Well folks, this past weekend I just had to take advantage of another saturday holiday here in Chile and after much effort to find a way to make the best of the mountain bike I bought, I finally found a group and a lovely excursion to 7 Tazas for 3 days covering aproximately 120 kilometers. I will forewarn that the recent earthquake definitely has changed the landscape of this area a bit since it’s so close to where the epicenter was, but all in all it was still breath-takingly beautiful.
Day 1 was a rude awakening for ‘lil ‘ole Julie. I think we did some 50-60 kilometers and at one point I was so tired that I had to hull the bike up by foot – sheesh! That night we built a campfire and I became so enthralled with keeping it going that everyone in the group was convinced I was a pyro! It was pretty cold but the campfire kept us warm and we all slept in tents that night trying desperately to get the rest we needed before another big day of riding!
With day 2 came the rain. The thing is I don’t mind cold and I don’t mind rain but I HATE cold rain and this is pretty much what we got. Furthermore I felt as weak as a house made of cards wondering at what moment the whole deck was going to collapse. I struggled more this day than the first and wondered how I could really be THAT out of shape. I was no longer riding with the group but well behind them. I finally stopped on a bridge above the rocky river, took some pictures, looked up at the steeeeep slope ahead of me and decided I better get in the van and take the ride up a few kilometers!
Finally we reached 7 Tazas and I was loving the waterfalls that I saw. We walked up and down and through the park. Unfortunately at this point I didn’t have my camera but it was interesting to see how the park had changed, or so I was told, due to the earthquake. There used to be several cascading waterfalls and now there were considerably less. The remains just looked like little pools of stagnant rain water, but the cascades that remained, the rock formations and the plant life were still something to see.
After dinner we played silly games that made us all feel like idiots at some point or another but we defintely had some good laughs. Since there was no heat in these cabins, the gas stove we had previously used to cook food doubled nicely as a space heater. The cabin coziness was so inviting that some of us decided to ditch the tents and sleep there the second night. And you guessed it – I was one of those people!
The 3rd day was objectively the easiest but still challenging. The day started out beautiful and sunny but soon became cloudy, cold and rainy. During the climax of the sun’s heat I regretably took off my fleece and nearly froze my &$# off later. And it wasn’t until this day that one of the friendly guides told me that the seat on my bike was set too high for me. Finally the mystery was solved as to why I couldn’t make it up the hills and truth be told I wasn’t in THAT bad of shape after all! THANK GOD for that!
After about 40 kilometers we reached the town of Molina and had a very tasty and large meal at a restaurant. We reminisced about the trip – laughing and joking with each other over our meals. After 3 days I felt like I was just getting to know these people and feeling comfortable and then POOF the trip is over. Until we meet again my friends! Thanks for the good times and not calling me a niñita for getting in the van! *smile*