This past weekend I went camping with some AIESECers in a place called Vallecito [Little Valley]. Every time you go anywhere with a group of 4 Chileans, 2 Uruguayans, a Turkish transplant to Germany, a Slovakian, and 2 Americans, you have to explain who you are and how exactly you all ended up together. Through all of this explaining to the man who picked us up while we hitchhiked [hitchhiking is super common here] our way to the trail, I met a man from Iowa City, Iowa!
Now, everyone who reads this blog might not know about my love for Iowa, but man do I LOVE Iowa [Whitey’s Ice Cream, Happy Joe’s, Bishop’s Cafeteria, Chateau Knoll swimming pool, Iowa City ped mall, family, what more could you ask for?] so I was thrilled to meet this man, and such a coincidence! He moved here four years ago and met a Chilean woman that he married. He writes for the Revolver an English and Spanish online magazine and his name is Colin Bennet [or some spelling variation of that], Uncle Kevin if you’re still reading this, do you know him? He’s probably about Riley’s age.
Anyways, we started our hike in which probably took about 3 hours in the blazing sun so it was refreshing when we finally made it to where we were camping. The AIESECers kept telling me it was going to be in the middle of the naturaleza, and it certainly was. On our way up we passed a pipe coming out the side of the mountain that they all started to drink out of, and that I pleasantly refrained from after my unpleasant experience post-drinking the water on the coast of Colombia.
Once at the camp site and I could see the source of the water [the spectacularly clear river rushing down the mountain side] I decided it was okay, and it was delicious! It was a nice and relaxing weekend sitting around in the sun, wading in the river, hiking to waterfalls, and playing games in Spanish around the campfire [which I find equally frustrating! I can never get the ones that are like “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing an apple –okay, you can come. Well I’m bringing a banana, –sorry, you can’t come”- you know the ones I’m talking about?] On Saturday night when people started mixing drinks with the agua del rio I decided it was time to call it a night!
Our hike out on Sunday took about 4.5 hours and was unexpectedly intense. I can’t be sure we actually hiked out on an official path, it seemed more like we were making it up as we went. When one guy pulled out his climbing gloves I decided I was perhaps ill-equipped to be scaling down these rock faces with my backpack on and a tent in my hand. Since everyone made it out alive and uninjured it was fun. My muscles feel both sore and successful today.