The goal was to be out at the crack of dawn, when the desert air is at its finest. Due to evening food and internet complications, a whole other story, I got to sleep a bit later than planned. My body clock finally forced my eyes open just after the sun began its ascent.
I was out the door at 6:25 and on the dune at 6:4o.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that while in the hilliest city in Colombia, I got to go on a rather scenic hike that wouldn’t have been possible to figure out on my own.
At the time, I felt that I’d paid my local guide a bit too much. However, as I was just browsing through photos from that hike, I came across some that made me realize that the 30,000 COP or $16.85 for the five and a half hour guided hike was far from the worst deal on earth.
While sleeping in a hostel dorm room for my first five nights in Salento, I noticed a trend of backpackers coming for one or two nights. They make it to Cocora for a hike, and then they’re on their way out to see another site at another Colombian destination. It took me over a week in these idyllic surroundings before I finally got a jeep out to this natural wax-palmed wonderland.
Just a short time after I entered the premises of the national park I was reminded of something. Not far from where the trail started, memory of footage from the film The Lord of the Rings popped into my mind.
While on one of the three microbuses I took to get to the cute little town of Salento from Manizales, I thought about engaging in some hiking. I’d heard that it was a major attraction there. I pondered: I’m in the Andes, there has to be endless trails that are incredibly worthy of hiking. I’d really like to get in touch with more nature, with my diverse earth.
What I didn’t know is that I’d end up going on four unique hikes in just over a week’s time.
After arriving in Salento and being brought to my hostel, I decided to take a stroll into the tranquil and idyllic Salento night.
The smooth 38,000 COP or $20.93 minivan ride through the mountains from Medellín to Manizales reminded of a jaunt from Boston to New York City. The picturesque Andean landscape is not what made me think of the Northeast of the United States. I compared the two rides because the time and costs are similar.
As I’ve been on the road for most of the last 11 months, I’ve found getting exercise to be a bit of a challenge. I’m always on the move. This makes routine somewhat impossible. Consistent exercise requires habit.
If I were to prioritize working out, it would happen more.
A Desolate Stretch of Arambol Beach, north Goa, India.
I found myself at the top of north Goa, on Arambol beach.
Aside from textile and souvenir shops, a bunch of generic restaurants and idyllic beach stretches, I discovered an amazing hike. It was unlike any I’ve ever experienced.
The ability to stick to a routine greatens when living in one’s home. Home breeds habit. This includes sticking to a healthy diet and exercise regime.
When traveling from place to place, the concept of routine can be forgotten; thus, it’s easier to let your health slip compared to when you’re in a place of permanence.
The following tips can apply to both travelers and those who aren’t transient. I just find that it’s more challenging to maintain my desired food intake and exercise regime while on the road. While drifting and having to figure out constant new logistics, and living out of a small bag, it’s harder to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Not always having a kitchen can cause us to buy whatever’s in front of us when we’re hungry.
The reason my hiking partner Lienke and I stayed a couple of extra days in Boquete is because we agreed upon hiking a pair of stellar trails together. The day after drifting up the Pipeline Trail, we took a short, $.70 minibus ride to the start of the lush Área El Pianista (The Pianist Area).
El Pianista boasts stunning, wide-open views. Surrounded by rivers, waterfalls, dense forest and mountainous backdrops, this Boquete trail provides a sweet sensation for the visually allured.
Upon starting the trail we witnessed two young schoolchildren whizzing across a short bridge crossing a low river. They appeared almost oblivious to us as they’re used to seeing gringo-looking types in their tiny, idyllic neighborhood.
Before commencing my Central American drifting escapade over two months ago, I had it in mind to engage in various hiking excursions during the trip. I enjoy moving my body along the earth, especially upward, and with a destination in mind.
After having my toe chomped on by a stingray at the Pacific beach of Las Peñitas near León in Nicaragua, that tentative plan was temporarily thwarted.
The good news two months later is that the toe feels around 95% healed. Since hiking India Dormida in El Valle a week ago, when mentioning that the toe was about 90% healed, I’ve managed more hiking in the gorgeous mountain-cloud town of Boquete.