by Shane Hutton, La Sportiva Athlete
Manizales, Colombia, South America
Man I'm hurting HAHAHA hips are so sore man struggling to walk. I guess they have got weak on the bike. So hiked 35 on the first day 1800mtr. 16kg pack. Camped in a sweet as spot was super excited. Realised the first volcano may be further than originally thought. Got fed some raw milk at a dairy with a huge chunk of sugar cane sugar. Was awesome. Camped around 2,800mtr was chilly but peaceful.
Hiked to the decision point on day 2 and realised it was an extra 30km up and back to the volcano didn't have enough food to sustain me the extra day so thought that's ok I will head for the higher one. Hiked most of the day some shuffling but mostly power walking 5k an hour. Took a number of wrong turns but whatever. Super peaceful and quiet not too many people out. As I was climbing a nice hill I was stopped by the parks authority about 20-25k from the volcano. I was then told that I could go no further as the volcano is active and nobody is allowed up there. They told me to hike down about 4km to where the ranger hit is and I could camp there and continue my walk back out tomorrow.
At this point it was raining and a little chilly I think I was at 3,800mtr. I hiked down to the hut and hung out there for a bit laughing at my situation. The Rangers came back and went inside for an hour or so cooking lunch etc whilst I sat outside watching the clouds and rain. They then came out and told Neo was not allowed to camp there but I could pay for a bed in a small farm back up the hill. Ahhhh no thanks I want to camp. They told me there was no camping allowed and I had to pay for accom. At this point the rain had eased a little so I packed my stuff and left continuing my way back to Manizales.
It was 2:30 ish when I left and I was pretty pissed off about this new turn. So I hiked another few hours till 4:30-5 ish stopping at regular intervals to look up at the amazing mountains that now surrounded me. I was descending into a huge valley. I started to look for camp spots but couldn't find one for quite some time as it was dairy farm after dairy farm. It was getting late so I started to search a little harder. I eventually spotted a place way off the road through a paddock of thigh high grass and under a tree. Thanks to the rain on the grass my wet shoes were now soaked through. I got to the spot and could see the farmers make shift milking hut over in the distance. I figure if I can see that then they ca see me. At this point it was really too late to keep going so I sat behind the tree waiting for dusk. As dusk fell I quickly set up the tent and threw the fly over. I had a soup packet with rice soaking in my pot for around an hour and as I got changed and inflated my mattress I boiled it up to mix with my mash and tuna. Sitting in the dark eating my dinner I often wonder what the poor people are doing hahaha
What a strange turn of events but that's Adventure right? When all the planning goes out the window. I had covered over 40km and another 1,200+mtr. I accidentally stopped my watch at some point for over 3 hours. My hips again were killing. Legs were fine just the hips. I went to bed and was drifting off to sleep when all of a sudden I heard a bunch of yelling and some flashing lights. SHIT this is it I've been found damn it. I quickly jumped up and put my jacket on his my phone and valuables as best I could and waited in the dark with my headlamp. The lights continued to flash and the talking was on and off. I waited about 15min before I dared poke my head out.
Turns out the flashing lights was a lightning storm in the distance and I guess I could hear the people in their house over the valley. I tried to go back to sleep after but it was definitely a fitful nights rest. I got up at 5 packed up the tent could hear the farmer milking his 20 odd cattle and made my breakfast. I got everything packed and underway by 7 on the dot. I just love putting wet shoes and socks on. I stumbled back through the waist high wet grass to the road and continued my way back. The road was just you're standard fire trail but was super quiet. I encountered a guy with a horse and buggy collecting the milk it was fantastic.
I continued down the valley in complete silence for most of the morning. The silence was only broken by the sound of my footsteps and rain pants rubbing. I passed a few farmers said hello a few families in cars who were out on Sunday drives and about 20 mountain bikers rising up the hill. I dropped down from 3000 where I had camped to 2,200mtr to the river where started the climb back up. Absolutely awesome morning nice and cool. I quickly covered the first 18k breaking into a steady shuffle on a number of occasions. I was happy to get a little shuffle on. I stopped at 20k for a drink and a bar then continued onto the track I had walked out on back down to the outskirts of the city. That pretty much sums it up. 110 odd km 3,000+ mtr gain 3 days and no summits but I loved it.
I am an ultra runner, Mountain biker, Packrafter, Climber, Ironman, Endurance Athlete