What a Perfect Day at La Campana
Hi, Yasha here, the third member of dare2go.
This past week I have joined up with the other two, Juergen and Berta, to do what we worked over a year in Germany for, and I’ve been working six months in Santiago for…
We spent a couple of days in Playa Pichicuy, just hanging out in Berta, listening to the Pacific Ocean roar through the night, and watching the spray of smashing waves breaching the sand dunes from the window during the day.
On Tuesday Juergen drove me south along the coast, retracing his steps of the previous week, and we stopped for the night in Maitencillo. Again we were parked with a full view of the ocean and I was really enjoying it.
We moved on to Horcón, an unusual little seaside town with some very funky building codes. Our parking place was quiet but the outlook wasn’t particularly exciting…
But the absolute highlight of this week would have to be La Campana National Park. We arrived on Friday evening and found a spot to park. It was a bit close to the road into the tent camping spot and somehow, even in a National Park, some Chileans have to drive their cars anywhere they go, so a bit too much traffic. Despite this, it reminded me of our first national park in the USA in our previous camper in 2006. Our first night in Joshua Tree N P brought on similar feelings – this is what we came here for, this is what we love to do, this is a place that we wouldn’t see any other way. At last I felt like I was ‘on the road’!
And, just as we did in Joshua Tree N P (up Ryan Mountain), we planned a walk that sounded quite doable – 6 km to a waterfall, with lovely views along the way and plenty of Ocoa palms that the park is famous for. So, on Saturday, we packed a lunch and headed off around 11 – the ranger had told us that 4 hours should be sufficient for the walk there and back, with some time to appreciate the area around the falls.
It was beautiful – the views along the way, the palms, the waterfall and its surrounds – BUT, it was 6 km uphill, some of it extremely steep. I’m used to walking around Santiago and probably walk an average of 6 km on any day, but not all of it uphill! On the other hand, Juergen hasn’t done any real walking since he stopped walking between the garage and the camper, many times a day, in Basdorf, whilst building our camper – and that wasn’t really uphill either. Our stops became more frequent and Juergen was on the point of turning around, but we kept going. We finally arrived at the top at 2.30 – that means a mere half an hour to look around and to get down again, according to Ranger ‘Ivan el terrible’!
We stayed around at the top to rest and recuperate, as well as to enjoy the view, and started down again sometime after 3.00. This turned out to be even more excruciating than the walk up! Both of us were complaining of pain in our back, legs, knees and even our toes. And, we hadn’t brought enough water – the bottle was empty when we left the top. We literally hobbled down the hill to get back to Berta. We arrived at 5.30, sun-burnt and hurting and exhausted.
There were not too many people on the track, which made it pleasant to walk. Everyone else we met was younger than us, and they were all fairly breathless and red-faced when they reached the top, which made us feel better about being total invalids on the way back.
Some tips if you want to try this walk:
- Leave at around 9 to 9.30
- Take plenty of water
- Take your walking sticks
- Cut your toenails before you go LOL
- Make sure you have a hat and sunscreen – some, but not much, shade to be had
Do we want to do this walk again? Probably not, but we would recommend it. I still think it was a perfect day, just as I did on that long ago day in Joshua Tree N P.
You can find more information about La Campana National Park in our second blog post .