dripping in the morning
wild orchids banana flowers
thick vines drape los palos del sol & great white cedar,
Others w/ five foot green elephant ears flopping,
hundreds of butterflies, orange caterpillars, blue
mosquitos, pink mushrooms,
& industrious leaf cutting ants commuting w/ hunks of
green to store in infinite
ant caverns & nourish among the fungus formed
tiny crimson roots twist around larger roots twisting
around thicker branches spriraling around
larger trunks of trees, disneyesque the organic
biospheric plumbing in the world
& a black butterfly w/ red striped wings flutters
without a sound
through the billions of green leaves quivering moist in
the patchy sunlight
I arrived in Merida quite late and found a posada with a Spanish tiled courtyard for the night. The next morning I walked down to Parque Las Heroinas, wanting to find people to go rock climbing with. There was a posada & Carlos me dijo, "Hay un trek de cuatro dias a Pico Humboldt, si te quieres a ir." I understood that to mean, "there's a hike in the mountains, if you want to go it's four days." I walked around more, returned and said okay, why not. Little did I know that Humboldt is the second tallest mountain in the Venezuelan Andes, topping out at 16,210 feet.
That night I met Vanessa and Lenin- both from Caracas- and both doing the hike with me. I joined a group, all of whom speak only Spanish, uno poquitito Ingles. Fue una experiencia interesante, y dificil, to say the least. We went over gear, what to pack. Morral, guantes, proteccion de sol, jaqueta impermeable, carpa, saco de dormir, gorra, sueters... I said I had a morral so it was all good- just borrowed the rest.
Next morning I went to the panaderia (bakery) for cafe y desayuno. Tambien pan de guayaba por mas tarde en el dia. I finally figured out that the coffee is actually espresso... so now I understand the strange look I received when I requested a grandisimo cafe sin leche, solamente un poquito azucar. Most people get one or two shots, y con leche... Mine was probably four. Perfecto.
I brought my backpack down and Annerys, the guia, took one look and said no, too small. My 35L pack I'd brought from the states was swapped for a 70L pack. Ridiculous, considering I had five weeks in a 35L, yet this "walk" necessitated a 70L. In hindsight, the bigger packs are nice- have padding and all that. Plus my pack was a bit broken- had furiously tried to sew it up the night prior. Funnily enough, the hip strap on the 70L lacked closure so we had to hand tie it. Needless to say, I didn't take it off as often as I'd have liked!
All our stuff packed and ready, we clambered into an old school Toyota Land Cruiser for forty minutes til we reached La Mucuy & the Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada ~5300 feet elevation. Absolutely gorgeous hike up through the rainforest. The day concluded, soaking wet and real cold, at 3300m (10,900 ft) at Laguna Coromoto.
Next day hiked 600m higher to end at La Laguna Verde, about a five hour walk. In such a beautiful location, one would not expect livestock. Low & behold, the raucous MOOOOOO of cattle.
a la orden
Returned from Pico Humboldt. Waiting to meet up with Annerys, Apollo, and Vanessa for dinner.
Humboldt was quite the trip. The rainforest is amazing and pictures will never do it proper justice. In slight, it enchanted me. A tree with a little tree growing in its canopy. Cloud forests where layers upon layers of moss trees, plants of green are existing upon a solid white backdrop. The flowers.
And actually climbing Humboldt was quite an experience too. Very difficult. I am accustomed to snow, but all the rocks threw me. I was cocky the first night and slipped, bruising my knee and twisting my ankle. To have luck to not be dead is to be grateful for life.