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What a Ride!!!!

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Gabe Parapente 5
Gabe is sideways because he asked his pilot to take him on a crazy ride, which he wrote about later…he had the best time ever, and is still talking about it. He went sideways, almost upside down and with the air current wherever it took them!

I had a bucket list adventure with my best friend recently. It was something I thought about for over five years. I finally did it, and believe me that day we left I was in a panic. Who jumps off a mountain? How could I commit to this? YIKES! I have to admit I always thought this when I take my guests on the Parapente adventure here at Villa Migelita. I would say ‘Oh, wow this is the most famous sport for our area of Colombia!” While I was thinking OMG I am not brave enough for this! Guess what? I was fine. I committed to it because my best friend and his partner were here and I thought ‘now or never’ because if I was going to do this it would be with my best friend. I did it. I still feel elated and surprised by such an amazing experience and will always recommend it for everyone who visits because now I have done it.

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Flying above The Valle del Cauca, Colombia
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Floating

It was a very peaceful experience for me. It was not scary. It was a gentle lift and I was soaring over our precious Earth, looking down as if I was an astronaut in a space shuttle. I felt as if I was a flight attendant looking out of the window of the airplane after we took off when I worked for Delta. It was so harmonious with what I believe in. It was the Universe and being in touch with the cosmos. It was quiet, it was tranquil, it was not a rapid descent but a very slow floating above the beauty of the mountains. I never even had a flutter of trepidation when my pilot strapped me into the little chair I sat in. I just lifted up like a cloud into the sky before I even thought that I was leaving the mountain.

With all the Parapente offered here in Colombia, you can enjoy a ride like my best friend who went all in for a ride of a lifetime, with a lot of turns and ups, downs and roller coaster adventure. You can do what I did and just float down to the ground enjoying the views while the cool air brushes against your face. It is about what you want. I highly recommend this wonderful sport to anyone. I see young children on the Parapente all the time. Anyone, any age can do this. It is not an extreme sport it is a gentle passage into the sky that will leave you breathless with excitement and wanting to do it again!

 

 

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An Amphitheater from the Sky

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The glorious sunny days of the mountains in Colombia, Valle del Cauca department are depicted perfectly in these photos taken from a Parapente in the sky. A challenge some are not up to taking, (including me), yet I have made a New Year’s promise to myself to do this soon. These photos capture the magnificence of the grandeur and beauty the Universe gives to us daily.

Credit for images from the sky needs to be given to Vuelos En Parapente, who operate here in La Buitrera de Palmira, Colombia.

Palmira Valle is known for Parapente and is visited year round by adventurers from all over the world to do just this. A ride that surely shows that Heaven can be found on Earth. Visit my website to book a stay in Paradise.

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Adventure is Waiting When you Visit Colombia

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.

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Looking out at the coast of the Pacific in Buenaventura, Colombia
Me at beginning of Pericos Hike
All Smiles and Clean on the beginning of the adventure

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.

 

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Smaller waterfalls and natural pool to swim, look closely and you will see a snorkel

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!

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These leaves almost do not look real, but they are. In Colombia they are called Christ’s Tears

 

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.

Friends under waterfall.
This is Living!
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Me with a lot of mud in front of the waterfall that was the grandeur of the day!

 

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Twisting vines in the dense jungle

 

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Ant’s nest in a tree along the hike

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!

 

 

Pericos
My Group of Hikers
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Simplicity: Let’s go fly a kite.

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Let’s go fly a kite!

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”One day I was visiting another farm near Villa Migelita and I hiked around their property. I took the most amazing photos. They were of a family having fun, doing what they do here in the Valle del Cauca. They fly kites in the summer when the breeze is just right, because families in Colombia don’t sit in front of a computer or a television. They do not have the money for that. They go out and do things with their families. This is a perfect photo depicting just that! I have lost my phone habit since I moved to Colombia. It is the best thing I have ever done. I still am able to run my business, and go on with my life. I don’t need to be connected to everyone all the time. This photo shows that. Go out and enjoy your world, wherever you may live. Look around and take in the beauty. Stop worrying about the little things, because they are not important. Take a breath, look around, and think I need to change from this circus of social media and go to a new place of minimalism. Even my clients who visit me at Villa Migelita enjoy  the simplicity of my farm and the way I have nature as the focus. Simplicity speaks volumes, and this picture is a perfect example of just that.