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Published: April 19th 2009
Day 726 (25.03.09)
Having had some more leisurely starts to our days it came as a bit of a shock when we got up for the 7.30am jeep from Salento out to Cocora for another day of walking.
With its huge, lanky looking rubber palms and stunning walking it is an obvious and not to be missed days walking if you're in the area and we set off excited for more exercise and fresh air. Cramming 12 (not including the driver) onto our jeep which has seats for only 6 we ended up with Mark on the roof and many more hanging onto the back and sides of the jeep. We took the stunning 20 min drive out to the start of the walk where with all the passengers getting off you could almost hear the relief from the jeep's suspension.
Unfortunately there is no map of the area and despite the uneasy feeling of walking off into the Columbian wilderness unaided we had been told the routes were very easy to follow. Decision number one occurred after just 5 or so metres and in retrospect this was our one and only mistake...
Left (our choice) started
off with a stunning road and path away from the scattered buildings where we got dropped off. Nice, everything going well. Things got even better when we got joined by an awesome little dog who we named 'Allan'. Crossing a river on some shaky "bridges" we climbed further into the forest. The further we climbed the muddier it seemed to be getting, but with Allan and other local wildlife including a monkey, a huge vole like thing and some humming birds we were sufficiently entertained to not worry about the deteriorating path... things however were to become much harder going!
A second fork and another decision, we had become a little separated with Vic and Allan leading the way and us two a little further back we were not sure which way they had gone. Opting for one route we stopped pretty sure it was the wrong one which was confirmed a few seconds later when Allan came bounding around the corner to find us and once again point us in the right direction for the loop. Superb, back together and back on track!
As we climbed the going got tough. Really fun but tough. The mud thickened
and the gradient steepened making us slip back with every step as well as dragging our clogged walking shoes out of the bog for each step. The path seemed to last forever and when we reached the flatter summit and started to descend once more our hearts did lift. Over the worst but still with some slippery down hill sections to navigate we all met up for a bite to eat in the mist with Allan also now caked in mud. By now Allan had joined us for a good 3 hour walk and we felt he deserved a treat. We quickly learned however that sugary snacks and an energetic dog didn't mix very well as he started to bound around like a crazy thing as we carried on the walk.
Reaching a solid road only a few minutes later we decided to carry on our walk up through the mist shrouded forest where we stumbled upon the 'ranger station' and settled in for a proper lunch and some time to take in the amazing mountain scenery with loads of humming birds also lunching it on the local flowers. Stunning.
Wending our way back along another river and
through some beautiful open pasture lands dotted with more rubber palms we arrived back at the jeep drop off feeling exhausted.
Treating ourselves to yet another trout dinner - well its just so damn good here - we crashed and spent the afternoon and evening relaxing.
Day 727 (26.03.09)
Well today it was exactly 2 years since we left home to begin our trip and what was on the agenda? Travelling! We left Salento, changed buses in Armenia and got to Cali in time for a steak dinner to celebrate.
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