To more than four thousand meters high, the vicuñas reservation and flamenco Brave Lagoon is a paradise semioculto in the high of the mountain range riojana.
In the heights of the mountain range riojana, a surrounded lagoon blue sapphire of salt duplicates the invested silhouettes of a hundred of rosy flamingos.
The birds that officiate of guardians of the silence, remain indifferent to the advance of our vehicle through the print that skirts the lagoon.
In a snowed mark of summits and soft lomadas, an icy wind shakes without pause the scarce vegetation, composed by some molles and dry coirones of golden color. We advance without urgency for an arid atmosphere in end but very colorful, willing to dive in an illusion.
Brave lagoon is a Natural Reservation created in 1980 to preserve to the vicuñas communities and gumps that, as consequence of the stealthy hunt, they were on the edge of the disappearance. The reservation has an extension of four thousand fifty kilometers and it also embraces a smaller series of lagoons, formed in a temporary way as consequence of the thaw.
It is located to the west of the county, embracing part of the departments of Vinchina and Gral. Lamadrid, to four hundred fifty kilometers of the capital riojana.
The name of Brave Lagoon is due to that this is the biggest in the reservation, with a surface seventeen kilometers long for four of wide. Besides the vicuñas and gumps, in Brave Lagoon diverse species of ducks, chorlos, Moorish eagles, hawks, pumas and red foxes are also protected.
Our trip begins with the morning from the dreamy town of Vinchina . We cross the only street of the town, and when crossing the bridge on the Red river we end in the labyrinth of curved of the Gulch of The Troya. The road is of earth and it can traffic him with common cars traveling a hill seven kilometers long with enormous mountains of loamy stone to the sides.
As we ascend, the color of the sky and the mountains are more and more intense. Due to the height, the solar radiation crosses a portion smaller than the atmosphere and the transparency of the atmosphere allows to distinguish each brushstroke of the landscape riojano.
After a curve, on the hillside of the mountain the perfect form of The Pyramid appears. It is a strange formation sculpted by the rain and the wind, without apparent explanation.
The road drives us now until High Jagüel, the last town that is crossed before entering to the immensity of the mountain range. There the main street - that becomes in a true river for the water of the thaw in summer -, it is between two a deep print ravines of earth of a meter and half high, on those that settles a great village. The houses are of adobe with small doors and tightly closed wooden windows. At the end of the street, the wind whirls some dry branches to the foot of an old adobe chapel without roof that seems about to collapse.
It is the hour of the nap, and like it seems a town ghost you don't leave a single human silhouette neither it is heard at least the song of the birds.
We stop the van front of the municipal office of High Jagüel in search of the guardafauna of the reservation who will accompany us in this voyage.
It is one of the four baqueanos that, for the knowledge that have of the area, they complete guide's work and they register the entrance of tourists to the reservation. Starting from there the road Domingo continues for the Sacred Gulch, through soft lomadas that are recovered of a blue, green velvet, violet, brown and orange, due to the minerals of the floor.
Each point, on the hillsides desérticas, the graceful career of the gumps and vicuñas interrupts the still of the stones of the heights.