the relentless dryness and despite a solid facade, Moon Valley is delicate. I tread carefully, the height, the exposure, the anxiety is kicking in. There’s such a drop on either side, but with such beauty I continue up.
Si holds my hand as I slowly make my way to the peak of the curvature. With a wider surface area, I feel in a position to embrace my surroundings. I didn’t just see – all senses were connected to reveal pure joy.
The burnt orange ridges rose like waves and the definition between shadow and sun created an intensity of unworldly proportions.
The rough juxtaposed with smoothness so pure that it seemed impossible. A fine-sand mound with such purity stretched out and connected to rock. Untainted and so inviting, it begged to be run across, but to do so would taint it, therefore it was forbidden. I’m glad. Everyone deserves to see this incredible sight in its natural state.
To further intensify this already incredible place is the Andes. Being here in July, we were fortunate to see them covered in snow at the same time as being in a hot desert. We stood watching these wise snow-capped mountains and knew that they were watching us back.
After a couple of hours exploration, we went to a different part of Moon Valley to watch the sun set. High above the valley, yet so far down from the Andes peaks, we watched the shadow race across the land. The sand and rock shone a fiery red before the shadow spread across the valley and up to the highest peak, where it bade us all good night.
I will never tire of seeing the sunset.
When the sun rays go, the temperature always drops dramatically in a short space of time and by dark it’s always near freezing. It still amazes me to feel the temperature change instantaneously. There really is no place like the desert and there is no place like Moon Valley.