5 seasons in one day

19 Apr

God created the world in 6 days. Stuart and I trekked Ilha Grande instead.  Day 5 of our hike around both hell and paradise…

Breakfast was delicious.  Leftover pasta and rain water.  Not too shabby for our 5th day in.  But although we solved the question of what to eat, we weren’t sure what we would drink.  Practically no money left and two days ahead of us, we tossed around the idea of ditching everything we had and making a b-line straight home.   We decided to play it by ear (not knowing our plans would fully be thwarted by a dessert like expansion of beach).  If we’d have the energy we would give it a try.  If not, then we’d settle down for one more night along the way.

In the meantime, we decided to see if a small shop on the beach would take everything we discarded (soups, meats, and a pair of mugs) in exchange for some water.

It worked!

Despite a language barrier and the fact that our meats were old and disgusting, the store clerk took most of our stuff and handed us two bottles of water and some cookies in exchange.

We set out, this time with a small dog in toe.  Whereever we went, he followed suit and soon enough, followed us all the way back home.  But before we left, we made sure to snap a few around the island’s famous palm tree.

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To get to the next beach would mean we had to literally scale a wall of rocks, though as our little mut showed us, we could have taken a trail to get up there as well.  It was a somewhat nervous climb as it was free rock climbing at its best, though the ascent was no more than 15 feet high.  Still, it look a few minutes to figure out which nooks and crannys to use and it was made more difficult because we were wearing flip flops.

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We walked at a snail’s pace along sharply sloped rocks that were wet from the waves crashing below them.  I found a faulty footing and lost my balance at one point, and the result was a slippery slide down into the ocean.  Stuart thought I was a gonner and so did I.  Luckily I was able to grab ahold of some  rocks and saved myself (and my stuff!) from a plumit into the water.  Needless to say, the rest of the walk was even more cautious.

The end of the rocks led us into an ecological preserve inaccessible for most of the season.  There are usually guards stationed at its entrance to thwart wanderers such as ourselves but we were fortunate enough to be there during the island’s low season.

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It was still early morning when we set out across the beach but it didn’t stay that way for long.  And soon enough, the sun was out in full glory, making our trek across the beach seem endless and difficult.  Completing the rest of the island in one day was pretty much out of the question.

The beach, surrounded by rocks on one side, was surrounded by a lagoon/swamp on the other.

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Our faithful dog, dubbed “doggie” by my British friend, came along for the ride.  But be it that we were worried about alligators in the marshy lands ahead of us, we made sure to let the dog go first, like an appetizer for any awaiting predators.

Luckily there were no gators while we were there and we made it past the marsh waist deep in water, but unscathed.

It was like a video game:
Level I: Rocks
Level II: The Beach
Level III: Alligators
Level IV: The Beach, Part Two
Level V: Jungle

The marsh brought us to another beach and another long walk across a “desert” ensued, but it was the jungle ahead that posed the biggest problem.

We embarked on a trail into the woods.  According to the map, we would be going north over a small mountain to arrive at our next location.  But the “trail” quickly became entangled in vines and trees and there was no obvious direction to go.

We contemplated using our machetes to hack our way through.  But we didn’t have  a compass so the decision was made to head back to the trail’s entrance and see if we could get some help.

Luckily, a few surfers were camped out nearby and in Stuart’s broken Portuguese, we learned we had gone up the wrong path.  Thank God!  Because taking our chances with the north star would have surely proved disastrous.  Not to mention that we were in the southern hemisphere, and I have no idea whether the north startwould even be the one to follow.

Again, doggie would take the lead on our next trail.  We were well deep in the jungle, and after our run in with a snake the day before, we were not taking any chances.  Doggie was proving to be quiet useful.

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Then finally, after another grueling trek, we were on a mostly abandoned beach that registered as my favorite of the trip.  We set up camp and cooked up a huge fire, this time without using any lighter fluid at all.  We engineered another stove like we had done the night before and feasted on some more pasta.  The sky was relatively clear and it was the perfect way to go out.

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And in full light of the moon, we even managed to get our tent looking pretty damn respectable.

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