Saturday, September 29, 2018

Hiking up Cerro Aguanoso

High above Bogotá.
Today, I joined a hike thru Bogota's Eastern Hills, which are beautiful, but almost off limits because muggers wait up there for unwary hikers. As a matter of fact, our guide, Baltazar, of Montaña Sagrada, was mugged at gunpoint twice recently near the Laches neighborhood, although the muggers, strangely, didn't take much but warned the hikers not to return to the area. This time, four police officers accompanied us, and perhaps because of that we suffered no incidents.

The magical thing about Bogotá's hills is that just a few minutes walking or cycling takes you into a different world. Unfortunately, it's not a native world: most of the trees, such as the pines and eucalyptus, are introduced exotics.

Lingering signs of wildfires.
The hike started off passing small farms amidst forest. But as we climbed, the trees became smaller and replaced by scrub. The trail also got steeper: toward the top, we clambered uphill gripping rocks and roots to make progress. Along the way, we visited the tiny abandoned chapel with its big iron cross which you can see from central Bogota perched on a hillside.

We were also treated to spectacular views, which make you appreciate just how immense a city of nine million people is. After several hours of hiking we reached the peak of Aguanoso, at 3555 meters above sea level

From the peak, you can continue walking east for several kilometers to reach a paramo, a high-altitude wetland. We instead walked down behind and around the hills and caught a SITP bus back to central Bogota.

A view of the Eastern Hills and Cerro Aguanoso, from near Bogotá's Central Cemetery.
Passing a frailejon, characteristic of the paramos.

Mosses on a water-splattered rock.

An abandoned chapel, visible from central Bogotá.

A photo op high above Bogotá.
A frailejon: a characteristic plant of the paramos.

A friendly lizard.


The long and winding trail.
Baltazar has a hiking business called 'Montaña Sagrada.' Look for them on Facebook.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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