On the last day in Rio de Janeiro, Julia and Cauan took us to Pedra da Gavea, an 842m high hill at the south west of Rio de Janeiro. It was still part of the National Park of Tijuca. Previously there was an overnight hike by another couchsurfer but it was cancelled. We looked forward to this hike.
Richard joined us walking to Julia's apartment. We arrived at 9am as planned and the couple were still not quite awake. We made breakfast for them but they did not eat much. They didn't have much water left so I used the water filter to fill up the water-bag. We squeezed in their tiny land rover and set off at 10:30am. There were two other friends going along so we had to go to the entrance from the ground (around 5-10 mins away) in two batches.
It was all the way uphill starting from the forest. There were shades all along so it was comfortable even with the hot Brazilian sun. There were many jackfruit trees, we heard that locals prefer it less than other fruits and only farmer's markets but not supermarket sell it. We also saw a very small breed of monkeys of which the name we did not know.
About 2 hours later we reached near the top where we saw some upright rock wall. People are doing rock climbing there, we followed their path and climbed up a little; it was not difficult for us, certainly too easy for Richard who grew up in Arizona, but a challenge for Julia. The couple stayed there and we walked on. On the top there was large rock surface for one to bevee and this should really give a good view for sunrise and sunset (although no-water is an issue).
It is a great view of the city and even higher than the christ statue and the sugar loaf. And it is free! We don't need to pay entrance fee!
We got down to the entrance at around 4pm, thirsty and exhausted, different from what had been said that it was only a 2-hour-hike. I went to find water, sneaked in someone water tank to get some water, when Maria got coke from the park guard and was allowed to use the toilet (!). (M: Nice guard! We watched news on TV together, it seems to be riot in Sao Paolo, where some people are not happy with the Samba competition result and a guy ran to the judges, snatched the adjudication paper, torn it to pieces and ran away, he was caught afterwards; other some others burnt down a float!)
The couple and their friends came half-an-hour later. We went down to a restaurant with all-you-can-eat for R$30(with tips) and also buy-one-get-one-free for drink.
It is a good ending for our stay in Rio de Janeiro and we shall be back.