Parque Nacional da Tijuca: First Visit!

Lilly, Leetal, Jenna, and I got up at the buttcrack of dawn this morning to go see the rainforest at the National Park of Tijuca. This park is friggin huge. Like, HUGE.

We took a bus from Copacabana to Jardim Botânico (the bus ride took around 35-40 minutes), and got off just 10 minutes from the entrance to the park. We walked up a residential street until we found the entrance..

Entrance to the park!

Entrance to the park!

Before long, we came upon a sign that read “Cachoeiras do Quebra e Chuveiro,” which, I believe, is the name of this series of little waterfalls.

"Trail level: EASY" my ass.

“Trail level: EASY” my ass.

Enticed by the indication on this sign that the hike would be “level: easy,” we began to ascend.. Until we came upon this sign.

"Warning: Dangerous Track, Life in Danger." Uhhh yeah, and you're gonna give me a rusty chain to help?

“Warning: Dangerous Track, Life in Danger.” Uhhh yeah, and you’re gonna give me a rusty chain to help?

Yup, a rusty chain is nailed into the side of the slippery, wet boulder, to help you get to the other side. At this point, I went ahead to see how difficult it was exactly, while the girls stayed behind (allegedly they tried to make it across after I left them, but didn’t manage..).

I managed to make it all the way to see the waterfall at the end, which took about 10 minutes of scrambling over slippery rocks and tree roots, sometimes at a pretty steep incline. At one point during the ascent, I had to climb around a giant tree using its roots on a steep ledge. Here’s a photo of this climb, looking down from the rocky ledge by the tree.

The "easy" trail to see the waterfall...

The “easy” trail to see the waterfall…

I made my way back to the girls, and we started our descent down. Here’s a photo of them climbing down to give you an idea of how steep and slippery it was..!

More of the "easy" trail to see the waterfall...

More of the “easy” trail to see the waterfall…

Totally my idea of fun. :)

We then continued along the road through the forest towards the famous “Vista Chinesa” (the Chinese View), which is called that because of the pagoda that was constructed there to shield visitors from the sun. It took us about 35-40 minutes of walking uphill to get there from the waterfalls. Definitely got my heart rate up, and we were actually glad that it was foggy and cool, rather than glaringly sunny.

The view as we approached the Vista Chinesa..

Vista Chinesa!

Vista Chinesa!

And here’s the beautiful view of Rio from the top of Vista Chinesa.

The beautiful view from the top of the Vista Chinesa...

The beautiful view from the top of the Vista Chinesa…

Yup, totally foggy. Couldn’t see a thing. There was, however, a little photo poster to the side, showing you what the view looks like and pointing out all the points of interest you can see from here. Oh, great. Thanks for pointing out all the things we CAN’T see right now.

It then started raining hard enough that we were hesitant to start walking downhill again. It would take us about an hour..! Luckily, some of the construction workers who had been working on the pagoda were packing up and leaving, since the rain was interfering with their work. They offered us a ride to the bottom of the park in their work van. :)

Getting a ride from some construction workers down the giant hill. :)

Getting a ride from some construction workers down the giant hill. :)

And then I went to Jiu Jitsu.. :)

OH WE SAW A MONKEY TOO!!!

This is monkey-sighting #2 for me in Rio de Janeiro.. :)

This is monkey-sighting #2 for me in Rio de Janeiro.. :)

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