Friday, 10 June 2016

Parque Nacional Las Cajas


I might have done something stupid yesterday. You heard about how it could affect you when staying on a higher altitude, like when you are used to sea level and suddenly you are in a city at 2000 meters above sea level? I read about that many times, I even heard stories how people suddenly felt so weak on the first days - that's why I planned four days here in Cuenca at 2500m when arriving directly from the Galapagos Islands because I should really take it slow.


But then I met another girl at the hostel, Rotem from Israel, that told me she will visit the National Park next day and if I would like to accompany her because it's always better in company and the route seems quite easy. She guesses it's at about 3000 meters. So, I couldn't help myself but take that opportunity to go with her. Because that's what really excites me about traveling, taking unplanned opportunities when they come along.


Turned out the starting point was at 3900 meters, the route went over a mountain top of 4270 meters and the whole trail was so slippery most of the time I just clung onto the grass next to the trail not to take the fast lane down. I never encountered a hiking path so slippery.


Unfortunately, I also never felt so weak when hiking. I never ever needed so many breaks and at some point down I even no longer trusted my legs to stay steady without holding on to the grass. What didn't mean I couldn't continue. I am quite tought (if I want to be), I can always push myself a little farther when others already might have stopped. So I did manage this four-hour trail up more than 300 meters and back down, even when at the end of the trail I wasn't really sure how to get up some stairs. When coming back to Cuenca, I could even do a two hour city walk to use the hours still left before sunset. But I already knew it would hurt a lot the following day.


And so it does. And not just the legs but also my arms (from clinging onto the grass). The legs are not a problem, because like I wrote, I am tough and if I can push myself to get up to that mountain, I can push myself to walk all day in the city as well. But everytime I see a bench, I really just want to sit down. And I really have to withstand that temptation, because my legs even hurt more when getting up again. And I really do have trouble to lift stuff because my arms just hurt so much.


I guess next time I won't do a hiking trip on my first day in the mountains. But also, I guess I am just really good dealing with heights, because others might have not managed that. And, the national park was really beautiful. Lakes everywhere and quite distinctive plants, and mountain tops in all directions. Also, it was my first time above 4000 meters, therefore quite an experience!