Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some updates since my last post down here in South America:  Although the general idea is to be heading south to Peru, one month in Matt and I are north of our starting point in the old Colonial city of Cartagena.  Hopefully, we will be able to find a night bus tonight and begin heading south.  Other than that, we don´t have a whole lot the way of plans; perhaps and Amazon boat ride to Peru is in order?  Some of the highlights so far have been:                                                                                                                      El Cocuy National Park Trek.  After taking a 10 hour bus ride on dirt roads until the road ended, we stepped out of the bus to a cold crisp morning in a tiny village high in the mountains.  Following a day spent talking to various guides, we set off early the next morning to begin the trek.  First, we had to get to the park, which meant hitching a ride on the milk truck as it made the rounds to the high mountain farms.  Then, we set out on six days of the most amazing backpacking I have ever seen.  Snow fields, soaring mountain peaks, ghostly plants, awe inspiring waterfalls, mountain lakes, and unearthly landscapes greeted us through the intermittent rainy mists and bright sunlight that swept through the mountains.  Meanwhile, Matt and I both struggled to acclimate the lack of oxygen and extremely cold nights that accompanied the 14,000 to 16,000 feet of elevation.  Thankfully, our guide, Edwin, kept up a steady supply of soup and Coca tea for us in camp and kept us from wondering off into the mist from the trail.  In a moment of inspiration, I realized that by skinning the furry bark off of dead high altitude frilejone plants (hundreds of years old), I was able to create another level of insulation for the cold nights in the tent.  All in all, one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life!                                                                          After that, we made swift tracks north to the Carribean coast to recover among the palms and white sands near Santa Marta.  After trying an intro to Scuba diving class among the coral, we found a beach side backpacker and surfer campground where we spent a couple days enjoying fresh coconuts and playing beach volleyball with new friends.  Between hammock time, I was able to get a surfing lesson.  I only managed to successfully stand up for a second or two, but it was loads of fun!       After that, we headed to Cartagena, the Spanish colonial town straight out of a Pirates of the Carribean set (interestingly enough, it´s trademark walls and forts are a result of the multiple pirate attacks over the years).  After spending a couple days wandering the old streets and eating gelatto, we´re ready to hit the road again and begin heading south.  Here´s some of the photos I´ve taken so far, though there are far better ones on Matt´s photo blog at  bogotatolima.tumblr.com

No comments:

Post a Comment