Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 49 - Wagon Wheel

For breakfast we had fruit, granola and yogurt, (Ulrich made some egg and tomato fried rice and the guides were happy to finish the leftovers), packed up and went exploring. The rest of the group stayed behind and played pool at the ‘welcome center’ of Adan Bedoya’s happy camp for party people, aka Camp 1. Afterwards Ulrich and I had a gorgeous morning shower at the waterfall and we let little fish nibble the dead skin away from our feet and legs. Then we all set off around 10am. The trail was easy today, starting off relatively flat and with the mud quickly drying under an intense heat form the direct sunlight; the treading got easier and easier. About half hour into the trek the path began uphill and we all found our own personal pace. Diego was in first place, having left earlier than us with a loaded mule. Mette and Ulrich were ahead somewhere in the lead, I was in the middle, Ximena and Juan took it slow, and Miguel brought up the rear. It was nice to be on my own and the path through the forest was lively and beautiful.

After a long downhill segment we landed at another camp and indigenous village on the bend of a nice stream. Here we all reconviened, shared some pineapple and then resumed the trek. Flat and open, the trail now followed the huge and awesome Buritaca River. Ulrich was ecstatic about getting to it, checking out it’s course and imagining his first decent in a kayak. After 30 minutes along the magnificent river which was full of force and spendor from all the recent rain, we arrived at camp 2. It was just after 2pm. We swam in a forgiving spot in the river until Lunch was ready.

Today's song is Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. It was sung a lot around OEE Winter Camp and it makes me think of exploring and trekking into the great unknown with close friends.

After lunch Ulrich and I indulged in Switters while sharing a hammock and resting out muscles. Later we walked a bit ahead along the trail to see more of the river and satisfy Ulrich's fierce curiosity and desire for information about the condition of the river. Someone at camp 2 had spoken about the British girl (now known primarily as “La Gorda”) being taken off the mountain by helicopter earlier that morning, so you can imagine our surprise when we saw a platinum blonde girl, sporting an ankle brace and walking stick, being aided by a Colombian girl, making their way along the path towards us. You can imagine our secondary surprise, when we asked if she was in fact the injured Brit, to see that she was carrying barely more than a few extra pounds of chubbiness compared to me. Ah, muy gorda, indeed.

The Colombian and the Brit had not managed a helicopter rescue and they planned to camp at lovely camp 2 with us for the night and continue their descent on mule-back in the morning. We had a nice pre-dinner swim together and then enjoyed exchanges with new people over dinner. Ulrich got the inside scoop on the Buritaca River form the newly arrived guides. It turns out that people had come to scope it out a few years ago, but never ended up running it. Also there seemed to be rising interest and curisosity from the locals and guides about starting up a rafting tour. Ulrich was inspired and excited! After dinner, we all retired to beds, not hammocks, which was a nice luxury for couples at camp 2.

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