Cajon Del Maipo

What a wonderful thing it is to have natural beauty on your doorstep. If you look hard enough, you can find beauty in just about anything, but, when it’s staring you straight in the face and there’s no need to look for it, count yourself fortunate. To me, the residents of Santiago fit into this category as the snow topped mountains of the Andes surround and shield the city. Head East along Route G-25 and you’ll shortly find yourself in the Cajon Del Maipo – the perfect tonic when the noise, smell and life in the city becomes overwhelming…

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Cajon Del Maipo is named after the river which has wonderfully eroded it’s path through the hills. The deeper you go, the more remote you find yourself. Roads gradually worsen, small villages shrink in size but the nature is increasingly exposed. Waterfalls come out of hiding and the snow is less shy. During my time here I had hoped to see a couple of glaciers which are deep in the foothills. Unfortunately, at this time of year, it becomes increasingly inaccessible. In normal circumstances disappointment would creep in. However, when the landscape is this glorious, it’s hardly a big deal.

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Cold, crisp mountain air acts as medicine for your lungs regardless of how physically fit you are. The air cleans your body as you breathe and in doing so, it thanks you for it. Your lungs have that sensation as you do when you buy a new pair of kicks. An upsurge in comfort and confidence.

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I ended up in the small village of San Alfonso. Pablo’s wife, Vicky joined and it was good company. Sometimes the best plans are those where you don’t have one. It was a case of just turning up, looking in a particular direction or pointing at a mountain and just deciding, “yeah let’s go up there”. That is exactly what happened.

It’s funny, when you’re hiking in gorgeous surroundings like these, or going for a run whilst the sun falls on a golden beach, despite the fact that you are witnessing everything unfold as you exercise or whatever, something inside you tells you to simply “stop”. In most cases, lets say 9 times out of 10, you do. For some reason, you have to commit all your attention, otherwise you feel as though you cannot truly appreciate that special view. Am I right? Or is it just me? During my hike, this happened every 100 footsteps. I promise it wasn’t an excuse to take a breather!

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The landscape was just enchanting. You stop, glare and become mentally lost for a small period of time as the mountains put you under a spell. The jagged, daunting peaks are accompanied with swirls of cloud and you feel as though you possess the ability to see the wind. The views seduce and are hypnotic. See for yourself…

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