Northern Neuquen.

January 2011.

We decide to get away from the touristic area and go to explore the northern Neuquen.

We make a stop at Chos Malal where we are finally able to withdraw money from an ATM, after one hour queueing.

It seems that banks have a problem of cash supply in the region!

Matthieu strives to send a few emails from an Internet cafe, but the connection is too bad.

We take the trail up the valley of the Rio Neuquen, with a feeling of being really alone.

The landscape is very barren, but many streams go down the mountain and irrigate grasslands, creating green spots in the middle of this desert.

We are alone on the track and there are no bridges to cross the streams.

A few Indians are living poorly in the valley.

We can see the first mud houses, and an old Indian lady explains that they hunt foxes to sell the skins.

The main activity of the region is raising goats.

We stop to see "bollitos", strange rock formations of volcanic origin.

With these lava rocks, we all feel like beeing very strong!

The trail winds through amazing scenery.

Arriving in the highlands, the view is splendid.

We are looking for geysers indicated on our map, but it lacks precision.

We ask our way to an old shepherd, but he and Charlotte do not seem to agree on the direction to follow!

We finally find the geysers in the bottom of a small valley.

The water comes out at boiling temperature, but it falls directly into the cold river.

We cannot swim and we're all a little bit disappointed.

We fall asleep with a magnificent view over the mountains lit by the sun.

Next day we find the perfect place. A small stream with water at around 36C.

We build a small dam and we bath all afternoon long.

So good.

But we still have to be cautious as the goats are not that easy in the area!

For once, the boys are in charge of the decoration of the Land Rover !

Although we planned to join the valley using another way, we find ourselves in front of a very large stream.

Matthieu hesitates, but as the engine is giving sign of weaknesses, we decide with sadness to go backward.

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