X-ray 3's Sam gives an account of week one on the legendary Miratombo Trek
Hola todos que estan leyendo. This is the xray 3 blog coming to you from
We have now been on trek for 7 days and barring a few navigation problems, we’ve gotten off to a fine start
After travelling to Nicaragua with x7 & x8 (who are currently undertaking their community phase in Miraflor) we bid them farewell at La Rampla where we began the trek and walked to the ranger station we were staying in at El Cebollal. We arrived just in time to witness a stunning sunset across the mountains from the local viewing point and got in a few games of ninja before dark. The night itself was rather eventful with several members of the group wondering if we had been caught in the middle of an episode of “Nicaragua’s most wanted” after windows and doors began banging throughout the house at 1am. Thankfully Baggers was at hand to assess the situation and discovered that it was only the wind and everyone was soon asleep in their sleeping bags and mosquito nets
After a 330am start and the ever appetising Raleigh porridge rations for breakfast we set off for our first full day of trekking. The day got off to a frustrating start after a few misguided sets of directions from locals but we were soon on the right track making good ground. Later on we passed a local school just as the children were leaving for the day and a dozen also joined us for a few kilometres as we continued on through Miraflor. The most noteworthy moment of the day took place when after stopping to ask for directions a local dog decided to mark his territory all over Ollie’s rucksack, much to the amusement of the group (bar Ollie) and several of the locals.
As a result of the time lost in the morning we were slightly behind schedule when it came to mid-afternoon and so we began looking for a campsite locally before realising that X-ray 8 were only a few km away in San Jose. Raleigh has completed various projects in the area and we headed to the town with a view to staying in the school that was completed with the help of the local community in 2010. However, as it turned out, the local schoolteacher (and the only holder of the key to the building) was out of town so the local community leader’s wife very kindly offered to have us stay in her front room, Much to their surprise we were reunited with X-ray 8 that evening and spent a couple of hours sharing stories about the last couple of days. Thea was also able to be reunited with her host family that she’d stayed with during phase 1 much to the delight of both parties.
We we’re back on the road by 5am with around 14km ahead of us and made great progress all morning. The landscape in Miraflor varies drastically from km to km from desert-like and fairly barren areas to lush green hillsides and patches of forests. At times we could quite easily have been in the American Wild West with locals all riding around on horseback more often than not wearing cowboy hats. We stopped at Universidad del Tropico seco (which Harol attends) for a well-deserved lunch of chicken tortillas and rice and beans. Moral and energy levels replenished we set off for the afternoon and arrived at our rendezvous for the day Buenos Aires within a few hours.
After asking several the locals where the best place to camp was, a very kind lady offered to let us camp on her porch so we set up our tents there for the night. Several members of the group were treated to a lesson into how to lasso a horse by a young boy of only 8 or 9 after one of the families horses escaped and began galloping up and the road in front of the house.
We were awoken the following morning by an ensemble of local cockerels and dogs and were soon packed up and back on the road. Conversation soon turned to that of the group’s skit with the guys from Alpha 3 eager to continue their winning streak, and the other member of the group keen to taste success/the ice-cream that comes with it for the first time! There were several suggestions of songs that could be included in our potential medley of hip hop remakes: “I’m bringing sweaty back”, “cry me a footpath”, “mo blisters, mo problems” being amongst the highlights.
We were supposed to wild-camp again on Wednesday, however it would appear that lady luck was on our side – along with a certain element of local knowledge in the form of Harol who’s proving to be a highly valuable member of X ray 3. Whilst we were sat outside a pulperia having lunch east of el Regadilo, Harol’s neighbour pulled up on a motorbike and gave us the key to the local community centre. We arrived shortly after 2pm and spent the afternoon showering (for the first time in 4 days) with camel-packs under the amused/bewildered gaze of the locals and wondering around town.
The following say was Kelly’s birthday and we celebrated in style with cake, orange juice and a round of happy birthday at 4am. The highly resourceful and incredibly artistic Vivian was also able to put together a birthday card (with a sketch of the group out of nothing but a piece of light paper and a pen).
The morning saw some of the steepest and most difficult hiking to date and yet moral, enthusiasm and encouragement in the group did not falter. The local wildlife also featured throughout the morning, the more bizarre being a pair of goats who were blocking our way and tried to head-butt any one brave enough to approach!
The afternoon was one of considerable frustration as the route through the mountainous area we were passing was far from clear and we were forced to make several u-turns. As evening approached we were still some distance from the rendezvous for the end and so the decision was made to set up camp.
We set off again the following morning and after some excellent navigation work from Baggers and lider del dia/moral officer mark we were soon back on track. Along the way we took in some amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the nearby city of Esteli (which is Deja’s hometown).
Our first week on trek really has been phenomenal and it is safe to say that the feeling amongst the group couldn’t be better. As yet we have walked approx 100 km and have the same to go.
We have now turned south as we head to Momotombo
Xray 3 out deacachimba