Our morning began at 6am with a cup of coffee and uncertainty of how we would arrive at Paramo Iguaque. We gathered our necessary layers, packed a lunch, and minutes later Nitzan woke up and so kindly offered to take us to the trailhead. Before the kids and us piled into the car, Nitzan gave us Coca leaves (the most sacred plant in the Andes) to chew on and as an offering to the Laguna at the end of the trail. On the drive we passed by horses congregating, fresh milk kegs being delivered, and farms that have no end.
Iguaque is considered one of the most sacred places in Colombia. The Muisca (indigenous tribe) believed Iguaque lake was where mankind began. The legend goes like this; goddess Bachue rose from the lake with a boy in her arms. He grew and they married and populated the Earth with their children. The goddess Bachue and her husband disappeared into the depths of the lake in the shape of snakes. This legend has attracted thousands (mostly indigenous) to bring an offering to the birthplace.
We started in dense forest, where succulent looking plants grow on the sides of birch shaped trees. The trail was wet and slippery. Mud caked our boots and legs within minutes. We were some of the first people to enter the park that morning, so our hike was quiet and peaceful. The sun shone bright through the thick canopy of varying shaped leaves.
At just about half way you cross a line, leaving trees and entering jumbled rocks and small shrubs. The shrubs are high desert like. Some spiny and others soft with coat like fur. We climbed at a 45 degree angle for nearly an hour. Every minute stopping to gasp for air and gawk at the incredible views in every direction. We looked over ridge lines and valleys full of green fields boasting their fresh fruits.
We scrambled, sometimes on all fours, to count markers notifying us we were getting closer to the top. As we rounded the last bend, we could see just the corner of the lagoon. Peaks bowled around the water and the clouds rolled over us. Our stride became quicker with excitement as we neared the lagoon. Dropping down, reaching lake level, and taking in the view, we smiled like never before. What is this place? How is this real? We had never seen anything like it before. Peaks that were speckled with odd plant life, clouds puffy but allowing the sun to shine strong, water clear and fresh to drink. This place is sacred.
We offered our coca leaves to the lagoon, gave our thanks to the power out there that creates places like this, and warmed our sweaty bodies in the powerful sun.
The way down was slippery. We slipped and slid our way down, showing off our ice skating moves and laughing the whole way. We felt rejuvenated, energized, and inspired. As we made our descent the clouds built, the thunder roared, and just as we reached the park entrance the rain poured.
Our plan was to catch a bus back home but of course we didn’t plan and that didn’t work out so well. So we walked home, approximately 3 hours later we arrived, soaked and cold. “Vale la pena”, worth it. One of the most incredible places we have ever been. We feel energized and incredibly lucky to be living the life we’re living. We are lucky individuals that have been given the most incredible opportunities. This is just one of many.