Mountain Trekking in Córdoba
Córdoba, Argentina. Champaqui peak.
Córdoba, located in Argentina, is a beautiful city where you can find many cultural activities, spectacular mountain views, and copious nature. The fact that it is surrounded by nature is not minor. Many people come from other Argentinian cities and countries looking for the peace of the river and mountains. Other great city features are the weather conditions and the air quality. Owing to these, many people choose this place to live and raise their family or as a holiday destination. Moreover, some people who suffer from respiratory diseases decide to move here.
Córdoba, Spain – Córdoba, Argentina
Most likely, when we read or hear the name Córdoba, we think about Spain for good reason. The name of this city in Argentina was inspired by Andalusian Córdoba, located in Spain. The full name is “Córdoba, the new Andalusia.”
A little on colonization – in 1573, Spain colonized Argentina, and you can quickly take notice of this while visiting the city, not only because of the main language – Spanish – but also because of the details in the architecture and a lot of Spanish traditions that are still alive. But what happened before colonization? I’m glad you asked. Before the Spaniards arrived, Córdoba was home to many native groups such as Comechingones, Sanavirones, and Ranqueles, among others. I would like to introduce you to the word “Comechingones” which comes from “Comi“ meaning mountain ranges, and “chingon“, meaning villages. Comechingones are people indigenous to the Argentine provinces of Córdoba and San Luis. To this day, Comechingones still dwell here. The following chart shows how Cordoban DNA is made up nowadays, a mixture of these indigenous peoples, Europeans, and African influence.
Data source: Uniciencia UNC
My trek in Córdoba was on a hill called Champaqui, a Comechingon word. Without further ado, let the adventures unfold!
Getting Closer to Nature
I have been living in Buenos Aires for two and a half years, and whenever I travel to Córdoba, I wish to get in contact with nature and peace. And this is something very characteristic about this amazing city. People travel from everywhere to spend some time in the mountains or next to the river. It also happens that people who live in the Capital city and cannot come during the week pay a visit to different small towns at the weekend. There they can go trekking or enjoy being close to nature and relax.
This year I had the chance to do a super interesting escape to Cerro Champaqui. As I have just mentioned, “Champaqui“ is a comechingón word, and it means “Water in the head“ or “Water on the peak“. The name comes from what you can see when you reach the highest level; most times of the year, you can find a small lagoon surrounded by plain rocks.
Getting up Early to Start Trekking
Every year, my dear friend Alejandro gathers a group of people to experience this trekking together, and this year was no different. We met at the same place at 4:30 in the morning, made small groups, got in the different available cars, and started a 4-hour road trip to one of the main entrances to the mountain.
Here we are – the 16 people that decided to enjoy this adventure together!
As you can see in the picture, we had loaded bags, carrying from 10 to 16 kilos each – approximately 28.66 pounds. We had sleeping bags, food, clothes, and water for the three days. The main goal for the first day was to arrive at the camp base or “refugio” where we would spend the first night. It is very important to arrive there before it is dark because as soon as the sun goes down it is almost impossible to see anything. There are no signs or any indication that will guide you. Only those who know the mountain can recognize the way.
The last part of the video shows when we arrived at the refugio, the perfect timing for sunset and for having “merienda” – a snack. While some of us had a hot shower and some went directly to rest, others decided to spend a few more hours singing under the clear and full starry sky.
Trekking to the Top!
The next day we woke up at 6:30 am so we could be ready to trek to the peak – this was the most demanding part. On the first day, we trekked for more than 8 hours, carrying a lot of weight, but this was when we would climb to 2790 m.
The last kilometer was very intense and challenging. In the end, there was no road, and we had to climb the rocks. I have to admit, it was hard but worth it. In this last part, I started feeling a cold breeze that made me stop to put on a jacket and gloves. And then, for a few minutes everything else seemed to stop. I could feel my muscles very tired, but I still had a lot of adrenaline running through my body. My heart was pumping fast, and my breath was getting shorter with the height. And then, movement again, the view, a lot of people coming and going, chatting, and giving us encouragement for the last part.
I was climbing, undergoing all those sensations, completely exhausted when suddenly I realized that there was no more climbing! I was on the highest peak in the entire city of Córdoba, with the most spectacular 360º view! Only then did I realize that all the effort was worth it, and even though there were a lot of moments when I wanted to stop and rest forever, I made it!
We spent the following two hours watching the views and sharing time with my trekking friends.
Meditating submerged in Nature
I am happiest when I come into full contact with nature because time becomes valuable, full of experiences and sensations. There is no internet connection, and the natural world beats the modern world, which allows us to connect a lot with nature and each other. The conversations were usually about very different subjects from the ones you would have on a normal day in the city, even with the same people. We talked about very deep, intense, emotional topics, and once we ended the walk, we all felt as if we were a family.
I believe that magic mostly happens when surrounded by nature, disconnected from everything you are used to in your normal life. It’s about being fully present and “in” the moment. And this is a typical experience in Córdoba. There are many different treks, mountains, and rivers to visit. I strongly encourage you to visit this unique place and if you are far away I urge you to create your own natural escape. Taking a break from concrete and technology allows us to connect with ourselves deeply.
Written by Virginia González
If you liked this read, here is a link to Virginia’s previous article on her magical adventures in Amsterdam.