Thursday, May 29, 2014

Parque Nacional la Campana

Last Friday, when Steve's brother Rick was here we went to a national park, La Campana which is about 56 k (38 miles) east of us. We took the Valparaíso Metro from our front door in Viña out to the end of the line in Limache (about 32 k). The Metro is really a light rail for most of its length, so it was quite a nice trip being able to see some of the towns and scenery east of Viña.
Once in Limache we took a colectivo (1,5000 CLP each) out to the park, passing through Olmué. Darwin climbed Campana peak on his second voyage of the HMS Beagle (here's to Hoover, our little beagle back in Peoria!). The park was established in 1967, and was named a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1984.
What I found so interesting about the park were the very distinct micro climates there. Some slopes we climbed (we did not go to the peak, that is an all-day affair) were forested and others were desert-like.

 It was quite cool and damp on the first part of our hike, and we were in the shade for much of the time. I wonder if anything lives in this hollow tree?
 Some interesting stuff that looked like small bamboo, which we saw quite a lot of:
After about an hour of the very chilly, shaded forest, I was happy to move over to the sunny side of the park...

...and head up the hill opposite the forested one, for some warmth. All of us shed layers as we went-the difference in temperature was quite great between the two hillsides.

 This shot shows both the forested and the desert hills we hiked up.
Below, the guys, Joel, Steve and Rick after checking out an old mine (which was sealed just slightly beyond the entrance). The other mine, just around the corner only had a low wooden fence across it. We were good, and did not climb over the fence to investigate, although it could have been done with ease.

On the way home, we walked out of the park, down a long hill, and kept going and going and going...until the micro (below) picked us up after about 30 minutes. It took us all the way back to Limache, where we had a nice lunch before getting back on the Metro.

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