As a rule, I don’t hike. I also don’t go for drives. It’s not that I don’t run or mountain bike or even walk places, I do. I just don’t see the point of meandering somewhere without a purpose.
On Wednesday, I hiked. I hiked for 6 hours. In my mind, those totally makes up for all the past hikes I’ve bowed out of.
Our group of 15 started out in the village of Minca, a one hour drive from Santa Marta in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park, Colombia’s second oldest national park. In 1979 the park was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO and in 2013 was identified as the most irreplaceable park in the world for threatened species.
The purpose: to visit the Minca waterfall, swim in the natural pools, learn about coffee (some of the world’s best and most expensive is grown organically here) and discover the true nature and medicinal properties of chocolate (some of the world’s most expensive cacao grows wild here.)
This hike was no joke. People sometimes kid themselves about their physical stamina or ability. But, if the guide says there are two choices: an easy route and a difficult route, that’s the time to get real about your personal abilities. Or you will get hurt.
Barefoot and carrying our bags slung over our backs, we scrambled over rocks and boulders, traversed quick moving streams and climbed precariously up the sides of hills, often snaking through barbed wire fences along the road less traveled.
All of it was murder on my pedicure.
Lunch, and the opportunity for a true rest, wouldn’t come until the much later afternoon. But let me tell you how awesome that grilled chicken was… like the BEST I’ve ever had!
P.S. You’ll notice I’m wearing earrings. Being one with nature does not absolve one of decently accessorizing. Just sayin’.