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Volcanoe Camping

Bogota, Colombia

I just watched a video Gary sent me of Jamie's birthday party. Everyone was decked out in cheezy 90's outfits - heh heh, nothing like a costume party make ol' Ryan miss home.

No worries folks, I'm not throwing in the towel and coming home. Nope. In fact, I just got my ticket to Mexico! There I was, complaining to the lady at the front desk of my hostel how I can't buy a ticket online when in walks a Venezuelan travel agent telling me she can get me a cheap ticket. Talk about perfect timing. So I'll be heading to Districto Federal (a.k.a. Mexico City) on October 8th on a cheaper ticket than I could find online! Woot woot!

Alrighty, so that's where I stand now. Saturday night though, I was standing on the side of an active volcanoe looking for firewood in the moonlight. And what a moon it was! Full and shiny, smiling down at us camping. Although, last night on the bus I thought that when the moon's face is tilted slightly he kinda looks like Jesus's face when he's hanging on the cross. Ya know, with his mouth open, eyes all glossy and looking down to his left. You see that picture on tons of buses here.

Anywho, Mat decided to stay for the camping trip on the volcanoe. I'm glad he did cause he's a super positive guy. Brings a good dynamic to the group. Plus, without him it would have been Melisa, her boyfriend, me and La Negra - the crazy girl from the other night. Oooh, that woulda been too coupley.

Mat and I packed up our stuff and sucked up our hangover, strapped on our shoes and mosied onto Melisa's house, where we had to wait an hour for Santo and La Negra to show up. Except they never showed up. By 1 in the afternoon I still hadn't eaten, so Mat, Melisa and I grabbed some greasy empanadas and the oldest hotdog I've ever had. HACIP would have a field day. Santo and La Negra eventually met us, then we had to buy groceries and gasoline. By the time we left it was 4:30, which only gave us one and a half more hours of sunlight for the 2 hour hike ahead of us.

To cut some time we bussed the first part. We later spent that saved time ooohing and awing at a beautiful waterfall - something like 40 meters high and only accessable by hiking through dense bush and then scaling a rock face.

When I think of camping back home it always involves driving out with my car so packed full of stuff that there's barely enough room for passengers. Then you arrive to site 8 on circle B with an outlet and a picnic table by the grilled firepit. Nope, not here. We had to walk all of our stuff up. Yup, all the way up this volcanoe that apparently errupted on Tuesday. La Negra said it was a "code orange alert".

At first the path was easy, breazey, beautiful - it was wonderful, girl. As the sun set the path started to get tricky. The dirt path would slide away under you with each step, sending a dusty shower to everyone below. There was enough dust to inspire a full Woodie Guthrie album. Plus, around this area there weren't any roots to give your feet grip either. And the rocks you did grip would just come loose and happily bounce down the hill.

After the dusty dirt came the crumbly rock face. It was exactly as it sounds. Mat went first, which sent rocks whizzing past our heads. We desperately asked him to stop, but even when he was just standing there dust would shower down with the odd rock. After that we figured it best to go one at a time. While we were deciding this I was hanging on the side of a horizontal rock face with every limb clenched, dust in my face and sneezing like mad. Man did it ever get dark fast.

Once we passed the crumbly rock face Mat and I took out our head lamps - woowee, great purchases those were!! And we were the only ones in the group with them. Even with the headlamps it was tough to spot a way through the root maze. At one point I had to take off my back pack - the big one - and throw it uphill through the roots. Although Canadians invented basketball, I still contest that we aren't very good at it. The roots were entangled such that I had to toss my bag exactly top-to-bottom through the hole - no other way - then climb through and repeat on the next root hoop.

After that was a much easier spot of just thick dirt clouds, but with trees and roots to grab onto. Finally, finally at the top was a tiny creak that feeds the water fall. This is where we camped. Mat and I both decided that the hike was the highlight of the trip. Equally as hard as Machu Picchu or Lost City, but in the dark, with dust up your nose, sneezing and rocks flying by your head ontop of an active volcanoe!

What a relief to arrive. Mat built a fire and La Negra cooked while Santo and I set up the tents. Melisa took off her wet shoes.

Like I said earlier, the moon was amazing. Once the glowing Jesus-on-the-cross rose there was no need for flashlights during our countless fire runs. Ya know, even in the remote bush on the side of the volcanoe you can find garbage. During one wood run we found a TV. Just the outside though. I can't imagine the reception would be very good. At least it made for some fun photos.

Anywho, the next day we split up. Mat went to Ecuador, the Pasteños went home and I headed back to Bogotá.

permalink written by  ryanmyers on October 5, 2009 from Bogota, Colombia
from the travel blog: Ryan's First Sabbatical
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I really enjoyed your post about the "Volcano camping"! It reminded me of my own time in South America and how much I loved it there! My blog is giving away a free night in Peru or Bolivia, if you know anyone who might be interested. All you have to do is become a follower of our blog and a fan of the hostel! If you have the time, check it out at dirty-hippies.blogspot.com. Continued fun on your travels!

Heather :)

permalink written by  Heather on May 13, 2010

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