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

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