Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Journal Interlude from November 28, 1999: Hiking the Itiquira

Yesterday, went for a hike along the Itiquira River a few hours outside the city.

A bunch of us -- led by the motor pool dispatcher, who knew the way to the fazenda (farm) at the trail head because he rocks-climbs waterfalls and who came to us recently as a result of downsizing at Xerox Brasil after many years as a supervisor of technicians and is somewhat over qualified for his present position but hopes to move up -- drove off at 8am and had a jolly old time (accompanied as we were by a Brit).  The trail was probably just five or six miles but it was in a narrow valley in the cerrado (bush) along the river.  Going between ridges and walls of rock covered in tropical green, the trail went up and down and crossed the river at several points.  The river was little more than 10-20 feet wide but was running very high and fast due to this being rainy season.  We waded into sometimes waist-high water that fought us all the way.  But we had only 1 ½ dunkings and got to enjoy the challenge.  (The only way to ford on foot a river running quick is to face upstream.)  Descending with the river, we passed by repeated rapids and a 125-foot falls that was majestic but almost totally hidden.  We stopped at one point to swim, though it was not warm on top of the plateau.  After around two hours, we arrived at the top of Itiquira Fall, a 500-foot drop.  Peering over the edge was a bit scary but it was difficult to see to the bottom since the falling water turns to mist about a third of the way down.  We climbed down along the side of the falls, a very steep slope where we had to be careful not to start an avalanche of rocks for the folks below.

On the way home, we stopped at a very modest restaurant and made the staff’s day with our considerable consumption of food and drink.  The sun came out while we were there so the owner sent somebody onto the roof (of tin) to wet it down with a hose to keep the gringos down under cool and comfortable.