Fuerte Argentino Expedition
WITH THE HISTORICAL TRUCKS 4X4 and 6x6 - Las Grutas, Río Negro, Argentina
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It looks like an island when you look south of Las Grutas. It is the plateau of FUERTE ARGENTINO that with its 193 meters high and six kilometers wide invites to be discovered. It is located 50 kms south of Las Grutas, and is reached there on excursions organized by DESERT TRACKS every day of the summer with military trucks and, the rest of the year, on personalized trips with 4x4 vans. www.deserttracks.com.ar/fuerteargentino
This plateau was for 70 years a point of reference for the pulperos who, during low tide, collected from the Loma Blanca Lagoon the smallest pulpit in the world: 15 centimeters in its adult state, eight tentacles and a gastronomic end for a craft that they still do as a family under the sun of very long days on the Rio Negro coast.
During days of good visibility, the plateau of FUERTE ARGENTINO can be seen from 30 miles from the sea. It has probably also served as a reference for sailors seeking refuge in the calm waters of the San Matías Gulf.
Recent archeological findings of elements linked to the KnightTemplars and references in ancient books generated that different groups, institutions and explorers "raked" the area in search of the Holy Grail and the treasure of THE KNIGHTTEMPLARS valued at more than 300 billion dollars. The treasure disappeared from Europe with the falling KnightTemplar order in 1307 and was never discovered again.
Apparently, the plateau of the FUERTE ARGENTINO would have served as an observation post to control the maritime movement of the Golfo San Matías, as a geographical reference for sailors and as a starting point for the expedition that allowed KnightTemplars to deposit part of their treasures in Southern Patagonia.
The history and its mythical trip to Patagonia can be known in detail thanks to the EXPEDITION organized by DESERT TRACKS in 4x4 trucks and you will be ready to enjoy a great Patagonian roast / lamb included, on the beach!
From Las Grutas, DESERT TRACKS excursions are available every day to visit the FUERTE ARGENTINO. The plateau is located 50 kms to the south of LAS GRUTAS and is reached by the "Camino de los Pulperos" which is a gravel road bordering the coast. To the south of LAS GRUTAS is the Villa de los Pulperos; then the Piedras Coloradas Beach, El Buque and 17 kms from El Sótano. There, the road is cut and only 4x4 vehicles authorized to circumvent the beach and pass in front of the cliffs formed 20 million years ago whose canyons serve as a refuge for marine fossils protected by law can access in excursions.
Five kms to the south, the track that partly separates from the coast is taken up again and the route borders fields badly delimited by fences that resist the onslaught of the winds, some depressions and saltpeter, and a couple of ranches that raise sheep.
The high tides interrupt the passage in EL SOTANO and for that reason it is necessary to know how to organize very well the outward and the return that can delay the trip up to four hours more than planned.
The whole coast has a shrub vegetation that does not exceed two meters. There are no trees. We have the same vegetation as the Valdés Peninsula. The characteristic plant is the Jarilla (Larrea divaricata) and although Argentina is divided into 24 provinces in geopolitical terms (Buenos Aires, Jujuy, Río Negro, etc.) the researcher and professor Cabrera subdivided Argentina in 1971 into 13 phytogeographic provinces, grouping this region in what in botanical terms is known as "Monte Phytogeographic Province".
Important territories of Rio Negro, Chubut, south of the province of Buenos Aires, east of Neuquén, Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis, Córdoba and a small part of Salta have the same vegetation as Las Grutas.
There are 99 species of shrubs. The Tehuelche Indians, and later the Mapuches who learned from them, used this vegetation for popular medicine. The field was a real pharmacy. For example, the Melosa Patagónica is anti-febrile, anti-rheumatic and refreshing; the milky juice exuding from its chapters serves to control warts! The Piquillín serves as a laxative and the Thyme to flavor red meats. There are also anti-flu, anti-diarrhea, diuretics, asthma and dozens of other conditions that are healed with these shrubs.
DESERT TRACKS edited an ideal BOTANICAL GUIDE to explore the environment. It is available online.
Along the way and in the FUERTE ARGENTINO can be observed occasionally guanacos (patagonian camels), foxes and reptils; shorebirds, also flamingos, condors and cardinals; in the lagoon of Loma Blanca fish such as mullets, fishing grouper and roosterfish; observe sea lions, dolphins and whales are very common during the spring time to the beginning of the summer.