Micah: Unmitigated

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Going Back to Cali

May 27th, 2010 at 14:45

Since my last communication with all of you, I have been in the mountains with mixed results. I also feel the need to add the following note: I am having a great time, even though everything may not workout as planned. That being said, here is a quick recap of the past week.

Salento, Colombia: Small mountain town, gateway to the Valle de Cocora, and a weekend getaway spot for well-to-do Colombians. Arriving there on a Saturday, I saw it in full bloom. Tents filled the plaza square and young men tried to force menus through car windows. I enjoyed walking the one main street and the cooler temperatures.

I woke up early Sunday to check out the Valle de Cocora, filled with towering Wax Palm trees and cloud covered forest. After the jeep ride out to the Cocora, I joined up with the only other foreigner in sight to walk around. A young lady who just happened to be a UW graduate from Seattle. Despite our rivalry, we walked the first hour or so together, before the trail got too dificult for her unlaced keds. She was a short timer, taking a month vacation after quitting her job and before sarting an international masters program in South Carolina. After we parted ways, the trail reminded me of hiking in the Pacific NW, following a river in thick green forest with cloudy skies. At the end of the path, a lodge served me a splendid tea with a piece of cheese and hummingbirds for entertainment.

The route back was down an access road and provided amazing valley views.

Valle de Cocora

Valle de Cocora

And also provided me with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Wax Palm trees.

that´s me in the middle

that´s me in the middle

Arriving back in Salento, a little bit of water began to fall from the sky, blocking any views from the hill in town, which I climbed for some reason.  Leaving the next morning, the sky couldn’t have been clearer and I contemplated staying another day, but pressed on to my next mountain destination.

Pance, Colombia: Very small mountain town that is more of a summer camp/resort type of destination. The journey there was difficult, mostly due to the 30 minutes I spent walking around the Cali bus station, looking for the bus because of an unhelpful info desk. Upon arrival in Pance, I had to trust the old lady I asked for directions, and continue the hike uphill. My lodgings were a large nature reserve, that hugs the Rio Pance. They showed me a tent where I could lay may head and told me that their casa was my casa.

the grounds

the grounds

In the pic above, my campsite is at the top of the open field. In the background, you can see a glimpse of the mountains that tower above. It was a quiet place, besides the hippies that lived there playing bongos at night and singing ¨Me gusta marijuana!¨.  I did a few hikes: one to a nearby waterfall and the other toward the peaks, but in the rain so no views. It rained a lot which forced me into my tent to read. The other problem: being there during the week, the place was not as willing to serve me food. I got a great meal the first night, but was unsuccessful after that, as they decided to have work done on the kitchen. This forced me into walking the 1 km into town in search of some type of sustenance from the local tiendas. One night I ate a medium size bag of potato chips and 4 different types of sugary desserts.  Twice, I was lucky and a lady had some hot food on display, but that was over 3 days.

So, my rain filled days of starvation in Pance didn’t go as planned. I limped back down into the city of Cali and am now drying out. I expect to stay 2 nights here before continuing south to see some ruins. I will attempt to fix my footwear with some super glue and hope that they hold up for the duration of my trip.

A few speed bumps in the road, but those are expected. I am not on a typical vacation and tell myself that it is all about the experiences and the knowledge gained rather than a relaxing, stress free holiday. Comparto tu lluvia

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One Response to “Going Back to Cali”

  1. Stanley Says:

    You’re rolling, brother. You seem to be finding some exciting places off the beaten track. Well done. Why no dinner invitation for the young lady though? Not your type? I feel bad for her that you rejected her in that way…