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Climbing into the clouds of the Farallones

Guarding Cali from the west stand the Farallones mountains. Many go hiking and biking through the various trails, swimming in the rivers that flow out of the mountains, and climbing one of the three peaks: Pico de Oro, Pico de Pance, and Alto de Buey.

Lucky enough to have a friend to know a professional guide, we set off bright and early to the national Eco Parque de Rio Pance, with the goal of climbing the Pico de Oro, which has a height of 2830m (9290ft).

at the entrance of Centro de Educación Ambiental El Topacio, located at about ~1300m:

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We had been told beforehand that the path was mostly vertical – but I didn’t believe it. How are you supposed to walk up a vertical path? Turns out…

…you don’t. You climb, using spaces in the cliff for handholds, or in other parts where it’s not rocky, grasping the roots that jut out of the soil. 

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We encountered a flat open grassy part for about ten minutes! 

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View of Pico de Oro about an hour into the trip.. so close yet so far! 

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Professionals do the hike in three hours, amateurs (without a guide) . . have gotten lost and never found, given that the route forks and twists and it is not always clear which path to take. Our group managed in three and a half hours! Credit to our amazing guide and our muscles strong from the kickboxing classes at the university.

the only sign seen throughout the expedition

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Julian – the seasoned mountain adventurer – our guide

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 We also had a dog – man’s best friend! – join us on our quest!

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Climbing is a lot of fun, but towards the end, my muscles started to complain..  and then we reached the top. Success tasted so sweet. Soon after arrival, the clouds that were creeping in completely enveloped the summit, and we could see nothing. Just us, alone on the mountain top.

and, wow. just, wow. 

The views are breathtaking. A bit to the right lies the city of Cali in the valley.

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smiley faces feeling accomplished

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(no, that is not photoshop) Also, lunch + a nap never tasted better: 

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After a brief potluck lunch, we settled down for a rest. Some philosophical discussion, too. And then, the hike back down, which, because of its topographical complexity, took almost the same amount of time as the way up. I found it much more fun though, if only because I could jump down and pretend to be Tarzan. Or even better, living the adventures of the Fellowship of the Ring!

On the way down, we started singing the theme song of the Lord of the Rings

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and encountered this beautiful river + waterfall. felt so, so good. 

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great find, because I really needed a bath :)

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2013 by in travel and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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