Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Did something unusual and hired a guide for the Somoto Canyon. It worked out well as he provided water shoe and the Explore 200. Trip started with vultures flying low over head. Will let the pictures show the canyon. There was a good bit of swimming. Last little bit when it opened up we took a boat. I know you rafter types want the oars.

Love & Kisses

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Traveling south

Hopped a truck out Gracias. Got one last picture of Mt Celaque. Its progress may have been slow due to the load of bricks in the back with me. In San Juan think I saw most of the town from the truck, so I hung out waiting for the bus talking to a Cuban doctor working in town. Got to La Esperanza which was a rough town but had a market place I wanted to check out. Ran across a tailor who I had fix my pants the were torn hiking/crawling. Double his rapido price with a bonus that made it two bucks. In the middle of the market a gentleman that did not seem quite right and had a crazed look in his eye grabbed my hand and demanded a dollar. I told him no and he just went away. Around the corner I ran into one of his buddies tasting sidewalk and not caring as his bottle was empty. I moved on.
I arrived in Tegucigulpa (the capital) after dark. Like DC everyone recommends a cab. Pick the driver that recognizes the name of the hotel I was saying. The hotel is on a one way street and the cab does a neat move to back around the corner up to the hotel to be going the right way. Cab driver does not want his money in the street, but waits till we are inside of the hotel. He watches everyonre on the street nervously when outside. I need food and the hotel clerk indicates around the corner. I look both ways and head out. Find a Chinese restaurant with a guy using a metal detector at front. Only two items with out meat and they are Tou Fu. They are out of tofu. After a good number of tries they finally figure out I will except just vegetables. I make it back to the hotel watching everyone on the street and being casual about it.
I the daylight the streets are safer. I walk the ten blocks to the bus stop. On the way I spot a donut shop and pick up two. I feel safer. Get to where the bus is suppose to be and find only taxis and they are starting to move on. I am not going to hang on an empty street. One of the cab drivers knows where the bus to Danli real is and puts his passengers in his cab into another. I am going to get a great deal for this ride. The bus stop is across town so I am very happy with the ride and keep the fare to just very good.
Getting out of the cab my water bottle with filter falls into a hole. I do consider leaving it in the sewer water. I climb down an safely retrieve the bottle as it has my water filter system. A block away is the the golden arches which to season traveler means clean bathroom. Water bottle gets clean enough to be put back into the pack. In the bus I eat the donut as I fell secure.
Check out the town of Danli. Remember I need a lighter for my next jungle adventure. I am still murdering the language as encendedor got me a light bulb. Fosforos got me matches and then worked it from there to a lighter.
Then I was off to the border. The bus stopped short in a traffic jam and everyone walked the last quarter mile to the border through the packed vehicles. Think I stopped at all the write offices because I made it through. Next border crossing will tell. Stopped in Ocotal to get some local money and the ATM worked on a Saturday. Ocotal was the first city ever to have fighter plans bomb it. Guess who´s marines did that? Ended the day in Somoto watching a basketball game and eating pizza in the main square. Tomorrow I am of to a local canyon to hike and swim. I decided to not go to Cerro Mogoton Nicaragua's highest peak. No guides go there due to Oliver North mines as they are still exploding the wildlife. Officially all landmines have been removed. Ojo, no salir de sendero!!
Love and Kisses

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Spanish word for the day is ¨sendero¨ (path).

Started mid morning as I headed up Celaque (Honduras highest peak). Caught a mototaxi to the park entrance 9K from town on a 4x4 dirt road being a stream bed in places.

The first mile and half is switch backs which were not to bad but long. Met a gentleman carrying a bag of oranges down the trail. He gave me two and would not take any money. They were good. Took a side trip to view a large water fall which included a 500ft climb for a quick view of the falls a in the distance. Then when through a rolling section of the trail for a ways with a number of creek crossings. Came to a couple of rough buildings being built. This I assumed was one of the camps that was on the hand drawn map I got in town. The trail was suppose to fork soon. After going a quarter mile I came to a creek crossing that was a bit bigger than the others. I figure I was on the wrong trail as the map showed the river crossing for the other trail. So I went back to the the building finding no other trail, but the trail I was on was not well defined. So taking a look at the topo map which has no trails on it I figure where I should be in the jungle. I decide to take a short cut straight up the mountain. It is four o´clock as I head up the 1800 feet to the top. At 4:30 it is dusk at 5:00 it is dark. I climb on by headlamp and the slopes are now 60 degrees with the jungle getting thicker. It became harder to find a ways through the thick brush and vines as it also was getting steeper. Headlamp shows me why each time I stop to rest the mosquitoes are buzzing my ears. Mosquitoes ckeep me moving. Slope is now 70 degrees with with the footing that gives way at times. Half the limbs and trees I grab are rotten, so it is tricky to find good branches or trees to pull myself up with. I start looking for a spot I can camp on, but the slope is way to steep. I finally come to a cliff wall there is room to camp roughly on a rocky area. I am 200 meters from the top so I look for a way through the cliffs and find an opening.

The opening is filled with brush and trees. I haul myself up the 80 degree slope. As I reach up for one hand hold I see a small taranchula is where i want to put my hand. I move hand that is wrapped under a log to where I can see it just in case of friends and family. Go a little further with some expose face rock climbing. The route closes off and I need to down climb. I find another route that has a nice bed of ferns below. I drop into them and find they are 6 feet deep and a thicket. I fight my way out of them on the steep slope. Working my way back to the rough camp I find I am up on different set of cliffs. I hear my water bottles fall out of the pack and ending up somewhere below. Ground gives way and I drop seven feet onto a lower very narrow ledge. I try tossing my backpack up the cliff but it will not stay as the slope is to steep. Next bad choice is to drop it and hope it does not roll to far before stopping. I drop the pack and it rolls and drops three times before stopping somewhere below in the dark. I try climbing up to the ledge

above but the branch breaks and I end up busting my lip open. I drop down instead, going 8 feet at a time and hoping the way will not run out. I Make it to the bottom. A quick search turns up my pack and one empty water bottle. I camp on the rough but generally flat area. I am dehydrated, but I only have half a liter of water and some canned fruit for dinner. Even with all my gear under me the rocks are evident as I try to sleep.

Morning shows I am camped under a hundred foot cliff that is vertical. Work my way to the edge of the ridge and can pick out my location on the topo map positively from the view. I decide to climb down as the exposure is too great to continue up. I find my other water bottles near my tent so I am back in water and must have been up on the cliff somewhere above camp. It is great when you can only see 20 feet with by headlamp you don´t see the exposure. I head down the mountain picking a better route that is not so overgrown. Once I hit the trail I head up the mountain refilling my water in the stream. A mile later I come to the camp and fork in the trail that are marked on the map. A bit further on I see a sign that says caution ??? dangerous.
Curious what "tramo" is. The trail did get steeper and I need to use my hands to pull myself up. The top flattened out and it was and easy walk through the cloud forest to the top Celaque. Yes, I carried every thing I brought to Central America including the fins. The cloud forest was great and with plants growing every where. If it was flat there was something growing on it.

I camp near base of the summit. The next morning I headed south. There was no trail I could find so I worked my way through the jungle. Some large logs I stepped on disintegrated beneath me. A half a mile through the dense forest I spot what could be a trail and not just a game trail. It is not marked but turns out to be a trail and heading in the same direction I want to go. I am glad to be on the trail as it is slow going without it. It is overgrown in parts and there is no markers showing where the trail should be making it tricky to stay on it at times. I come to an old building marked as a camp. From then on the trail is good, just need to pick the correct fork. I should have picked water at the only creek crossing I passed early in the morning as I only had only one liter of water for the day. Going down this long ridge I finally come across a small village and check directions. The water there and from then on looks questionable. The road I was pointed to turned into a path and no hopes of a ride. I continued to walk passing through more villages but only transport was horses. As dusk was starting to settle and I was getting to near the other side of the valley, I see a lad riding his horse up the hill carrying a bottle of coke. Asked about store and it is less than a kilometer. I am motivated as it is getting dark and the store may close. I get to the a real road and and I get directions to the store just down the road. No water, but there is cold coke and fanta to replentish me. I am seeing dividends in my coke stock. The sun is setting and I head down the road wondering where I will camp as this village does not look like it has a hotel. I make it only a hundred yards when firsts truck to pass is a newer Toyota truck and it gives me a ride to Gracias. I try to to pay him for the ride but he won´t accept money. It must have been my comment on Honduras going to the world cup in South Africa. I go right to the hotel restaurant and a Belgian girl ask to have dinner with me. The gods are being good to me. And she must have been up wind as the shirt I am wearing is the same for the last three days.

Love & Kisses

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day of travel

I did get the next bus and did not need to go back again. The bus stopped continually to pick up and drop off passengers I do not think we went a kilometer with out stopping. Hitching (jalon) a ride in the back of a truck is common and is looking better. Stopping ever hundred yards. 61 Kilometers and two hours and fifteen minutes so far. I see a red Toyota coming at us fast around a bend. It hits the side of the bus and bounces off. I did not see the carnage as the bus continues on. A few miles down the driver stops and checks the damage, which was a big dent in the rim. Someone said the truck rolled. The bus continued on to La Entrada. At the edge of town the bus is pulled over by the police. After a bit of a discussion with the driver, he continues on to the terminal with the police on board.
At the terminal the bus to Santa Rose was ready to go and I was on it. It did not make as many stops. Last bus for the day was like a sardine can and the driver kept trying to get more passengers before we would go. Got to Gracias after dark.

Today I am of to Montaria Celaque as it is the highest peak and is in a cloud forest. There was a Dutchman lost somewhere on the mountain a few years ago and they still have not found him. Bought a bit of food and should be back off the mountain after a 3 or 4 days. Have a loaf of bread to mark my way in, so I can find my way back.
Love & Kisses

Sunday, November 15, 2009

slight delay

Ruins were Copan were good with lots of sculpture as advertised.  You could have entire plazas to yourself.  People must be reading the state department warnings about Honduras.  This morning I had a mid morning start and spent a half  hour melting on the bus waiting for it to leave town.  Then I saw someone putting on there sunglasses and thought where are mine.  As the bus was leaving I did a quick check of my gear as I did not remember packing the bag that had sunglasses , Raincoat, GPS ....  A kilometer out of town I hopped off the bus and got back to the hostel to find my bag at the back of the locker under the bed.  Now I have 50 minutes to wait for the next bus in the sun again.  So I am in the Internet cafe writing.
Love and Kisses

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Central America

Made it to Honduras where el Presidente has some issues and is getting to know the Brazilian ambassador better. The trip so far has gone as planned with Ida not being a problem with the Atlanta hop and arrived on time in San Pedro Sula. Taxi got me to the bus station not once being touched by any of the lorries that we were zipping between. With a little work found the right bus to Copan Runias (ruin) town. The town is in great shape as its name comes from the Mayan ruins next to it. Only took three tries to find the hostel as I wonder the stone paved streets. The town is only five blocks each way.

This trips goal is to work on a tan. Other goal so far is to find out if the rumors are of the Mayan calendar telling of the end of the world are true. I may also need to find out what I need to present at an alter to consult the gods on this. Would have sent this out last night, but the town had the power go out during my dinner, so I ended up with a candle lit dinner. When I was getting my bed there was something said in Spanish about no water and electricity. As I was not getting what was being said they spoke faster and added more words I did not understand. An Aussie came by then to tell me that the power had been out earlier in the day and there was yet no water. Nice to be back in a civilized country where paper is put in the trash and not in the toilet.
Love & Kisses

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Backpack is loaded and ready to go.

Hi all,

It is time for another trip as I have been layoff.  I am off to sunnier places to climb volcanoes, go up tall ancient ruins where others have left there hearts, and wandering through jungles on this trip.  There will be some diving and snorkeling also to be done.  So can you guess where I will be, in a tropical breeze?  Trip starts in five days and I will be updating my blog on my travels. 


Love and kisses,