Came the most difficult part of the expedition, time to really face the slope and reach the top.
The sun was rising and we were striking camp, I packed as fast as I could to have time for pictures. It finally dawned with no clouds and the full moon was there, trying to hide behind Kukenán.
Francisco prepared a strong breakfast for our ascent of nearly 1000 m in just 6 km, with a 600-meter climbwalk (walk on hands and feet on steep and uneven ground). We crossed a river source and entered the closed forest, the only way to the summit – it is like walking through a portal and into a lost world. Dense vegetation and full of unique species, colorful flowers, moss that looks like seaweed, pre-historical ferns and giant bromeliads. It was not possible to just enjoy the view, though – the way is heavy and right at the beginning a wall of sand and routes scares you and demands strong arms. The group scatters and I see myself alone again, loving to be there feeling a good vibe. I gave up wanting to arrive quickly; I really enjoyed this stretch paying attention to each leaf, trunk, bug or bird. I saw a black gecko – like the typical local frog – but I was not fast enough to take the picture. Sometimes I had company and met other adventurers; they come from all over the world with the same goal and friendliness.
The forest cleared and the slope appeared, imposing and very close. Plants cover the sides and now we had to go round the stone to get to a huge waterfall. In the distance we could see the camp site and everything we had walked in the past few days. I found a water spring, offering potable and refreshing water; I kept amazed by the vegetation and moved on with a smile on my face, until the weather got bad and I saw the waterfall – Passo das Lágrimas. We had to pass under the waterfall on a wet and very steep ascent (an angle of 75°), full of loose rocks and slime. I watched the little people almost blending with the rocks, if it were not for the vibrant raincoats. I put on my raincoat and the guide asked me to stay far away from the person in front of me because of the loose rocks – I gathered up courage and went on.
We were halfway there when the storm came and the wind blew the waterfall from side to side, every time it passed by me it felt like a slap and I was soaking wet. At one moment I got stuck, missed my footing, the rocks rolled down and I hanged by the arms. I looked up and everyone had passed, I looked down and nobody else had joined the trail because of the rain, I looked around and the water ran down the cliff… I was all by myself and that crossing seemed endless. Up there Luiz tried to point the best way; I thought I would not make it and an inner strength (aka fear) pushed me and I hurried up – even slipping I was able to pass the test and celebrated with my friends. I was still shaking and I thought: this is the only way back! I begged the guide not to let me go down alone. Then one of the Indians told me about his technique of running at the exact moment the wind blows the waterfall in his direction; this way he avoids being hit at the worst part. I wish I had known that before! At that time I felt the impact of the mountain.
The hotels are caves of whoever gets there first – we got a four-star, according to the category created by the guides, called Guacharo. Camping ready, we waited for the night remembering the best and worst moments. Good night! More next week… Maybe you can read in portuguese all posts above.
See more pictures from the third day:
Translated by Lúcia Maciel
© All rights reserved. Pictures and report 100% originals. Photos by Roberta Martins and Luiz Zoldan.