Sabado (Saturday) was such a lovely day. Mounted on sturdy Chilean ponies we wandered the twists and turns of mountain trails stopping here and there to admire the views over the snow-topped Andes Mountains.
Our two hour trail ride ended with a lazy asado with chorizo and vino, overooking the great valley that is home to the city of Santiago.To the side of us were mountains where the snow blazed in the afternoon sun.
Come Domingo, the story was somewhat different. No lazy days in the saddle for Sunday, oh no. Rafting down the ice cold waters of the Cajon de Maito was on the agenda.
There’s no point trying to stay in bed, an insistent voice inside keeps going “you want these experiences, that’s why you came here. You will love it. Get out of your warm bed and put on your bathers”.
It’s winter in the Andes.
We drink wine and eat barbecue in winter in the Andes. We don’t wear bathers.
Well, we do, and we did.
Bathers that were soon lost under layers of cold weather rafting gear: a wetsuit, water jacket, booties and life jacket. Trussed up like chickens we descended the steep sides of the canyon to the see the racing water. Ferocious cold rushed by as we got our first taste of mountain melt. One bootied foot at a time into the raft it was time to write a note to self – don’t bother trying to keep dry. Waste of time. Our captain wasted no time in making sure the raft was full of ice water, just to make sure we knew what we were in for should we, perchance, fall out.
And fall out we did. The first time was planned; up against a huge rock our guide tipped the raft onto its side. All the paddlers on the left went overboard.
Yep, I was on the left. Yep the water is cold.
It was still cold when I went overboard again. An unplanned trip over the side; a little slip of the foot and backwards…into the roiling, freezing water, with the raft fast disappearing down the level three rapids.
Feet forward and wait for the captain to throw the rescue rope.
Wait for the concern as they pull me in.
Wait for the laughter when it’s clear I’m safe.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!