Friday, May 16, 2014

On the Wings of a Condor

Hey all,

I hope you've had a great week since we were last together.  Ours has been busy, and we've enjoyed it thoroughly.  But this last Tuesday we did something even more amazing than usual.  And we were able to check a major "to do" off our bucket list.

Jonathon and I went hiking and saw the beautiful, amazing, wild Andean Condor in it's natural habitat.


We'd heard about this park where the majestic birds and their nests were protected, so knowing this may be the only chance to see one, we headed out early to the Quebrada del Condorito National Park.

We hiked in, which took several hours.  The park is huge, and quite beautiful in a wild and empty way.

The first condor we saw was right by the road, just sitting there on a rock.  It was a male, as you can see from the picture above.  And they are HUGE.  He didn't have his wings spread, but he didn't need to...he was already big.

He was beautiful.  And we were delighted.  If we never saw another bird--especially one flying--we could at least say we'd seen a condor.  But, we didn't have to use our first bird for our bucket list check off.  Oh, no.  We did MUCH better than that.

The hike to the gorge where the condors nest took us about three hours, but we could have walked even longer, the scenery was so beautiful.  Barren at times, rocky at others, while not our favorite landscape, it was beautiful, quiet and serene.  Here are some pics...

Beautiful, right?  And that was just the walk in.  Once we got to the gorge, it was even better.  It the name states...a gorge.  High and narrow, with a pretty little waterfall on one side and an opening to the valley on the other.  There were crags and crevices, sheer rock walls and huge boulders all along the floor of the gorge.  Lovely.

But of course the highlight of the area are the birds.  The Andean Condor.

Wow!  Amazing.  This bird's wingspan is ENORMOUS!!!!  You just don't understand it until you see it first hand as they soar over your head.  

We saw males and females...adults and juveniles of all ages.  At first we were disappointed, thinking they were all already roosting for the night, but we soon discovered they had a pattern they followed.  They'd rest for a while, then several would rise into the air to take to the wind.  More would follow until there were dozens soaring beautifully through the clear air.

We loved it.  We'd packed a lunch, so we sat on a rock and ate while we watched the birds fly in the gorge before us.  We got some great pictures and videos, and I loved the peace and serenity of the place.  See what I mean?

And of course, some pictures of the birds themselves.  These are just a few of what we managed to get while we were there.

I would love to go back a second time. 

And the trip back to the car was just as lovely.  A misty fog was coming in and wisping over the mountain and pampas grass.  It was like wandering through a scene in a syfy movie.  We kept wondering what type of creature would loom out of the fog and attack us!  LOL  Here's a few pictures of the return journey.

I love new adventures and adore checking off my bucket list.  And seeing the Andean Condor fly in it's natural habitat was a huge wish of mine.  I hope these few pics can give you a little taste of what we were so privileged to see.

Until next time...

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

CJ, totally awesome! Like you said, very beautiful but in a desolate kinda way. Reminds me of the Mesa Verde area. Takes a special kind of person to live in those areas and it is not me! lol Thanks for sharing the pictures!

CJ England said...

I agree, Phylis. I'm not an open plains kind of gal, but it was an experience to wander through it. It's a case of love to visit, but don't want to live there. LOL

Ray said...

I can imagine how it feels out there. It is breathtaking even in two dimensions enlarged on the screen. I remember driving through the Rocky's seeing the clouds below the road. Absolutely out of this world.

CJ England said...

Ray, you know that old adage about feeling small once you actually see what's out there. Really felt it in this park.

The Rocky's are one of my favorite set of mountains. Would love to live there.