Cerro Provincia is one of the lovely ‘foothills’ right outside Santiago, about a 15 or 20 minute ride by metro/bus away from Las Condes. Earlier last week, Danny had sparked the idea of going on a weekend hike in the Chilean mountains and next thing you know, it’s Sunday evening and I just hiked 25 kilometers (which is 15.6ish miles) going up 9,022 feet and going back down (though there’s a bit more to the going up and coming down part that I shall explain). I have no shame in admitting my belief that Cerro Provincia was probably the toughest hike that I’ve ever endured, both mentally and physically. I’m incredibly sore right now, but the hike was absolutely worth the soreness, fatigue, and immense hunger that I feel right now. [Looking up, we didn’t really realize how far we actually were from the top][Cacti nation right here]
I can’t say I’ve ever hiked something like Cerro Provinicia; the U.S East coast doesn’t really have this type of ecosystem going on. I’m actually pretty sure this was the first time that I had ever seen a cactus in the wild (ouch). As the mad scientist and wannabe ecologist that I am, I was pretty awed by our surroundings and perplexed by the seeming lack of fauna (minus the AWESOME geckos) and the odd assortment of flora. I can’t say Maine has anything like this!
[Buck and Brady’s panorama of epicness — we’re not anywhere near the top at this point, sadly][You could call me the paparazzi of Steffi and Danny’s love]
After lunch around 2, everyone divided up into three groups based more on hiking speed. Brady, Buck and I were ahead of everyone, then Maggie and Savannah were together (shout out to Maggie for this hike — this was her first major hike and she killed it!), and finally Danny and Steffi were together. Stefanny (a name given for this lovely couple) were carrying a lot of stuff – probably a good 100 lbs of supplies put together.
[Less than halfway there!][No commentary because I can’t remember where I took this photo, ha][First shot from the top, shadow game][Selfies at the top with Brady and Buck — looking good, guys][Letting the guys do all the work and enjoying the Andes in the background #lazygirl #justhikedamountain #whattentdoyouspeakof ][No words][The Andes in the sunset, and the blanket of smog obscuring all else][The city from the mountain at twilight — no words]
Buck, Brady and I reached the top around 7:15, and were able to get a bit of a dinner. It was 8:30 by the time Maggie and Savannah got there, and Stefanny was nowhere to be seen, which at the time was pretty concerning because the sun was setting and light was fading rapidly. Brady and I managed to hike back down to search for the two, and after a lot of shouting matches, we found them with a 30 or 40 minute hike down the mountain (an hour and half hike back to the top). We helped them set up camp where they were and made sure everything was all set before heading back up. Savannah met us partway up our hike, and it was probably around 11:30 before we made it back to the top — all in darkness (this is why I hiked 25 kilometers — it was 1.5 to Stefanny’s camping point and 1.5 back. The original hike was actually 22 in total). Even so, vertical hiking in the dark probably wasn’t as bad as it was hiking up the mountain with my backpack (which didn’t even have as much stuff as Steffi’s or Danny’s did).
[Descent pics from the next morning]