The weather was not what we had expected. I was cold in my running shorts and had to put on a long sleeve shirt. Our GPS dropped us at the top of one of Córdoba’s giant hills. All we could see was white in every direction, the fog was so thick. It felt like we were driving through the clouds; only able to see what was directly ahead. Our plan was to hike through Parque Nacional Quebrada del Condorito, a national park where giant condors (birds) are known to be seen. However, when we arrived shrouded in fog, a local guide near the entrance to the park told us it was unsafe to proceed. This guide to out to be a very kind man and told us we were welcome to join his group on an alternate hike. While we could not do the hike we originally intended, now we had the ability to get a guided tour of the area for free. It wasn’t such a bad trade off.
The group turned out to be a gang of friends from a gym close to Mario’s place in Nueva Córdoba. Every week they organized a hike to do together. I thought that was a wonderful idea and a fun way to break up regular indoor gym workouts. They were nice people and graciously accepted us into the group without so much as a word.
The first portion of the hike was similar to the drive- like walking through clouds. There was a dreamy element to the trek because we were so high up and seemed connected with the sky. Below our feet was a grand assortment of stones. White, quartz-like crystals jutted up out of the dirt in some places, while others featured larger, pinkish orange stones. Occasionally you would see a flash of silver catch the light. This was the mica that is commonly found in the ground and sand of Córdoba.
After miles of uphill hiking, the guide led us down a small trail deviating from the main route. The mist was beginning to subside and our lovely surroundings slowly began to appear out of the white blur. We stopped at a outcropping of boulders surrounding a pool and small waterfall. As we sat and ate our lunch by the water the last of the clouds parted.
We were then led to a cliff bordering a giant canyon. The braver of the group ventured our onto the boulders where you could witness amazing views of the canyon and a gushing waterfall cutting through the rocks. Not having any fear of highs, I crept to the edge and stared in amazement at the rock formations and the canyon below. I was happy I’d brought along my camera.
The hike back was stunning. Now that our vision wasn’t obstructed we could truly appreciate the beauty of the location. The road we were walking long was right alongside a massive drop off. Now we could see we were trekking through a landscape of endless sprawling hills as far as the eye could see. Sharp rock edges complementing gentle grasses blowing in the wind. This type of environment is typical in the Córdoba region of Argentina. Mario and I thought it looked similar to photos of Ireland. Many times we stopped to stand and admire the view from the side of the road. We even saw a few condors far in the distance; big, black shadows gliding through the pale sky. The setting made me feel very calm and satisfied.