We went on an amusing hiking tour around Potrero de los Funes. Among ravines, creeks and cascades, we did not take long to make contact with the peace of the mountain range.
In the last few years, the district of Potrero de los Funes, close to the capital of the Province of San Luis, has gained remarkable importance as far as tourism is concerned. Its benign weather, the various hotels and gastronomic options and especially the environment where it is nestled make it the destination chosen not only by the dwellers of San Luis but also by hundreds of travelers that wander about the area. We resolved to visit this beautiful valley surrounded by mountain ranges and see some of the natural nooks that have led Potrero de los Funes to be considered as an authentic tourist village.
In order to comply with our plans in a responsible way, we decided to make contact with the people from Pilpintus, who offer guided tours around the area. They have wisely developed various activities around the district which include hiking, mountain biking, horseback rides and, for the most intrepid, rock climbing or rapelling.
In Search for the Treasure
The peace of the mountain range
The environment where it is nestled
All in perfect harmony
This time, we chose to go hiking to the Moneda Falls, a beautiful cascade that promised to sing us a lullaby and refresh us at the same time. We had read about this place before reaching Potrero. Therefore, we thought it would be interesting to see it.
The weather conditions were splendid. Susana -our guide- would escort us to the very core of the mountain range. Leaving from the town center, we crossed the ford along which the Potrero River runs and our adventure began at the trail that led us upstream.
Susana, who is an expert in the region, told us about the main characteristics of the place. Potrero de los Funes was named after the family that resided there many years ago when it was still considered a spot. The friendly chat about the local flora and fauna made us forget that we were gaining height.
Soon, we began to appreciate ravines, creeks and trees. Slowly but steadily, we began to get mingled with the local vegetable species and the sound of nature. We soon reached the top of a hill where we could appreciate the magnificent panoramic sight of the Potrero de los Funes reservoir, with the central mountain range in the background. The water body is located 1,000 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains that reach 2,000 meters of height, thus forming a valley of singular beauty. The artificial lake seems to join the various shades of green in a harmonious fashion, as they all converge in its waters.
The guide explained to us that the reservoir can hold 9 cubic hectometers and that the total surface of the valley occupies 360 hectares. It was the first dam to be built in the country back in 1876, surrounded by mountains and the paved road that crosses the impressive Cóndores Ravine, where rapelling may be enjoyed.
From that point, we got one of the most astonishing views of the circuit and we knew that the effort had been worthwhile. We went on hiking along the trail following our guide. We waded a river and continued walking across dales and ravines of unique beauty. A condor was hovering above us as if saying hello. Suddenly, an intense roar took hold of the surroundings. We were close to the Moneda Falls. That was our destination. As we got closer, the sound, as well as our expectations, became greater and greater.
The Wishing Well
The 12-meter-high waterfall seemed to collapse in slow motion. With a deafening noise, the crystal clear cascade would go down into a 5-meter-deep pool giving origin to soft white foam that finally disappeared. All this, amidst an extraordinary landscape framed by ferns and other plants hanging from the slope where the Moneda Falls started.
Our guide explained the reason why the fall was given such a name: the rocks located at the bottom of the pool are rich in mica, when lighted by the sunbeams that percolate through the water, these rocks give the impression that the place is teeming with silver coins.
As we watched the treasure nature was giving us in astonishment, a strange feeling took hold of us. For a moment, I felt how insignificant we are in front of this kind of natural manifestations in which everything plots so that this spot lost in the mountain range is perfect and unique.
Marcelo Sola Marcelo Sola
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