Posts Tagged ‘Rio Clarillo’

Another hiking trip this weekend, turned into a standard South American experience through the forces of South America and South Americans…

We headed in the general direction of Rio Clarillo national reserve, with the intent to hike a few kilometers of its trails and get out of the city. As we got through the dumpy neighborhood that is Puente Alto and crossed into Pirque, things were looking up. Pirque is quite obviously better cared for, maybe as a result of the presence of the Concha y Toro winery. Greener, cleaner, nicer in all respects.

After getting lost a couple of times and having to change the maps on the GPS, finally giving up on GPS and now relying on 50 different versions of bad instructions given to us by the locals, we thought we were headed in the right direction. The signage was South America Standard (ie: poor to nonexistent) which surprised us as this is a national nature reserve– one would think there would be signs pointing how to get there.

We were repeatedly lost in the surrounding area on back roads which were suspiciously booming with little empanada shops around every turn. Suddenly I was reminded of tales of piracy and shipwreckers who would post fires on the shores of shallow banks to confuse ships’ navigators, so as to try and wreck boats in the hopes of salvaging their cargoes. Or tire shops throwing nails in the road a few blocks in either direction. Perhaps the locals have removed all signage in the hopes that folks would get there and get lost, because those empanadas started sounding pretty damned good…

After about an hour of wandering we finally found the entrance to the park, and…

CERRADO! (closed)

Too many people, says the guard. Today is the last day of official Chilean holidays, all the kids go back to school tomorrow, and the park is overrun with people, so we’re not admitting any more.

Which sucks, because we were looking foward to hiking. Oh well. Fortunately I had brought my Lonely Planet guidebook which recommended a restaurant in the area (no patronizing these Empanada Pirates!) called La Vaquita Echa. It was, like the Lost Park, in the GPS, but we actually got accurate directions and got there without problems. It turned out to be an excellent restaurant, and while the Chuletas de Jabali were a bit small in my opinion, they were delicious, and the dessert of caramelized apple pancake with ice cream was awesome. It had a nice outdoor-dining vibe with a nice view of the surrounding fields and mountains.

I was a little bummed that I had to be the designated driver; Chile has a new zero-tolerance law regarding drinking and driving. If they detect any alcohol on you, away goes your license. No wine for me, nor Vaquita’s homemade beer which sounded very interesting.

After that, we headed back through town to try and get home before the mad traffic rush of last-minute weekend returnees.

 

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