RodI was in Chiquian in 2008 for the Festival of Santa Rosa (what a party!). During a break in the festivities I took a chance and tried hiking up one of the surrounding hills. While I was chastised later for going off by myself, I considered it well worth it as I was rewarded with some spectacular views of the town. I started by the water treatment plant and just started heading up, no plan other than just to see how far I could get. Being from Florida (“flat” Florida) I was winded from just the 10 or so steps up from the street! But after a brief rest and I was ready for the next short climb. And that’s how I went, I would hike a couple minutes and then take a 5 minute breather! The thin air can really do a number on someone not used to it (like me!). After a little ways, I happened upon a small stream and just followed that up most of the way. A nice little cow path paralleled the stream so the going was pretty easy. The hillsides are nicely terraced with small little houses every so often, but not a soul in sight as everyone was down in the town for the parties. I made it nearly to the top of my hill (after about 4 hours of trekking!) but was denied at the end by a wooden fence. I could have easily hopped the fence but I didn’t want to offend any of the locals so I made do with the height I reached. I had a tremendous view of the town and surrounding countryside, and even the far off white capped mountains, a very serene and peaceful way to spend the afternoon. A word about the flora though – it is lethal! J I found more than my share of bushes with no less than 3 inch needles! A few of which found their way into my shoes, my legs, and my hands! The locals where actually using branches from these bushes as make shift fences. Even the cows knew better than to get too close to those things! On the way down things got a little dicey, I had wandered away from the path by the stream so I had to do a few controlled and not so controlled slides down some of the terraced fields. Once I jumped down into what looked to be a nice soft blanket of vines, unfortunately they were more like stinging nettles than vines! I was paying for that one for several hours! But all was well after I got back to town, especially after a couple glasses of Chingrita! Pain all gone! :)

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