The weather here has been absolutely spectacular for the last week or so: A complete change from the previous couple of weeks of torrential rain. Unfortunately, I haven't really had a great deal of time to take advantage of it and I've been going a little crazy being couped up inside, looking out at perfect sunny days and spectacular views over the ocean and towards the mountains.
The last couple of days I have managed to get out and about. On Sunday a friend and I went up to the Cementerio de Playa Ancha (posts to follow when I finally get around to posting a few more photos of Cementerio Numero 2). And then yesterday, I decided to return to Cerro La Campana for a spot of mountain based exercise.
This time, I went on my own. I just wanted to stretch my legs and see how quickly I could get up and down and didn't want to have to slow down for anyone else.
As I've already described the trip to Cerro La Campana before (more photos here), I won't bore you with too many details. Just that it was much chillier than before and from about 30 minutes into the hike, there was frost on the ground and, from the Darwin plaque and up, chunks of ice that had fallen from the cliff face. It wasn't really cold, especially with the exercise to warm me up but I kept my hoody on the entire time. To be honest, the conditions were pretty perfect for hiking-cool and dry.
I beat my time from a few weeks ago by 25 minutes...I got to the top in exactly 2 hours and 20 minutes and then I literally ran back down in 1 hour 15 minutes (that's 50 minutes quicker than last time). That's pretty speedy. Next time I go, I'm going to aim for 2 hours up...remember that it's 7km up and 7km back down ago...
My legs hurt today.
Some photos and more commentary below:
Cerro La Campana and Aconcagua as seen from my house (I hadn't realised that this was La Campana until I got back yesterday and I recognised it from the shape):
Ice (the bandage thing on my hand is from when I slightly stabbed myself with a knife on Saturday. Ouch.):
Views from the top:
Chi-Chi-Chi-Le-Le-Le. Be proud Chilenos.
Essential hiking gear for a Chilean:
This is Aconcagua again, I love the plane flying over the top.
And this is another big-arse mountain that I'd find the name of if I could be bothered (I can't).
I was joined at the top by this cheeky little chappy. He was quite shy at first but I think he was used to being around people and begging food from them as seen in the second photo with a fellow hiker in it:
Finally, the money shots...Valparaiso, in all its glory as seen from the top of a 2000m high mountain (or a "hill" in local terms). This view was so incredible. It made me feel better than Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll.
Wait. Let me re-phrase that. It made me feel better than Rock 'n Roll.
But still, it was pretty awe-inspiring. I'd heard that you could see the city from the top on a clear day but I hadn't realised how good the view would be. I could even just about pick out my own house through my binoculars. Fantastic. I just sat for over an hour at the top looking at the city I love from about 60km (40 miles) away:
Go hike Cerro La Campana now.