I hiked in las cordilleras de los Andes this morning!  Two of my friends (Kelcie and Kaelin) and I took a taxi from the edge of the city to arrive at the trailhead at el Observatorio Pochoco around 9:30am.  From there, we followed the very-unmarked path, which strongly resembled tracks of erosion.  It was sandy and rocky and kind of made me feel like I was in Australia because of all the cacti and little lizards and sand…  I’ve never been to Australia.  But if it’s anything like this place, I love it!  I’m hoping to be able to do similar excursions many of the weekends over the next few months.

Unlike the hiking options near me (in the hills of Maryland) or even kind of near me (in the Appalachian Mountains), this climb offered views of the surrounding area at every moment.  The trees are pretty squat and the shrubbery isn’t super dense, so it’s hard to get really lost.  While we did lose the actual trail for a few minutes, we could use the landmarks of the neighboring mountains to guide us to the right side of our mountain.  However, you should be warned that the sandy earth sometimes prefers to be free than to be locked in one place – that is to say, don’t assume that all of your steps on the steep parts will definitely find solid ground…  What’s life without a little bit of mystery?

Last night’s beginning-of-the-weekend adventure was to the International Jazz Festival in the middle of the city.  “Free entry” means ginormous masses of people laying out in the grass across the river from the stage set-up.  The music was fun, but at the same time, marijuana is legal here, and many people take advantage of that fact; this event was kind of the perfect opportunity for those people, and my group was right in the thick of the masses.  To get out of the city for a bit this morning was even more welcome after that experience!

Even when I was standing almost on the top of the mountain, I felt the smallest I’ve ever felt in my life.  The Andes just go on and on and on and on, and they’re so old, and I just came here and climbed right up the side of one.  That’s wild.

 

Peace and Blessings and Mountains x

(From Las Condes, Santiago)

 

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