The above picture is the view from one side of our house, and those mountains in the distance can be seen from all over Santiago. It seems that on every clear night, people are hiking the mountains.
Right after sunset, when it’s dark, headlamps switch on at the summit. Until about 11pm, we see headlamps flashing on different trails on the mountain. Some hikers heading down from the sunset view and others heading up for a nighttime view of a city of seven million.
Seeing the headlamps move around the mountain for hours is a strangely remarkable and comforting site. It’s a sign the world turns.
It also reminds me of the value of urbanites being able to easily venture into nature, which made me recall the vision of the Appalachian Trail in the United States.
The Appalachian Trail’s ultimate purpose is to conserve, use, and enjoy the mountain hinterland which penetrates the populous portion of America from north to south. The Trail is a means for making the land accessible. The trailway should ‘open up’ a country as an escape from civilization.
–Benton Mackaye, founding meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conference, March 2-3, 1925