Last week our students had 10 days off for fall break (another awesome holiday we never used to get), and us teachers had to come in for professional development. BUT, at the end of it, we got a four day weekend! So, Kendra, I, and a bunch of other teachers decided it would be a good call to head up to the mountains and drag ourselves out of the sweltering heat-pit we call home.
Instead, we decided to hit up a much smaller, isolated range near the northern coast known as the Sierra Nevadas de Santa Marta. Turns out they’re the highest coastal mountains in the world! Bam! Take that Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain Range! And to begin our journey we hopped back on the always trusty Puerta-a-puerta and booked it down to Santa Marta, at the base of the range.
Our first stop on this journey was a small town called Minca, about 1500m above. When I visited Colombia 3 years ago I spent a week in Minca, visiting my old roommate Josh and getting to know his mountain neighbor Oscar (whom with we would be staying for a night on our way up the mountain).
[ click to play ]
Before too long, our fears of being abandoned in Texaco parking lot were assuaged and a somewhat shady van rolled up and asked where we were headed (well, the van didn’t ask us, but you know what I mean…)
We told him Minca, he said he had absolutely no idea where that was, but still promptly agreed to take us. Rather than brave the unknowns of a gas station parking lot at midnight, we decided to try our luck and take the ride.
We drove over waterfalls, we drove along cliff edges, we bottomed out, we topped out, we were avalanched on, and through it all Fidel remained in hilariously high spirits, joking all the way. And then we arrived!
Actually, it turns out Colombia is huge on the bird-watching circuit (totally a real thing) because it has the largest variety of bird species in the entire world!
And, after two nights in sleeping in slightly moldy bunk-beds, it was time to head back. Fidel picked us up, drove us all the way down to Santa Marta (after a lunch break in Minca), and we caught the puerta-a-puerta home. 8 hours after departure, we were back in our apartment, wondering how we could drag some mountain coolness back to the heat of the city.