This evening I think I finally arrived in the proper Atacama Desert. Where the Atacama starts and ends seems to depend on who you talk to or which website you visit. But tonight I am about 3km into a flat desert that stretches away into the distance and I am sure a lot further beyond. Unlike your traditional desert of yellow sand this one seems to be more like reddish grey gravel.
Getting here has been tough. Over the last three days I have covered about 185km and not much of that has been flat. This morning I woke at 360m and then spent over two hours running 15km uphill. If that sound like a long time go grab a shopping troller, fill it up with groceries and try pushing it up a hill…. The good thing about being in the middle of nowhere is that you can sing at the top of your voice. Today Cat Stevens featured alot!!!
When I got to the top I found a small restaurant and enjoyed a chunk of moldy bread and a thin sliver of grey meat. I set off across about 15km of beautiful yellow desert and then had to dive down a gorge and then back up the other side. At the top I met some bikers who had heard about me way back on their trip and had stayed at some of the same peoples houses.
I continued on another 10km to another gorge and dipped down and up again. A little further and I was at the edge of the wide expand of desert I am sleeping on at the moment.
My father had done some research and informed me of a small restaurant and that is where I am at the moment. Tomorrow at breakfast I am going to ask when the last time they had rain. I can tell you trying to get tent pegs in was a trial…
Tomorrow I have a 50km run to Huara through the Reserva National Pampa de Tamarugal.