As I write this article, I am packing for a return trip to Argentina’s Puna region, a high-altitude desert area adjacent to its more famous cousin, the Atacama Desert of Chile. I will be visiting the Puna in the second half of June, then heading a few hundred miles south to photograph the total solar eclipse occurring on July 2. The narrow path of totality will be passing over north-central Chile and Argentina and I plan to be in the high desert mountains waiting for the big event. I’d ask for you to wish me good luck, but by the time this is published, the eclipse will have already occurred. Hopefully, I will have amazing eclipse photos to share in my next article; my fingers are crossed!
I have been to Argentina’s Puna twice before, giving me enough time to do some preliminary exploration but not nearly enough for me to feel like I have really figured the place out. It is a land of rugged wildness and startling beauty. The word Puna is reportedly a native Quechua word that roughly means ‘a cold, remote, and difficult place to live in’, which should give you some idea of what traveling there is like. With only a few scattered settlements and barely anyone living there, one can easily travel for hundreds of miles and not see a single other soul.
Being from the United States, I have easy access to the American southwest, which contains an unrivalled array of stunning and varied desert environments. So, I think it is fair to say ...