Fields of crops are planted on very steep moutntain side slopes.
The team made it to the summit of the pass!
Water is quite important in this part of Peru—and April just happens to be the rainiest month of the rainy season. After passing through desert and high-altitude desert environments, we were surprised to come across a high-altitude subtropical area. The area around Limon de Pucaya was full of vegetation and the air was humid. Believe it or not, just 20 miles earlier, we had passed by dry river-beds with cacti growing in them.
Giant cacti have been on the sides of the mountains for much of our ride. However, once we crossed the pass, we haven´t seen nearly as many.
Water is the reason these difference exist so close together. The lush subtropical area receives more rainfall than the high-altitude desert. The tropical area had a larger river running through it, providing water and nutrients to the wild vegetation. The mountains actually have an effect on rainfall. The western side of the Andes tends to be dry, while the eastern side is a much more tropical area. Can you figure out why it rains more on one side than the other?
While biking today, we came across this mud-slide that had dropped onto the road. Police and volunteers were clearing it off the road, so that people could safely pass. What do you think causes mud-slides? Why didn´t we see any on the other side of the pass?
I was expecting to see snow on some of the peaks that we passed by. Why do you think we didn’t?
Since the mountains that we are biking through is so close to the Equator, snow doesn’t accumulate as much as one would expect. The changes in temperature from season to season are very small. However, the eastern slope of the Andes does have two seasons: a rainy season and a dry season. Between December and May it rains more here, which makes everything grow. The rain also fills the rivers with water. Eventually all rivers flow into the lowland Amazon Basin. All of this extra water causes the Amazon River to rise and flood its banks. So the mountain’s rainy season has a big effect on the rainforest was well as the places where the raindrops fall. Soon we will trade our bikes for canoes, and rain falling on our heads today may end up pushing us down the Amazon River.
Join the Expedition Team in the Chat Room on Wednesday, April 11th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM CST. Teachers, please log your classroom in as one user. We reccommend using an LCD projector. Hope to see you there!