When you have the last day of vacation, the last school year, the last paycheck, the last bachelor party even, there is always a hint of nostalgia for the feelings and emotions that flow into you. Well, it was no different with us! The last two weeks of this six month adventure! What do we want to do? The first thing we answered was, "let's go" into the mountain! Yes! One of the last days to touch the high mountains and peaks, "scratching" on narrow, winding paths.
We chose Los Nevados National Park. And we set out to question and seek as much information as possible. Everyone said they had to go with a tour guide, that it was terribly dangerous and other typical tips from people who had no idea from the park but had fears. Finally we went "where our eyes see". Los Nevados is a park with an 3 volcano, a changing eco system, many farms and promising views. So, for starters, we chose to get to a farm where we could go in three different directions, three different routes. We had to ask and gather up-to-date information about who is most suitable for us.
The first few hours were "like a song." The jungle, rocking wooden bridges crossing the rivers until we reached the first farm and were informed that we could not stay camping. We had to continue and spend the night on the trail. But won't the track change. The trail became so impossible that we climbed the last one kilometer for an hour and a half. Due to the rainy season and the many passing horses, the mud in some places reached its knees. With much imagination, we had to continue until we found a place to sleep.
We had to continue along the "terrible" path, which I define today as the most difficult transition I have ever made. Some places looked like "floating sands" before my eyes. We scraped through the bushes, pulling our hands on branches, roots, and whatever else we could get our hands on. We knew that a fall, in addition to a lot of mud, would cost us, and perhaps, injuries.
After 3 hours, we finally got out of the mud and the eco system changed. Suddenly tall trees were replaced by shrubs and the sun was darkened by a damp, cold mist. It looked scary! Yes! The wind was blowing, we had visibility not more than 20 meters and "behind the lid", a "Lost Zone" sign appeared in front of our eyes. It turned out that many people were lost in the area because of the thick fog. Oh, great! It couldn't be better! - I thought, but naturally I was wrong, because just after 10 minutes before us an even more pleasant sign came out: "Attention! Cougars are found in this area! " Anton reassured me as a true gentleman that if we crossed the paths they would not attack us. I told him I might have attacked the cougar first to insure myself. Female caution, what to do! Thank God we didn't meet the cougars!
In a few hours, in a few minutes the fog rose and we saw a farm in the distance. We arrived and woke up on earth "like shuddered." But look, after the 2 min, the smiling seigneur, with two lifting pairs of cups, approached us and handed them to us. We became the "proud owners" of cane sugar. We were itching and asked for lunch, and our seniors told us there was a loaf. Now we needed nothing more than to stretch our tent with a forceful force and stretch our backs for the rest of the day.
That day we decided to spend it on vacation. To do this, we asked where to go. They pointed us to a bair and left - there was no fog anyway and the weather predicted a pleasant walk. We headed down that hill, where not long after we found a path that led us to a beautiful canyon. We continued around the canyon and the fog did not slow down - we were again "forgotten" by our damp gloomy veil. Our views were replaced by gray, but our desire for walks remained. We kept hoping to see something anyway, until the rain drove us out and had to go back. Because we had taken that barrier in the fog, we didn't know exactly where we were going. We were hoping that the path we had chosen would take us to the farm. We were walking as we thought was necessary and just starting to worry when we saw the outline of the farm at 20 meters in front of us. The rest of the day, we decided to spend hiding from the rain. Still, time gave us no other option but to hope that it would be kind to us the next day.
We woke up to the sun! Amazing luck! The Tolimo volcano was almost in full splendor, so we headed quickly to the next farm, which was about to be 6 hours from us. Indeed, 6 hours later, after many descents and ascents and beautiful views for our unsuspecting eyes, we found ourselves at our destination for the day. But it was only 2 in the afternoon, so we decided to continue. However, the next day we had to get back to where we started, with 9 hours walking in the mountains and 3 hours by bus. So we decided to help ourselves and walk for at least another 2 hours. We walked for about an hour when the fog again attacked the Colombian and we had to stop and find a place for our mobile home. We camped and lay down. Our legs were pounding after 8 hours of walking. We were in the quietest place in the world, even the birds could not hear, and the mist created in us the feeling that we were in a "magical place on the edge of the world". We had no idea where we pitched the tent and what was around us.
The alarm rang at 4.30 in the morning. Ready for the long day, we had bread and cheese and it was time to head down to the village, which was about 7 hours from us. Anton left the tent. “Ehhhhh!” I heard from his mouth. My puffy eyes were excited by this reaction, so I hurried out and I - "not to stay behind." Uhhhhhhhhh! Are you serious? - I said in turn. We were in a corner of paradise.
The sky was clear. Before us, the sun was about to rise behind the dark mountains, and behind us the Tolimo volcano shone with its snowy peak in its full beauty, warmed by the moonlight. We planned to leave an hour soon, but these "magical" views did not give us a chance to leave. After four days around the volcano, for the first time, we saw him whole, with no clouds covering his top. We were in a "magical" place, which gave us one of the most beautiful mornings we have had so far. We stared in silence and with respect at this "scary" mountain rising above us and just turning to see if the sun would no longer rise and warm us with its first rays of the day.
We walked down to the village with such blissful smiles and so happy with what we saw that we couldn't help feeling like we were flying with happiness. Nothing that we had almost no food and had to walk all day again despite our tired legs, now more than ever we felt our hearts beat at the same rhythm as nature. Going down we realized that we did not have enough water during the day, so we sincerely hoped to find a farm. Our hope was rewarded by a beautiful 'finca' (farm) full of children, perfectly embodying family comfort. Our seniors stated that we had 5 hours left until the village, so according to these calculations, we had to be down at 13 hours. But it was 13 hours - the village could not be seen. 14 hours - also. We arrived in the village only at 15 hours. We went 9 hours down the steep paths, our feet had almost given up when we arrived. Our only purpose: "to go home!" Remained in force. So we quickly got into a car that took us to a nearby town where we could get a bus. "We were lucky!" - we thought then, since there were often buses and we got, of course, the cheapest. Alas! We got into a traffic jam caused by a crash and the road, which has been traversed for an hour and a half, passed it in 4 hours. Fortunately, I had settled down to a "hot blood" that, for a moment, did not leave me alone, to follow Anton's lead and fall asleep.
With leg pain, limping, with muddy clothes and shoes, in a condition we prefer not to be seen, we got home. Gifted with such soulful energy from the beautiful scenery that we can hardly forget this last mountainous South American Transition, which we today define as the most difficult! But as with everything else in life - our hardships have been rewarded!