21 Feb 2008

Trekking in Serra do Cipó

Posted by walterheck

Last weekend we finally made it to Serra do Cipó. The first attempt failed because me and Felipe were in Ervalia, Juliana was sick and Bruno was busy. Read about our hiking adventure after the jump…

In the water in canyon das Bandeirinhas

This time around, a lot of people were interested. We ended up going with a group of 14 people. Since the group was so big, we started looking for arranged transportation. In the end, Felipe found a van for 220R$, about 12 R$ per person for a return trip. Much cheaper than the bus, starting at 16R$ one-way.

We had two Belgian travelers coming with us, so I could speak Dutch for the first time in a long while (except on the phone, but that’s different 🙂 ). It felt strangely great to finally be able to return the favor of speaking your native language in front of a bunch of people that have no clue what you are talking about 🙂

We decided to meet at the parking lot of the Mercado Central at 9.00. Of course, at 9.00 the only people present were the Europeans 🙂 We waited a bit more, while getting to know each other a bit better and after a long wait we finally could leave around 10.00. We were a tad afraid that 14 people in a van would be tight. Not at all! The van had 14 seats in it (while it was a normal size van), something that you will not see at least in Holland probably because of driver’s license issues. If you carry more than 7 people, the driver needsa special driver’s license. Apparently here in Brasil this is different, so we could enjoy a comfortable ride. The van even had a DVD system installed, so we could watch a movie on the way to the park (which was over an hour’s drive).

14 people in a van

With two stops along the way to buy supplies (was I the only one that took lunch and water from BH?) we ended up at the park entrance around noon. Officially, we were no longer allowed to go to our intended destination, Canyon das Bandeirinhas. This was 24 Km round-trip, and since DST just ended here in Brasil, darkness comes around 18.00. So we could only go to the closer by Cachoeira da Farofa, around 12Km round-trip. After some talking however we got permission to split the group and go to the canyon with a small group of fast walkers. Although a group that big is a lot of fun, it is not very good for hiking. It is too big and it gets difficult to move fast. So we were happy to split up.

I decided to take the challenge and join the fast walkers. After all, I came to the park to hike, not to have a simple walk. I was joining Felipe, who has been a prize-winning competition hiker, and Ligia, who is a geologist and walks during her every day work hours. I, being “a tad overweight” and in bad shape, felt doomed. Can anyone please pre-order a rescue chopper?

Picture break..

We left the others behind and started walking fast. Felipe set our target to 2 hours to get to the canyon. 6Km per hour might not seem fast, but it was the hottest part of the day and the sun was blistering down on us. I managed to keep up (and not even be walking faster than I could) and we managed to reach the canyon after a beautiful 2 hour hike. We hiked through a valley, some small streams (think water to your waist and no bridges), some open spaces and some forests. When we arrived at the end, I was half dead and could feel I was catching a heat stroke. Lucky for me, cool water and shade was now our domain!

The place we arrived at was not really the start of the canyon but rather the end of the trail. We decided to keep going on into the canyon by hopping from rock to rock in the fast streaming river. After securing our stuff in watertight bags, we set out. Did I ever mention that Felipe is crazy?He doesn’t look for a way around a pool of water, he jumps right in the middle bathing his way across! We managed our way into the canyon and found some really nice pools to swim. We took off most of our clothes and jumped right in. Wonderful cold (but not too cold) water!

me in the water at Canyon das Bandeirinhas

We stayed in and around the water for about an hour before we decided to gear up and head back. Felipe decided that we were going to go back in under 2 hours, in order to reach the park’s entrance by 6. I wasn’t sure if I could keep up, but I was sure going to try! The first part was easy and I had no problem leading the way. Soon however, fatigue and big boots full of water started slowing me down. I told Felipe and Ligia that they could go ahead, as long as they waited for me at specific points. They did and I didn’t even fall behind that bad. In the end we made it back in around 1:50, so I can be proud of myself.

The rest of the group was already back at the van and from what they told us they also had a very nice (and more relaxed) afternoon at the fall.

On the way back I got to sit in the front since I was really dead tired. This meant talking Portuguese with our driver which I managed surprisingly well.

Felipe, Ligia and me decided to go hiking more often, but without the rest of the group. Since Ligia is a field-working geologist, she knows a lot of beautiful places here in Minas, so I am excited to go trekking with her and Felipe again.

Oh, and I lost my glasses again. They are somewhere in Serra do Cipó 🙂

More pictures of Serra do Cipó in the gallery!

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4 Responses to “Trekking in Serra do Cipó”

  1. Allemachtig, ik dacht laat ik eens checken wat die Heck up to is.
    Dus dat doe jij tussen het werk door… wij lopen hier in de pauze nog steeds hetzelfde rondje naar de supermarkt… 😉



  2. Hoi Walter!
    Dit is pas de tweede keer dat ik op je blog kijk. De eerste keer was nog op mijn werk, maar tegenwoordig ben ik zelf thuis on line, wat me uitstekend bevalt overigens. Ik heb je ouders vorige week (net terug van hun cruise) gezien en gesproken. Je vader was vermoedelijk net zo moe van de cruise als jij van je boven beschreven hiketocht! Maar het is hen wel goed bevallen, begreep ik. Er is een hoop te kijken op-in-aan jouw blog. Ik ben ook even in je fotogalerij gedoken, daar zitten schitterende plaatjes bij! Leuk om te lezen dat het je goed gaat en dat je volop geniet. Veel liefs, T.Trees


    Je tante Trees

  3. He bushman Heck,

    Klinkt relaxed hoor. Lekker wandelen en tussendoor wat badderen. Jammer dat je al om zes uur bij de poort moest zijn, anders had je er een meerdaagse trip van kunnen maken. Het ziet er wel uit als een gebied waar ik me een paar dagen zou kunnen amuseren.

    P.S. Ik zal geld proberen in te zamelen voor scheermesjes.



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