A journey to the moon

Kaluts Travel Blog

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People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Reza, Mahdieh and Parsa (Iran)

Another 06.00 start awaited us on Friday morning, as Reza and his family had kindly volunteered to take Julia and I to Kaluts, a place in the desert with weird and wonderful rock formations. The area is located 150 kilometres North East of Kerman and covers a vast expanse of 145 kilometres North to South and 80 kilometres East to West. Reza had recommended an early start as temperatures in the Dasht-e Lut can soar to 65 degrees by midday.

The ninety minute drive took us over the Payeh Mountains and Reza told us stories of a plane crash that had occurred there and also some mountaineering friends who had lost their lives whilst climbing one winter.

With such a hostile terrain, i wondered why anyone would choose to live there, but funnily enough there had been inhabitants in the small oasis town of Shahdad for over 5000 years! Visible from the roadside were several crumbling caravanserai's, which traders had no doubt made good use of over the years.

Approaching the start of the Kaluts, we began to see small mounds with trees sprouting from them and Reza posed the question of how they came about. I took option one that the mounds were fertile patches that the trees had grown from, whilst Reza believed that the tress were there first and that the sand had gathered around them. Both options seemed feasible, and it made for an interesting spectacle.

When we reached the Kaluts, Reza parked his car just off the road and we stepped into the searing heat.
It was only 08.45, but i could feel my face burning the second the sun made contact. We donned our hats and ventured onto the sandy terrain, which Julia remarked was still remarkably cool. Wandering up some a nearby dune, we then climbed to the top of one of the rock formations, which gave us superb views over the area. Parsa was running around like he had all the energy in the World, whilst the rest of us were puffing and panting our way around. The joys of youth!

Lousy Planet states that Kaluts is 'unique on Earth', but clearly they haven't been to Yadan National Park in China, which is basically the same! Nevertheless it was beautiful and mysterious and has baffled scientists as to how it was created. Arguments include wind erosion, a glancing blow from a meteorite and no doubt extra terrestrial activity.
Personally i find any of these hard to believe, but my best guess would be that a mountain range has been weathered over millions of years, leaving what we see to day. Having been to Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia, which is all that is left from a long gone towering mountain range, there is definitely proof that erosion can leave bizarre conundrums on the Earths landscape!

Walking even small distances was bringing a sweat to my brow and been in such scorching temperatures really isn't anyones idea of fun, but the urge to take photographs got the better of me and i dragged Julia off for a 30 minute walk. By now the sand was so hot that you could feel it burning your toes and it makes you realise what a horrible death it must be to get lost in the desert. Thankfully we kept our bearings and managed to navigate our way back to Reza and co, who were waiting for us back at the car.

Hot and sweaty we made our way back to Kerman, and Mahdieh cooked us a great lunch of chicken and potatoes in a tasty sauce. After using the internet for a short time, we all agreed that we should take a nap for a few hours and recharge our batteries.

portia says:
Yadan! yeah, I was watching a TV show on desert glass found in Egypt, and they showed jeeps driving in terrains looking like Yadan too!
Posted on: Oct 01, 2008
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photo by: Biedjee