Every single day my sunsets change at Villa Migelita. If you look at a map of the Equator you will see the line goes through Colombia. The shifting of where the sun goes down is small, but occurs daily. I took these photos in a succession one day. From around noon to the night-time sky looking out over the Valle del Cauca, Colombia. If you look up the weather systems in Colombia you will see that we do not have seasons. We have rainy and dry times. The same with the sun, it shifts like nowhere I have lived before in my life. At certain times of year the sun goes down right in the center of my balcony, but then as the days and months change it goes to the right little by little. It is fascinating. It is living in the tropics. It is Colombia. Watch this video I took at night one evening. This sunset personifies peace.
If you love adventure, if you love nature, if you love the outdoors then Colombia is the place to visit. As I become more fluent in the language of Spanish I have joined groups that go on great explorations of natural reserves, parks and protected areas in Colombia. My most recent hike was an 8 hour walk up a waterfall. It included wading in water up to my waste, climbing up areas washed out by rain and water, and making sure I didn’t step on slippery rocks. Was it worth the time? Most definitely! I felt very accomplished when I finished. It was a day I can cross off a bucket list of things I have always wanted to do.
It started with a bus ride that was 2 hours from Cali to Quebrada Perico a natural reserve on the way to Buenaventura, Colombia. Buenaventura is a Pacific coast town where all the goods that are shipped into Colombia from the Pacific enter. When I moved to Colombia this is where my shipped items arrived. This town thrived after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. It is a bustling town that serves the best seafood you will ever taste.
The bus ride was so comfortable and it seemed so quick. We left early meeting in Cali, Colombia at 6 am. We stopped once so everyone could get coffee and breakfast at a small roadside shop…and then I reclined my greyhound size seat and watched the scenery of beautiful huge mountains and rivers on the way to our destination. We all got our gear together and met in front of our bus to get a “talk” about safety and believe it or not, a short exercise segment which included Yoga moves and stretches. Then we all had to count off in numbers so we knew exactly how many were with the tour and no one would be left on our adventure into the Rainforest. We were like soldiers marching in single file as we started. We all looked so fresh and clean. That would change. The first thing I noticed is the path is very narrow as we started our journey. I really had no idea about this hike except that I would see waterfalls, which I love. I did not know I would be hiking through many small waterfalls or in Spanish cascadas, which means cascades.
We all were trying to keep up with each other as there were many of us….but that changed a bit as it got more difficult. The guides spaced themselves evenly throughout our group to help those having difficulty. I was very happy to have my hiking stick! It became slippery and dangerous at spots. I realized some of our group were out of their league quickly. I am very cautious because I was diagnosed with Vertigo two years ago. I am much better (thanks to a lot of therapy and YOGA) but I still need my hiking stick for security and especially on a hike this extreme. I wore loose, baggy clothing and my hiking shoes meant for water. There is an absolute need for the correct equipment on hike like this, and that includes the right clothing, and backpacks with all the necessities. Some people wore swimsuits under their clothes, however not necessary nor needed…just jump in and keep going was the way to be on this fun hike. I became more secure as I walked because I was taking my time. I realized not every person was on the same level, and I surely was not trying to prove anything to anyone! As my friend and hiking buddy has always said to me ‘we are not in a competition” and that is the truth. I took my time and I stopped when I wanted to take photos, and when I needed to just look at the beauty of the Rainforest. The most amazing photo I took was of these leaves from the plant called Christ’s Tears here in Colombia. The flora in Colombia is amazing and miraculous!
The fun of swimming in the natural pools along the way up was so much fun. We would just jump in and swim. The water is crystal clear and the temperature of the water perfect. Then to sit on a rock and have lunch while watching butterflies and birds fly by is surely what being one with the Universe means. I have never seen lava rock like there was along this journey. This hike was Paradise for sure. When we reached the top we all had our picnic lunch with us in our backpacks, and we ate with gusto. Then we swam some more in the natural pools surrounding us while hearing the gushing of the waterfalls that fed them. We had a nice break and were ready to head down. The walk down was not bad, and then the last waterfall came into view. A spectacular flowing splendor of nature that took my breath away.
I had my canteens with me, water in one and wine in the other. The perfect spot to sit and sip wine and have the spray of this fall hit my face. A point in time that will be forever in my soul. I was one with nature and my surroundings, in a place of peace and contentment. When we continued I felt sad the day was almost over. We progressed down the skinny path, stopping to look at trees with huge roots, nests made by ants, tree formations that you can only see when immersed in the Rainforest.
As we became closer to the end of our hike, I could hear the sounds of civilization again. I was sad to leave the wonder of the jungle, but happy to be able to change into dry clothes and get comfy on the bus ride back to Cali. The bus ride went by quickly, and I was home to Villa Migelita and in bed by 9:30 pm. Not bad for a day that felt like I had voyaged to another dimension. Anyone who visits Colombia can partake in adventure like this. It is part of the magical realism of the country. There are so many undertakings I have yet to experience! I can’t wait until my next one!
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”
I like the thought of ornate but it just isn’t my style. When I think of what most people consider ornate I think of churches throughout the world with gorgeous architecture. When you go inside, you find a history surrounded by great artistry. To me this definition of ornate is history, past times, over zealous art work that has no place in my world. I am a minimalist, a person who doesn’t like clutter of any sort clouding my space. I love to look at old architecture, to visit, to imagine, to reflect on the lives lived when these lavish churches were built with such great care. I don’t care for it in my own personal space.
To me ornate is a great photograph of nature, a display set with care of the product being sold, gorgeous flower arrangements, and lovely sunsets. Fruits arranged just right, a lot of color with the beauty shown without too much fuss. A smiling face, an animal that is running, playing, or exploring. That is the ornate I like. It comes down to a person’s viewpoint and taste.
The photo gallery below shows elegance in a way that I can relate to. Uncomplicated, but resplendent. Colorful, but not over-elaborate. My taste, which certainly will be different than others. Therefor, it is just a matter of perception.