Dogtag Blogger Amy Dyduch checks in with the first of many awesome updates from her big tour of South America.
Colombia - Amy Dyduch - Dogtag Blogger from Dogtag Travel Insurance on Vimeo.
Crawling out of my tent to vomit on a pristine beach in one of Colombia’s protected national parks, is not how I pictured my travels. Having trekked in the Himalayas, Ben Nevis and the Alps, I thought I was a fairly adequate hiker. As it turns out, my English rose of a body doesn’t do well in the heat and humidity of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
One of Colombia’s most popular national parks, Tayrona, covers 15,000 hectares with palm-shaded coves and coastal lagoons. We make our way up and down the trail, jumping through muddy ground, losing our shoes to the squelch, and trying to balance beam across a river over a wobbly log. If I was doing the same trek in say, the UK, with a fresh breeze, cool air, and a bit of rain to keep me in check, I probably would have whizzed through without a problem. The Caribbean jungle, however, is not so friendly to me.
Our efforts are rewarded with a postcard-worthy white sandy beach, where we charge into the clear waters to cool off after our three-hour journey.
On the way back I am struggling a lot. My body feels weak and my head fuzzy. I didn’t realise I was this unfit. When we arrive to our campsite on the beach for the night, I am drunk with exhaustion. I pitifully crawl into the tent at 6pm, only to surface two hours later to purge under the majestic palm trees, and then again, and again, and…. you get the picture. I later discover I have picked up a virus, probably from my travel buddy, who suffered the same just a few days before. The beautiful beaches of Tayrona National Park are marginally less beautiful after that night.
Our travels continue in nearby Minca, where we hike through dense jungle, pass through rich forests of cacao trees and stumble upon abandoned buildings. We meander uphill to reach a viewpoint of the mountains and the ocean.
After feeling like we are getting a bit lost, we meet a dog who seems to know where he is going. We follow him for about an hour, and when the trail becomes ridiculously overgrown, our new friend doesn’t seem so sure of the way. Never work with children or animals!
We duck through the hairy jungle, climbing over fallen branches and traversing carefully on thin muddy paths teetering over mountain ledges. Multiple slips and trips later, I realise that battered running shoes, which have been sewn up by a Colombian shoe-mender on the street corner, may not be the best footwear for trekking.
Luckily, we find some locals who tell us if we carry on, we are heading deeper into the jungle and further away from the viewpoint we are aiming for, which, by the way, was in the totally opposite direction! Oh well, can’t win them all.
While romanticising about scaling large mountains for the adventures and epic views, I often forget about the challenges it brings. But the people on the trail, being in nature, and the bizarre things that happen, make it all worthwhile.
And so, I push forward in my trekking escapades to Peru…
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