We headed East where the hills turned to rocky, then bare brown grey mountains and the green-bottomed lush valleys between got bigger and bigger. Vineyards and various other fruit orchards adorned the valleys. This is where they grow the grapes that are made into the spirit Pisco which is used to make the sublimely refreshing but potentially dangerous Pisco Sour.
We camped a night at Pisco Elqui in one of these river valleys, in a vineyard surrounded by grapes laden with fruit. Absolutely bare mountains surrounded us but, where there’s water there’s the ability to grow things and here they go to great lengths, effort and cost to produce what must be crops with high returns. Hundreds and hundreds of acres of grape vines, most under shade-cloth cover the valley floors and reach up into the smaller valleys that run into them. The contrast of lush green and bare sun dried mountains is pretty stunning.