In Cajas National Park
22.03.2008 - 22.03.2008 7 °C
Saturday I went to Cajas National Park with David in order to see what we could find in the polylepis forests in the páramo above the tree line. We are going to be writing a paper on the diversity within the unique forests, but our interest waned because we both knew that the paper that we are going to write is not necessarily scientific. What we really wanted to do in Cajas lay right in front of us, towering up to probably 4000 meters or so. Climb a mountain.
We looked to come around to the ridge at its lowest point and ascend to the peak from there, but when we got over the first hills, it looked a lot more difficult than we thought originally. But we kept on going. I didn't really take note of how difficult it was to breath because my adrenaline was pumping with my excitement. We took a little shortcut to a much higher elevation by climbing up a steep face on a nonexistent path. From there, we could see we were not going to make it up to the ridge. The slope was at least sixty degrees or more and we were already grabbing at our knees to stop ourselves for rest. But there was a polylepis forest right there! What good fortune!
So it was time to come down from our stunning vista, but we hadn't given up all hope of reaching the top of the mountain. So we thought we should walk around the peak at the altitude that we were already at, but we managed to trap ourselves on the way. At our height, I failed to realize before hand that it was mainly sheer cliffs down to where we started, thus our walking around the side earlier in order to find a more accessible way to reach the summit. We went down a steep little incline in order to get around on of the cliffs and at the base it became clear we had only one direction to keep moving, down. To make matters worse, it started to rain.
At long last, we managed to get down off the mountain, slowly but surely, by creeping beside the steep slopes along the bases of exposed rock faces. I would like to thank the physiology of tusset grasses for being sturdy and easy to hold on to, making the decent even possible. It was one of the most exhilarating hikes/climbs I have ever done.