Quebrada (Gorge) de Humahuaca

Based on another traveler’s recommendation, we set off to visit the Gorge, without much information. We only knew that it was just a 25 km gravel road drive from the town of Humahuaca. What we didn’t know was that we also would climb more than 2000m in altitude to arrive at the gate of this World Heritage site at an elevation of 4350m – a world away.

The friendly gatekeeper was in charge of collecting the entrance fee as well as the little extra for his children. His waterfall of badly articulated Spanish was totally incomprehensible to us beginners but somehow made the point (his two children going to school needing supplies).

Another 1km and we arrive at the mirador showing off spectacularly colorful layers of rock representing the different geological periods. Stunning.

Sign at park entrance

Apparently each color signifies a different epoch – a whitish layer from 400 million and a purple one from 80 million years… and a few more.

Facing this great wonder of nature we felt our human life is less than a speck. Insignificant. These mountains existed long before us and will continue to do so long after us…

We walked down the short path and sat silently for a while admiring the view. Walking back the 50m of elevation to the car park was no easy task. At more than 4300m of altitude, the air was thin, our hearts pounding, our head aching. We overestimated ourselves once more. A small sign from Mother Nature…

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