Cliff Threadgold Photography


Piedra Clavada - Cueva de las Manos - Valle Lunar

posted on 2019-10-19 23:24:42 in Patagonia Preparation

Chile Chico. Is a small town on the southern shore of the Lago Genereal Carrera and is just 6km west of the border with Argentina. It is a very quiet town and serves as a good stop to visit if going to Argentina or wanting to visit The Valle Lunar. It is the main apple growing region in Chile And as we left town the morning the Apple trees were covered in blossom. While it is a nice little stop-over place relying on public transport to get out  - at least in the direction we want to go, is a nightmare as we found out today.

We made the most of today with a hike around a loop track  Piedra Clavada – Cueva de las Manos – Valle Lunar or the Piedra Clavada – Cave of the Hands – Lunar Valley.

We had to catch a 4×4 and travel along a gravel toad to the start of the track. Along the way I spotted my first Guanaco and our first glimpse of Argentina just across the  river.


We set off for our hike towards the mountains then a sharp took us into a valley with shear cliffs rising high out of the barren and desolate landscape. Here we were all alone the only noise we could hear was the wind blowing past our ears. The first place of interest we tested at was at a rock where there were some rock paintings of hands. called Piedra Clavada, a tall skinny rock rising from the earth like “Jacks beanstalk” tall and straight up. I have no idea of the height except to say it was very high!


From there we continued up the valley to a ridge called Portezuelo, as we approached the ridge a horse appeared and trotted around us in a wide berth while watching it pass I spotted another single Guanaco, a few minutes later a small herd trotted past us heading for higher ground obviously disturbed by our presence. The Guanaco is closely related to the lama and are found throughout South America and in abundance in Patagonia.


Cueva De Las Manos was the next port of call. Here there were more hand paintings in a cave, the ones here were very visible compared to those earlier on the trail. There was also an old picture of an animal with a long neck.


After the cave a short steep descent then back up again to the final destination on the loop. The lookout point for the Valle Lunar and yes it did live up to its name. The Lunar Valley has been caused by the force of the wind and has eroded its rocks leaving pointed ridges of colors, holes and steep cliffs. This is quite different landscape to anything else we have so far witnessed in Patagonia.


After the Lunar Landscape it was back to the pickup point down some very steep and slippery slopes I trod gingerly but still couldn’t prevent the occasional slide and scamper in the scree.
Another good day and well worth the visit, now all we have to do is get ourselves out of here!