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Back You are here: Home Columns Columns John Pint A vanished volcano, mysterious giants, gorgeous views and a soothing hot river

A vanished volcano, mysterious giants, gorgeous views and a soothing hot river

Years ago I was told tales about “two stone giants” standing guard over ruins deep inside one of the barrancas of the ubiquitous Santiago River. The exact location of those monos, as people call them, escaped me until yesterday, when my friend Rodrigo Orozco offered to show them to me.

We drove east along the northern Periférico until we came to a rather shabby-looking barrio romantically but deceptively named Jardines Del Prado (Meadow Gardens). Here a winding cobblestone road leads you down to a checkpoint manned by armed guards. “Proceed no further,” they told us, “unless you have written permission from the State Water Commission.” Fortunately, we did have permission from on high and were allowed to continue along “El Camino a La Planta Potabilizadora Colimilla.”

No sooner had we passed the guards than we caught a glimpse of the river below us with a towering canyon wall on the other side. Although the Santiago is horribly polluted at many points, here we could discern no bad smell and to tell you the truth, we were astounded at the beauty of the scene. It was dead quiet. White and gray egrets were frolicking in the river which was full of fish, and on a branch above the water a kingfisher was preparing to dive. On the canyon wall behind us, a lacy waterfall was trickling. It was hard to believe we were only 13 kilometers from the bustling Periférico.

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