Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Into the forest

So . . . there we were in the Polylepis forest, one of the last strongholds of native vegetation in the country. The trees grow in cool, boggy areas, so we crawled down into what would have been a swamp if it wasn´t for tons of moss and sharp grass to make the ground solid.
It sort´ve makes one feel a part of the slightly creepy, but still delightfully strange part of the pre-Disney fairy tales. Legend even tells of Llagantes, or Incan treasure hidden in Polylepis lakes. But I´m pretty sure they only tell that story to white peeople . . .
The trees themselves are low, gnarled, and slow growing, which is why they were replaced by beech, pine, and eucalyptus for construction purposes. As, is, they make for perfect climbing, and the bark has the texture of layers and lyaers of half'burnt paper. The was all kinds of moss everywhere, and little snapdragons that looked like shoes )zapatitos.) I got my own shoe wet crossing the stream for optimal tree climbing, but there were dry socks  and still half the mountain waiting up at the road.

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