While Day 1 proved difficult at times, Day 2 was nothing short of tough.
DAY TWO. 14.7 km/9.2 mi. We begin toward the sunrise and hike until sundown, with many pauses, of course – two fruit stops, a short swim, and a 3-hour break in between for lunch and more swimming. Even so, some of these climbs force me to question my resolve, which draws attention away from more important matters. I focus on the walking, more specifically, the difficulty of, and almost miss an opportunity to stop, look up, and look out. A break in the trees reveals the depth of the surrounding jungle. Those who once trailed behind now get ahead, but not before they, too, pause to take in the scenery. Remember to take in the scenery.
We welcome the break at the Wiwa camp with open arms, finally getting a chance to dry our clothes, gracias al strong morning sun. The jump at this river stands higher than I’m willing to push myself, so I look on nervously as a few brave souls take the leap.
Our rest comes to an end, and the hike continues, at one point leaving me alone with nothing more than my breathing. It’s peaceful, but my thoughts jump to the possibility of being snatched by an anonymous someone hiding in the trees. We break twice more – at a river and for oranges – prior to arriving at the final camp, BUT not before my heart nearly leaps out my chest at the sight of the drop (with river and rocks below!) alongside this too-narrow-and-dangerous-for-mules-but-apparently-not-for-us pathway that seems not to alarm anyone else. And there’s also that almost vertical climb that I cannot imagine trekking in wet conditions. How others can complete sections of this hike in the rain blows my mind.
Tonight, we dine by candlelight, and the meal must be Margarita’s best, yet. The three-legged cat probably knows as much, because it keeps orbiting A’s space. Bernando teaches us about Wiwa culture – marriage, the shaman, etc. – and even some Wiwa vocab! Though it’s sometimes difficult to understand him, at which point I just nod, especially if I’ve exhausted my requests for clarification, I look forward to these post-hike chats and wind-down. And by 8 or 9 PM, we (showered and fed) retreat to our mosquito nets to re-energize for tomorrow’s great reveal.
Tonight’s Wiwa vocab as I remember it (not actual spelling):
na-yu-ga – adios, goodbye
zoo-mai – todo bien, all is well
zun-gwee – hola, hello