Our last hike in Chile was in the Reserva Nacional Río Clarillo, about an hour outside Santiago next to the town of Pirque. The day was bittersweet for me. We are leaving these friends and the spectacular mountains.
The weather forecast called for rain, but we only had a few sprinkles throughout the eight hour walk. It was a refreshing day–the air was just a little too cold to stop for very long. But that makes the best walking conditions.
The following information is translated from the city of Pirque’s Web site:
Río Clarillo is located in a lower mountain range (precordillera) to the southeast of Santiago in the locale of Pirque. Its area covers 13,185 hectares, with a terrain of deep valleys and tall heights, which fluctuate between 850 and 3,500 msnm.
This reserve offers beautiful lower mountain ranges as well as mountain vegetation comprised of trees and bushes with hard leaves which are abundant in the gorges.
We reached the heights where snow had fallen. Unfortunately we did not see any wildlife other than birds.
An important lesson I learned from these late fall hikes was to always bring a large chocolate bar and a thermos of hot coffee to share. Passing around a hot drink on a cold day is the quickest way to make friends. This group was muy buena onda (extremely agreeable spirit).
It makes me smile to remember all of the hikers who brought pisco sours to share as well–another way of getting warm.
The most amusing end to the day was having to cross a low section of the river to get back to the cars. Many of us didn’t bring water sandals, so we rolled up our pantlegs and walked across the stream barefoot. Luckily I had brought a change of clothes and a bottle of wine to share in the post-hike happy hour. It didn’t hurt to have a roaring fire in the tavern, either.