THE SOUTHERN AMERICAN SERIES PT7
I’ve been spending a few weeks in Rio over Christmas and have been absolutely loving it, the weather, the beaches, the hostel and almost everything else. But what usually comes hand in hand with the above, is great friends and a drink or 2. In Rio you are doing exceptionally well to stay away from drinking night and day.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES!
So like any place I go, I do a copious amount of research and list the must do things. After ticking off the beach and Lapa activities I made an effort to take a night or 2 off the alcohol, which involved avoiding eye contact and bumping into anyone I knew. Eventually it was time for rest before an early morning, to do what is only an hours hike. This wouldn’t actually go as planned but would turn out to be the best mistake I’ve made.
WHERE IS GAVÉA?
Up fresh and out to catch a taxi, who don’t seem to stop for foreigners and I was about to see why. The taxi drivers in Rio must all be part time as very few of them actually know where they are going. My Maps.me app usually does the trick in this case but he clearly had no idea. In all fairness it was only a 30min walk but I pointed the mountain, what more can I do.
I noticed straight away the direction he was going wasn’t quite right. As a tourist who was I to tell a taxi driver where to go. He seemed to go around the back of the mountain which completely threw me and left me with no sense of direction. The driver even stopped to ask for a directions and the fella happened to be a climber so I thought result, he’ll know for sure. So I explained to him the name of the mountain and he spoke to the direction in Portuguese.
So after 30minutes a drive that should have taken less than 5 I arrived at the bottom of a mountain. I knew straight away it wasn’t the right one but I thought better of it. Let’s take a walk and see what I find.
I was a little apprehensive to say the least and what didn’t help was that I couldn’t see what I was climbing. Hell, I didn’t even know where I was! There was a guard at the bottom who checks everyone who enters actually leaves at the end of the night which helped a little and then an information sign which read ‘hiking time 3hours.’ For anyone who hikes, 3 hours is a nothing hike but people who know they are going to spend 7 or 8 hours on a mountain in 30* heat usually bring some food and a sufficient amount of water. All I had was 500ml of water and after the taxi drive I had, it was nearly all gone.
GO WITH YOUR GUT
More often than not I get this gut feeling of doing something so I decided to head on up. There are apparently waterfalls just 30 minutes up the path so the plan was to reach there and then head back.
30 minutes later and no waterfalls but I’m feeling pretty good and decide to keep going. After the first 30 minutes its pretty much a steep walk but you are sheltered by the trees above which was an absolute godsend! There are areas a little more difficult however but nothing you couldn’t manage.
GETTING TO THE TOP
Around 1hour 30 you reach the first peak where you come out into the open. Here there is a slightly trickier area to climb but you have the help of a chain and steps to put your feet in. So again its very much possible for anyone.
At this stage I was so far in that I was going to head to the top. I could already see from this opening that the views are incredible but could only see to the south. The real reward was on the other side of the mountain which was to come.
After another relatively easy 30 minutes I reached the plateau from the south and made my way to the northern point of the mountain. I had no expectation as I didn’t have a clue where I was, was it the mountain I set out to climb? I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was one of the best views I have ever seen. I just remember being completely in awe and wondering how had this not come up in all my research.
There were two things that made me laugh however. One was the empty bottle of water I had been holding onto for the past 60minutes and the other was staring at me from across the valley. The mountain I had planned to climb that day! It was dwarfed by the mountain I was on and I’m not sure how the driver got it so wrong but I’ve been meaning to thank him!!
At the top I chilled for a few minutes until I knew my thirst became a problem. But I wanted to take at least a few minutes to enjoy the view and think about everything else that had happened. I was lucky that a driver taxi who didn’t know where he was going decided to pick me up. I was lucky about my curiosity to continue climbing beyond the waterfalls even though I wasn’t prepared & I was lucky that it was an incredible day. This is for sure the best mistake I’ve made!
So if you ever find yourself off the beaten path, think twice about calling it a day as you never know what you’ll find.
If I thought this hike was good then tomorrow I get to hike the one I was meant to. Click to read.
MERRY XMAS & SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
- What’s your favourite travel mistake?
- Have you hiked in Rio?
- What was your favourite thing about the city?
Let me know in the comments below . . .