Cajón del Maipo, Andes, Chile
"Where are you going?" —I asked. "Further into the mountains, to Baños Morales" was their answer. "Good, get in". The hitch-hikers had to split because our cabin was already quite full, one to the back of the pick-up truck, the two girls to the front. "Where do you come from?" Chileans are curious, especially when it comes to chat with foreigners. Not that I am a foreigner in Chile, having been born and raised there, but somehow the thirty odd years I lived abroad always betray me.
The Cajón is a favourite day out destination for people in Santiago. It is easy to reach and on a sunny Sunday it promises a great picnic experience on a border river amidst tall mountains. But we wanted more, and so did our passengers, who turned out to be young teachers at Santiago schools. We wanted to go beyond the asphalt roads, beyond the tourist restaurants and get to grasp the awesome views of this Andean landscape, especially known for its narrow valleys and entrenched rivers.
The teachers wanted to spend time at the Baños Morales, a small ensemble of thermal sources where you can enjoy warm baths in natural basins. We got into talking, and learnt that there is a growing interest among young people for trekking. Paired with that, comes also a consciousness towards the value of nature, and the need to conserve the natural treasures we find in our surroundings. Being teachers, they will pass this on. Yes!
There is a trekking path that starts in Baños Morales and brings you to a glacier lagoon in about three hours hiking. That was our original target, we will do it next time ;-)
It is difficult to capture with the camera the dimensions of the place —with high mountains adorning a canyon basin. I think the black and white treatment gives a fair justice to the depth of the scenery. Hope you like it.