On Sunday, the last day of the lovely long Chilean weekend Dirk and I set off on a mission to conquer Cerro Pochoco.
To get to the hill we took the red line metro to the Manquehue stop and from there we took the C01 bus to Plaza San Enrique. From the plaza we walked to the hill, not a good idea as this takes a long time, apparently there are cars that will take you to the hill for a small charge. Unfortunately for us, this was the hottest day we have experienced in Santiago so far. It took us a long time to get to the foot of the hill (there’s also an observatory that is open during the week) and we didn’t take enough water with us.
Don’t be fooled by other blogs and websites telling you that it takes about half an hour to get to the top of the hill; they are lying! It took us two and a half hours to get to the top of Cerro Pochoco!
We were also fooled by the difficulty level of the hill; it’s not that easy to walk up or down, because the ground is loose and dry and it’s very easy to slide and fall. We met various hikers with walking sticks and I wish we had some with us; you really need something to get a proper grip on the ground. Walking up the hill there are not many places you will find shade, so take a hat and plenty of water!
We had lunch at the top of the first hill you climb before reaching the top of Cerro Pochoco. Thank goodness we found a great spot in the shade!
It took some convincing from Dirk’s side for me to also walk to the top of the hill. Our water supply was limited, the sun was burning down our necks and it took concentration to walk up the steep road. It’s difficult to focus when your mouth is dry and your knees are wobbly from the heat! You have to carefully place each foot to prevent from falling down and sliding down the hill!
The way down the hill was more difficult than the way up, because you keep sliding on the loose ground. Once we reached the bottom of the hill our adventure was not over yet. We were thirsty, without any water nearby and had to walk back the almost three kms to Plaza Enrique! Luckily we found a good Samaritan washing his car next to his house and he gave us refreshing cold water. It turned out that he has been to South Africa and that he visited Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria! Next time, we’ll take lots and lots of water when we go hiking, even if it’s hard to carry!