Argentina is a large country and Patagonia is the southern region of the country - sparsely populated and devoid of vehicular traffic; breaking down will be a great problem. La Pampa is one of the provinces of Argentina that will be traversed during the trip but “pampas” is a grassland biome not limited to this country that extends from the Atlantic to the Andes. It is mostly a flat and dry grassland and usually very windy. The wildlife is sparse but varied and the most common seen are the guanacos, rheas, foxes and armadillos. A few birds - mostly vultures, hawks and small seedeaters. Departed from Buenos Aires via Route 5 to Santa Rosa, changing to Route 154 and then to Route 251 towards San Antonio Oeste and then following Route 3 to Routes 2 and 47 and arriving at Punta Delgada in the Peninsula de Valdez, the first stop. All the photos in this blog were taken with an iPhone with images further processed in Photoshop.
The park is famous because this is the place where the orcas attack the sea lions resting on the beaches. This is my third visit to this park but never witnessed the actual attack, but this time it was close; arrived 30 minutes late after an attack took place. The orcas were still in the area and they will swim parallel to the shore looking for more prey but no more attacks occurred. The Magellanic penguins nest here and the beach areas are the breeding grounds for the sea lions. There are also foxes, armadillos and maras; the latter ones I had seen before but this time was able to photograph them for the first time (there will be a follow-up blog with photos taken with my regular camera that will show more details of the orcas hunting and the maras).
It appears that the artists were mostly right handed since they used it to hold the spraying pipes so what is stenciled are mostly left hands of various sizes depending of the age and sex of the owners. There is a hand with six fingers; can you find it? In addition there are hunting scenes of guanaco hunting using bolas as well as images birds, insects and lizards
The image below was converted to B&W to facilitate details. The arrows in red point to the footprints of rheas which I am sure earlier were the eaten by the artists. The green arrow points to a figure that could have a shaman and at its feet one can see a rope with a ball at the end that could be a bola. And the blue arrow points to a six fingered hand--check yours --was it you? Notice the hands prints are superimposed, smaller and more numerous closer to the ground, assume that this was the work of the children.
In closing this was a long trip but among my most rewarding and dreaming of a prompt return to the Route 40. I have to start working in the digital SLR version of the trip; stay tuned.