20-Aug-2006 -- The confluence point was easy to find but no so easy to reach. After leaveing the city of Antofagasta using Ruta 1, the coastal road, we reached the kilometer 60 at the South side of Mejillones. At this point we left the paved road and started to use dusty secondary roads heading East.
Quickly we reached the Cordillera de la Costa Mountains, which is a mountain area that runs parallel to the pacific coast. Here the first trouble is the washboard road that force you to slow down the speed in your vehicle (we were using a Ford Ecosport 4x2), also the sinuous curves that surround this stone mountains force you to take care in the turns, preventing for possible vehicles that can come in the opposite direction. Besides the troubles, this section of the road is perfect for great pictures of a desert landscape.
A few kilometers continued on this trail when we reached a wide and long plateau between hills. In the middle of this plateau we reached a substation of the gasoduct that carries gas from Argentina to the Mejillones thermo electrical plant. The substation is equipped with a large antenna, a satellital dish and other devices of technology that keep the security of this Gasoduct. The road in this area tends to be sandy, so the great risk here was to get stuck, but with the great skills of our driver (Patricio Villacorta) we reached with no trouble a group of hills at the east of the plateau.
In this area the goal was not to miss the right trail to reach the confluence, because this zone is full of multiple dry beds of tiny rivers (rests of old rains). Once we find the right way only a sharp hill stops us from arriveing to the confluence point in our vehicle, so the rest of the journey was made by foot.
After walking in a soft hill for 2 kilometers, marked with multiples trails of jeeps and other vehicles marks (including horses and other animals trails), we reached the point. The sun was setting so we stayed there only for a few minutes, the entire trip took us approximated 5 hours, but being there (even the place was just like any other place in this great desert) and watch our gps with the number 23.0000/70.0000 on the screen was worthy.
Thanks to the entire crew: Mariela Pardo, Diego Urrutia, Patricio Villacorta, Flavio Campillay and Mauricio Matus
More pictures: Gallery: Confluence 2370