Monday, January 5, 2009

Climbers in the mist....Volcan Dona Juana 4500m or so

Well thankfully, there werent any gorillas or guerrillas on this misty volcano. After asking around locally, there hasnt been any sign of the FARC in this area bordering Narino, Cauca and Putumayo, for more than 5 years.

Colombia continues to amaze me. After climbing 3 volcanoes in the Western Sierra, Volcan Dona Juana, only 50k east as the crow flies, has a completely different eco system, as this range borders on the moist air that rises up from the Amazon. Completely different vegetation, with a wider range of colourful flowers and odd looking plants. The vegetation grows right to the top of the volcano, whereas it ends at about 4100m on other volcanos to the west.

The 4 hour bus ride to get to the town of Las Mesas was the most dangerous part of the putting a road, three quarters of the way up and inside the grand canyon! Super narrow too! From Las Mesas we hired a jeep to drive us up to the end of the road, another 45 minutes with a farmer, Don Tomas, who has guided vulcanologists in the area and cleared some trails. He showed us the trail and walked with us for an hour with 2 of his kids. Mist, rain and lack of time prevented us from reaching the summit that afternoon, so we camped on the lower flanks and blasted up to the top in 1.5 hours the next morning. Super windy and cloudy on top, with the occasional sneek view to flatter terrain below.

Jeeping it up.

Carlos in mist.

Spot our tent below.

Volcano in the mist.

Mote.....albino blueberries me thinks.

One very spongy climb! Hard work going up, soft and cushy on the down.

Now can you see our tent?

Carlos on the summit.....trying not to get blown off.

And a closer look at this soft, squishy plant.

One of the many varieties of orquid.

Lower down, out of the mist.