Hunting Elusive Condor Agates
where everything is sharp and wants to cut you

Argentina agate hunt

 Mendoza Province, Argentina, April/May 2009. On the eve of the expedition to the agate location, we fortified our minds, bodies, and souls with a fine dinner of roasted chicken and fried potatoes at the home of the expedition leaders. The hunt will take us eight miles on a trail too steep for pack animals, where everything is sharp and wants to hurt you. We left at o-dark-thirty. It was my first look at the Southern Cross. The fire was to make the matte that the shaman in our group fortified with herbs, including ephedra.
When we returned to the jeep, my feet were killing me. Sixteen miles round trip plus climbing for hours at the site.

The shaman is on the viewer's left, next is his much larger son, then Luis, and a big Indigenous guy. I'd expected we'd hike a few miles and stop for a water break but these guys never let up until we reached the agate fields after about three hours. Tough men in a tough environment. The jeep runs on propane.