Friday, December 31, 2010

Cochamo is how we spell Paradise

Jan climbs up under tree roots.

Another fixed rope ascended.
In a word, that sums up our 4 days of the most amazing trekking on this journey filled with most amazing treks.
Cochamo lived up to its billing as an outdoor adventure of a different sort - and then some. Granite walls a 1,000 m high rise from the valley floor. Rainforest sits between the valley bottom at 300 m and the start of many of the walls at 800 or 900 m.

The hiking is mostly developed by climbers (big wall climbers), so many of the hikes are quite demanding, exposed once they get above treeline and have fantastic vistas. There are rope sections on some hikes like the Arco Iris one. 

The above pics (click on them to enlarge!) show how Jan took the advice from the doctor regarding "resting" her left hand. She did rest it: on rock, on rope, on tree roots :) Awesome hardly begins to describe how we saw and felt this valley.
Big walls. 900 to 1,000 m of pure granite.

Trinidad mountain.
Cochamo valley has some stunning rainforest, think bamboo, old man beard on alerce trees (must look up English name, but they are like 4,000 years old!). Rainforest means it is wet, so you are prone to encounter mud, lots of mud, especially after a little rain, or a lot of rain. Gaiters highly recommended.

We completely fell in love with the place.(Just thought I spell it out in case you had not figured that out by now:)

Jan and Cochamo river on hike out

Trenches forged over 150 years
by cattle drives.
We will post more on Cochamo soon. Meanwhile a few choice pics to enjoy!

Oh, we arrived in Viña del Mar today for fireworks and street party in Valparaiso tonight. Valparaiso apparently has the best party in Chile and one of the largest fireworks anywhere.
Arco Iris just over 1,600 m. Jan made it all the way
 into the snow at the summit.

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