So Neil and I decided to hike up to Jesus Christ today. I was not expecting to sweat as much as I did.
I got the idea from Couchsurfing, where a local Brazilian, Cassio, who runs a hostel here in Rio leads a free weekly guided hike up the trail to Cristo Redentor from within Parque Lage (a nice park). Sure his description of the hike was that it was a hike “only if your a don’t-give-up-no-matter-what type of person.” But Neil and I are in good shape, I thought. It’ll probably be a piece of cake. No problem!
According to the Corcovado official website, this trail is Very Difficult, takes you to up to an altitude of about 704 meters (~2300 feet, or 0.43 miles high), is 2240 meters long (~1.4 miles), and takes about 2.5 hours to complete.
Here’s a little map of the trail to give you an idea of how long it was:
We met up with Cassio and some other hikers in Parque Lage around 1pm, which, in Brazilian time, means we got there around 1:20pm, and waited around until 2pm for the whole group to show up. Around 2:15pm, we started our hike.
The first 20 minutes or so were very easy. The incline was slight, and the path was clear. Our group made it easily to a little creek and mini-waterfall, where Cassio took a seat and took out his pipe. I was antsy to continue up the trail to see how hard it was really going to get, but Cassio seemed to be takin’ it real easy. After a few minutes he asked for everyone’s attention and said solemnly that from here on out, everyone should go at their own pace.
He pointed to a couple of steep slippery steps on the side of a large boulder and said, “This is where the trail continues. You can start whenever you want.”
Neil and I, along with another hiker, eagerly started up the steps first. It obviously wasn’t a competition, but well.. somehow it was. To the overgrown and competitive child that I am, it was definitely a competition to see who could get to the top first.
…Then, of course, within about 7 minutes, I was panting. Hard. And dripping sweat.
The trail was very steep, slippery from the humidity and recent rain, and the “ground” was primarily formed of giant boulders and tree roots. At one point, there was a long chain somehow nailed into the side of a boulder that was meant to help you scale it. …Lolwut.
Eventually I had to pause and take a breath. I had been hoping that I wouldn’t have to rest, but the trail was THAT hard, that I had to stop for a few minutes, sweat pouring — I mean POURING, like you could’ve taken a shower under it — from my head and face, to catch my breath.
…This was definitely Neil’s and my idea of fun. :)
After about 30 minutes of intense upward climbing (at this point it was much more climbing and scrambling than it was “hiking”), Neil and I finally made it to the end of the trail. Annnnnnddd yes maybe we did end up finishing first.. Hehe. :)
We sat around and waiting for the others to show up, which ended up being about another 20 minutes. That was perfectly fine with me!
After the group had all arrived at the end of the trail, Cassio led us up along the train tracks some more for a spectacular view…
So all in all the hike didn’t end up taking 2.5 hours. But it definitely took a good hour of some solid legwork (and upper body strength, surprisingly!). It was a little dangerous, as it was slippery, and the footholds were not flat or easy to grip, but it was definitely a hell of a lot of fun and a bit of an adventure.
I’m super impressed that Cassio leads this hike every Monday! Hardcore dude! I think maybe one of these days I’ll go again just for the hell of it.. :)