There’s Always an Exception to the Rule

As a rule, I don’t hike. I also don’t go for drives. It’s not that I don’t run or mountain bike or even walk places, I do. I just don’t see the point of meandering somewhere without a purpose.

On Wednesday, I hiked. I hiked for 6 hours. In my mind, those totally makes up for all the past hikes I’ve bowed out of.

Our group of 15 started out in the village of Minca, a one hour drive from Santa Marta in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park, Colombia’s second oldest national park. In 1979 the park was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO and in 2013 was identified as the most irreplaceable park in the world for threatened species.

The purpose: to visit the Minca waterfall, swim in the natural pools, learn about coffee (some of the world’s best and most expensive is grown organically here) and discover the true nature and medicinal properties of chocolate (some of the world’s most expensive cacao grows wild here.)

Our group, anxiously waiting to being. We lost the first guy before we even made it into the canyon.

Our group, anxiously waiting to being. We lost the first guy before we even made it into the canyon.

This hike was no joke. People sometimes kid themselves about their physical stamina or ability. But, if the guide says there are two choices: an easy route and a difficult route, that’s the time to get real about your personal abilities. Or you will get hurt.

Doesn't look so hard...

Doesn’t look so hard…

Barefoot and carrying our bags slung over our backs, we scrambled over rocks and boulders, traversed quick moving streams and climbed precariously up the sides of hills, often snaking through barbed wire fences along the road less traveled.

Where else to keep my shoes?

Where else to keep my shoes?

It gets a little more rocky...

It gets a little more rocky…

And a little more steep...

And a little more steep…

The road less traveled doesn't always adhere to the latest safety standards.

The road less traveled doesn’t always adhere to the latest safety standards.

This was the prize!

This was the prize!

Proudly at the waterfall!

Proudly at the waterfall!

All of it was murder on my pedicure.

DSCN0273

Colombian dare devils showing off at a smaller waterfall. Don't try this at home.

Colombian dare devils showing off at a smaller waterfall. Don’t try this at home.

And suddenly... a random bamboo grove.  Great for homebuilding to withstand natural disasters, fast growing, cheap and helps to stop erosion.

And suddenly… a random bamboo grove. Great for homebuilding to withstand natural disasters, fast growing, cheap and helps to stop erosion. I would have smiled if I knew he was taking the photo… he just appeared to be playing around with my camera.

In the middle of all this...Jesus invites you to go paintballing with him.

In the middle of all this…Jesus invites you to go paintballing with him.

The Sierra Nevada mountain range

The Sierra Nevada mountain range

This is living off the grid...

This is living off the grid…

Lunch, and the opportunity for a true rest, wouldn’t come until the much later afternoon. But let me tell you how awesome that grilled chicken was… like the BEST I’ve ever had!

P.S. You’ll notice I’m wearing earrings. Being one with nature does not absolve one of decently accessorizing. Just sayin’.

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