South American Adventure travel blog

The Desert Canyon We Hiked


A Petrified Dinosaur Femur

Petrified Logs. They Still Look Like Wood But They Are Stone and...


My description of Patagonia to this point has been one of glaciers, ice and penguins. A substantial area of the region, however, has a climate that is quite the opposite. This is especially true in Argentinian Patagonia.

Like all mountain chains, the Andes determine the weather. While enormous amounts of snow fall on the western, i.e. Chilean, side of the mountains in Patagonia, there is very little precipitation east of the Andes.

The area around El Calafate, Argentina is almost exclusively desert. There is, in fact, a very strange juxtaposition of ice and desert in Los Glaciares National Park because the massive ice wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier is only minutes from a parched landscape.

On my second full day in Argentina I decided to spend time in the desert, specifically in an area where petrified wood and dinosaur fossils can be found.

Interestingly, Americans have been visiting this region for much longer than I expected. On the way to our destination we stopped at a hotel in the middle of the desert in which Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid holed up in the early 1900’s after fleeing the law in the States.

We hiked for about three hours in an isolated desert canyon largely devoid of life. The area, however, is peppered with examples of petrified logs carried to the region by an ancient river. We also found several examples of petrified dinosaur bones.

It was all quite interesting and certainly a much different experience than that which I had on a “mountain” of ice just the day before.

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