Searching for adrenaline, we found out a sport for all ages and physical fitness conditions guided by experts a few kilometers away from the city.
We met Pablo Zelaya while we were eating some delicious empanadas
at Lola Mora Restaurant, in Yerba Buena, near the city
, in the company of our hosts Eduardo and Patricio. It was a good moment to start chatting and learn about his passion for the mountain and the practice of related activities.
Mount San Javier is the setting for many groups of sportsmen of various specialties: paragliding, hang gliding, rappelling or simply cycling, horseback riding or hiking. It is amazing to see the large number of people who take advantage of the afternoon to go up and down the hill practicing any of these disciplines. The freshness of the yunga
in San Javier is a break from the city heat and the main reason why the inhabitants of Tucumán choose this zone.Preliminaries
We went up by car following Aconquija Avenue in an area known as El Corte, to get deep into the yunga
A natural reserve dependent on the National University of Tucumán is located at Horco Molle. It may be visited all year round. A guide provides explanations about the typical local fauna and there are areas authorized for camping and picnics. Very near the aero club, we got past a motocross circuit called La Olla
. Little by little, we went up through the higher vegetation and got wrapped up by the mist. It was not a cloud but the humidity typical of this area.
We left the vehicle and started hiking along a narrow trail with a soft slope. Ferns, logs and hanging plants were the frame for our tour. A few sun beams would percolate through the leafy vegetation. As we went up, Pablo told us that some paragliders spread out lapacho
seeds from the air during a competition in order to counteract an invasive weed called “siempre verde”
(evergreen) that covers the native forest. We crossed some creeks and water falls and started to climb.
Rappelling is practiced in the area where a cable car was built to access the high part of the university campus. It was never used. We accessed the first of the six bridges. Then we continued hiking.Going down a Slope
We had walked for almost an hour when we finally reached the second bridge. Below, just a water thread.
Pablo mentioned each of the elements we would use: harness, rope, helmet, 2 rings, carabiners, etc. Everything was carefully assembled as our safety depended on that.
The group was made up by five inexperienced people and the first one to put on the harness and the ropes was Eduardo, who wished to photograph the activity. Pablo gave the necessary directions with extreme care plus a very clear explanation to handle gravity as we left the ground and hanged off while we descended with a minimum gear.
Each of us went down in almost perfect silence, without haste, bearing in mind everyone’s need. As we all were fifteen meters below, on solid ground next to the creek and enjoying the fresh aroma of the vegetation, laughter, applause and celebration burst out. It was time to take off the harnesses and chat.
Beyond the sport spirit portrayed by rappelling, this is a way of avoiding obstacles, slopes and rock walls for professional mountain climbers. And we just experienced one sample of all that can be done with ropes and carabiners.
Bearing low risk, it is ideal for those who have no previous instruction and are physically fit. Had it been a more expert group, we would have had other alternatives and other spots where to practice this discipline.
We thanked Pablo, who not only introduced us into this sport but also showed us his native Tucumán and left the door open to share other experiences with him and his people during our next visit.