Manzano

Please allow me some nostalgic feelings today. If I show you the pictures I was browsing through, you’ll immediately realize why:

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It is nostalgia for that fabulous day on the steep mountain road heading out of el Manzano up to the slopes of the dry Argentinian Andes, and it was fieldwork with such stunning views that they will forever remain in my memories.

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Scouting for plants on the slopes of the Andes around Mendoza, Argentina

It was our one but last fieldwork day in South America, beginning of February, and we were determined to get the most out of it. In the morning, it was up, up, up to the top of the road, thanks to the skilled mountain road driving of Agustina, one of our amazing hosts in Mendoza.

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Travellers on horseback on their way down from the Chilean border

The road took us to the rocky world at close to 4000 meters above sea level. Only a bit higher, the road eventually stopped dead, limiting travel over the pass to the Chilean border to  sure-fooded horses only.

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Amazing succulent Viola (was it ‘atropurpurea’?) in the high Andes. Not the best season to see them, but you can still see remnants of the cute circle of Viola flowers surrounding the rosette

This rocky high-elevation environment not only brought stunning views, yet also some of the most intriguing plant species I have ever seen. Oh, alpine vegetation is stunning everywhere, but the high Andes in Mendoza has some wonders that you would have to see for yourself to share my excitement.

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Fluffy grass waving its little horsetail-like flowers in the wind

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The spiky branches of Mulinum spinosum

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Large cushion plants of Adesmia subterranea scattered the rocky slopes

One could never get enough of this stunning environment, I promise you. We worked our way down along the road back to the valley, studying the impact of the road on the alpine vegetation all along the way.

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Road building uprooted a centuries-old cushion plant

Another of the roads from our global MIREN-network that I could now add to the list of study areas I visited. Another unique environment so different from the other mountain roads I have seen all over the world. Yet interestingly, many of the road effects are comparable in all of them, a fact that hits home a lot harder when you see all these unique places in real life.

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When evening came, after a long day of sampling, the light deepened and the shadows of the mountains lenghtened. Another beautiful summer evening arrived, and wildlife slowly emerged.

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A curious fox circled around our fieldsite for a while

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The wonderful ‘torrent duck’, playfully rafting in the strong currents of mountain streams

Better times to remember on this ‘Throwback Thursday’ might be hard to find. And all of that thanks to the fantastic scientists from the MIREN Mendoza-team, without whom nothing like this would have been possible!

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Our fieldwork team in the evening sun, after an unforgettable fieldwork day

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The footlands of the Andes, flat as a biljart table, just after sunset

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1 Response to Manzano

  1. I really enjoyed the tour.

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