Dead Reckoning: Lost Nevados Day 04
March 5, 2016 | Hostel La Laguna aka the Shaolin Temple to Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados
The birds were chirping, cows were lowing, there were a few cats hopping in the grass, the palm trees and the pine trees were swaying in unison—an ideal idyl.
I Day 04 Intro & Stats
START – STOP: Hostel La Laguna aka the Shaolin Temple – Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados (Nevado el Cisne Entrance)
DISTANCE: 11.8 mi.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
ELEVATION GAIN: 5355 ft.
RIDING TIME: 6:03:09
TIME AWAKE SPENT IN PURSUIT OF THE TRIP, ROUGHLY: 9:00:00
POINTS OF INTEREST / OBJECTIVES: Drink the hot chocolate at the Hostel La Laguna. Experience some Colombian Horse Attitude. Take in Benedict’s various outdoor latrine locations.
CUE SHEET: KML DOWNLOAD
WEATHER: At this point we were high enough that we weren’t just riding inside someone’s mouth. In fact, the weather was fantastic. At points was it hot? Yes. At points was it a little chilly? Sure. But these were the extremes you see, and we toggled between them like a ping pong ball, spending most of our time just floating around in a vast beatific expanse of green.
It turns out that while we were at the Hostel La Laguna and for the following two days we were up riding on the volcano it was raining/flooding/waterfalling in Manizales. At least, this is what our Specialized friends Carolina and Santiago would tell us when we got back. We had no sense of this: our morning was sunny and warm and though the mountain remained veiled in clouds we knew it was up there, towering over our heads. Not in an ominous, threatening, bully-on-the-playground way; rather, it was putting out the “Hey, I’m up here guys, can’t wait to meet you!” vibe. The birds were chirping, cows were lowing, there were a few cats hopping in the grass, the palm trees and the pine trees were swaying in unison—an ideal idyl. It was what I would describe as a not-having-a-care-in-the-world-moment (NHACITWM)—a highly sought-after, if not the most highly sought-after type of moment. In other words, the kind of moment that motivates you to go on these kind of adventures in the first place, hell the reason you go out into the world at all. Everything just kinda melts away and you get to be wholly and completely present. Sorry to be waxing philosophy light, I know that this may come off too reiki and crystals, a bit too put-yourself-in-a-fetal-position-and-let-the-transcendental-vibes-wash-over-you. I know how it sounds and if that’s how you’re hearing it, that’s cool, I don’t know if there is any way around it.Whatever words we choose here, New Age or Old Testament, they’re just going to get in the way because it’s exactly the absence of words, the absence of thought that a NHACITWM represents. The whole purpose is to get to that fool on the hill status, trust me, there is absolutely nothing more blissful.”- YJ
In order to pay homage to the mysterious forces that undoubtably guide our adventures, we worked with artist Cahill Wessel to create a series of representative artistic visions that evoke these spirits. In essence the water which comes out of these bottles is charged with the totem emblazoned on the vessel.
II A Chronological Breakdown of the Day's Events
- 9:15 am: In Colombia, no matter what time of the year it is, the sun comes up around 6:00 am and sets around 6:00 pm—it’s an equatorial thing. And if you’ve been reading along with us you should know by now that we spend two to three hours per day just trying to avoid the sun. In short, we sleep in. This has nothing to do with not wanting to get up, not wanting to ride, not wanting to adventure. In fact I think that it’s quite the opposite. This is freedom, this is adventure, this is doing the right thing, this is pulling the sleeping bag up over your eyes and getting back to that dream where your dog is talking to you about how boring vanilla ice cream is and how she can’t understand why anyone would eat it.
- 9:16 am: Before your dog gives you the rest of her vanilla ice cream spiel you wake up. We wake up. We’re in a Shaolin Temple Hostel in Colombia. Wait, is this an Inception deal, a dream within a dream thing? Probably not, at least not for me, because I am positive that I don’t have any secrets worth extracting. Sure, okay, you want to know my PIN? Don’t go through the effort, I’ll give you that 216 dollars outright, especially if you get me back to that dog-vanilla conversation. “Listen dog, vanilla has a subtlety to it that apparently your 300 million scent receptors just don’t get.”
- 9:17 am: Turns out it didn’t rain last night and even though the sun has been cooking for three hours, most of the boys who slept in the manger have yet to rise. Andy is still sleeping under the picnic table, and there is no visible movement from the tents.
- 9:37 am: Cole, Daniel, and Kyle order breakfast. Eggs, rice, a little bit of meat, an arepa, and some KNOCKOUT hot chocolate. Come on in, guys the COCOA is fine!!!
- 9:45 am: The southwestern part of the manger’s fence includes a single, crotch-high line of electrified wire, it doesn’t carry a fatal charge but it’ll definitely give a 600 pound cow cause for pause. Word quickly spreads that while attempting to transit over the fence Benedict may have caught some of his low hanging fruit on the vine and that this may have precipitated a slight early-emission situation. Shocking11Groan.—ed as this may be it was not to be the crowning achievement of Benedict’s day, as the stomach bug that was hitting him hard yesterday would be pulling out all the stops on today’s ascent.
- 9:47 am: Turns out the Shaolin Temple Hostel is $13 a night per person including food. Yeah, go here.
- 10:15 am: We’re riding. WE’RE RIDING—said in the key of Bill Murray in What about Bob?
- 10:45 am: Turns out the loose and rocky road just goes up and the scenery is stunning. Turns out this is great. Turns out this is really fantastic.
- 11:07 am: I don’t know if palm trees mixing with pine trees is a common thing, maybe I’m just not aware of it, but seeing these two come together here really makes me think that the world has a chance, you know?
- 11:54 am: By this point Benedict has left more than a handful of indelible marks on the Colombian countryside.
- 12:30 pm: We break for lunch where the road dips slightly and the trees provide a nice canopy to keep us out of the sun.
- 12:31 pm: Kyle spills gasoline while trying to get his stove lit. While the subsequent ground fire didn’t ever really threaten the surrounding habitat, for a split-second there was a thought that it could. The queasy feeling of being the one responsible for a natural disaster is probably close to what Benedict was feeling all day. Imagine spending the whole day feeling like you caused a tsunami, poor guy.
- 12:32 pm: Benedict goes off to leave another mark. Patrick and Andy relentlessly tease him about his malfunctioning trapdoor.
- 12:36 pm: Once again we’re riding.
- 1:25 pm: Most of us are pushing our bikes. If memory serves, Andy is the only one with the legs and the lungs to continue riding. Is this impressive? I think so, but there is also the thought that maybe he has mental issues and that though these deficiencies give him a leg up in high-altitude pain management, maybe they don’t come so in handy back in the real world, once he’s out of the “shit.” Only time will tell.
- 2:05 pm: We’ve reached about 10,000 feet and it’s definitely true: Poppi’s Pizzeria is officially and awfully closed. Guys, Benedict is not having a good day. Due to the extravagant charity of his bowels his body has been forced to dig really deep. He’s hallucinating; the content of his visions we can’t possibly explain here as we don’t have the expressive capacity, but we’re sure he opened a few doors that remain closed to the rest of us.
- 2:36 pm: We’ve all basically run out of water.
- 3:11 pm: We’re still out of water even though we passed a horse trough a few minutes back that could’ve maybe been filtered. We decided to pass based on the look and feel of Benedict’s current state.
- 3:36 pm: We’ve discovered the ranger station. No one’s home.
- 3:37 pm: We begin to argue about whether to stay on the ranger station’s grounds or to push on, up the hill, and find a place to camp for the night.
- 3:38 pm: One party insists that the easily accessible outhouses and cleared flatground make the ranger station the obvious choice.
- 3:39 pm: The other party points to the time-honored idea that when you’re out on an adventure you avoid authority figures at all cost, especially if you know that the route you’ve chosen has a built-in element where you’re supposed to expressly disregard the authority figure’s power over its dominion.
- 3:40 pm: A third party doesn’t really care and sits down and leans against the ranger station, letting the golden afternoon sun coat his legs like a warm blanket fresh from the dryer.
- 3:54 pm: It’s settled: we’ll be staying at the ranger station. Turns out there really isn’t any other flat spot in sight. It also turns out that Benedict can make use of these outhouses. They’re really nice and have running water.
- 4:30 pm: We make dinner, still no rangers.
- 4:57 pm: Our tents are set up, the sun is dipping behind the mountains. It looks like it’s going to be a pleasant, hassle-free night.
- 4:58 pm: The sound of a motorcycle can be heard gurgling down the hill above us.
- 4:59 pm: You guessed it. The rangers.
- 5:02 pm: Turns out Kyle and Daniel have parked their tent in the ranger’s motorcycle driveway. They’ll need to move their tent.
- 5:03 pm: Turns out Cole has parked his sleeping bag/pad set up in the ranger’s motorcycle garage. He too will need to relocate.
- 5:13 pm: After shuffling our gear around and reestablishing camp the ranger lets us know that we will need to be up and out of camp by 7:00 am. It’s cool that we sleep here but he has a group coming in the morning and the flat ground is of paramount importance to their visit.
- 5:13 pm: So much for sleeping in.
- 5:55 pm: The crew is pretty much just lounging around, reading, telling jokes, having a nice little time.
- 6:45 pm: It’s been dark for about 20 minutes when the rangers fire up their generator. Do they have the right to use it? ‘Right’ is such a strong word. Is it extremely loud? Yes it is.
- 7:45 pm: That generator is still doing its thing.
- 8:53 pm: Still generating. Since about 7:00 pm most of us have given up reading; you can tell because there are no lights on in any of the tents. For the past two hours we’ve all been laying in silence hoping that, despite the mechanical metronome keeping a happy hardcore tempo feet from our heads, we’d fall asleep.
- 9:35 pm: If I remember right I am still awake at this point. But I can’t be sure. I think it’s around this time I fall asleep. I can’t speak for the other guys.
III Words & Phrases to Know
DISENTARIA: dysentery. ‘Hey guys, although it’s true that Benedict’s abs have never looked so good do you think maybe we should be worried he’s caught la Disentaria?’
COLERA: cholera. ‘Hey guys, damn, you can’t help but notice that Benedict’s looking more ripped then ever but shouldn’t we be worried that he might have come down with la Colera?’
Good Morning, Hot Cocoa Oh, hello there electric fence!
V The Road Ramps Up
VI Lunch in the Midst of Ascension
VII Leaving Lunch Behind
VIII Restrooms and Resting Places
Buffalos are amazing animals, and more than the Bald Eagle or the Rattle Snake or John Wayne we think they should be recognized as America’s Animal Spirit.
Lost Nevados Threads: Andy Grabarek A Systematic Breakdown of The Pusher's Clothing
- 1. Keeps the undercarriage operating smoothly.
- 1. Five USD from a local Colombian store.
- 1. It's so old and thin that the cotton wicks better than even the finest merino wools. Also Rob Halford.
- 1. The one jacket to rule them all.