Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sierra Nevada del Cocuy

Guicán was an interesting little town to check out for a day, pretty chill. Except for the holiday that we happened to hit, which filled the plaza with school children.

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(we still didn't have a good map for the area, so this filled in for some of our planning)

(on the way out of Guican towards the dirt road that connects it to El Cocuy)

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(the ride itself was beautiful, hiking even better)

(our view from our room at hacienda la Esperanza)

We stayed at Hacienda la Esperanza for a couple of nights and absolutely loved it! Highly recommended. Guille, who is now running the place, which has been in his family for generations, is one of the world's greatest hosts. He invited us to join him and friends for some drinks around a fire the first night, cooked incredibly tasty meals (10000 pesos for dinner, but well worth it. In fact, please don't expect this if you visit the place, but after our long day of hiking (which happened to be after the long night of drinking) he even brought us - in bed- home made bruschetta/pizzas made of lamb and eggplant along with some hot agua de panela ( a traditional sweet tea). Words can't describe how amazing that was.), and takes excellent care of all of his guests. We also enjoyed meeting some other travelers there from Germany and England.

Our hike up to the Lagunas de la Sierra Nevada was timed perfectly. Somehow, we managed to be there on a sunny day, the first in a few weeks. While the hike was only reported to take 7 hours, we ended up taking 9 hours. Some of that had to do with the hospitality from the night before, some of that had to do with our lack of physcial activity over the past few months, and some had to do with the noticable effect that the altitude had on Jill - we ended up walking up to 4600 meters (over 15,000 ft). Jill ended up saying some pretty silly things near the top. And was definitely shuffling her feet more than at the bottom. So we fed her lots of chocolate and water and got back down to warmth and more oxygen.

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(Jill before she got loopy)

(there was some steep walking to approach the lakes, and catch sight of the glaciers)

(we saw some specific evidence of pumas on the way back down)

Most travelers to the area are dependent on the milk truck for transportation to la Esperanza and other trailheads. It makes its rounds everyday.

(alternative transportation)

(our transportation)


  1. Hi guys. Was just catching up on your blog as we'll be hitting the road south very soon. Looks like you're still having an amazing time :)
    Just wondering if you've experienced any issues with the fuel quality in Central and South America at all. We were contemplating buying a filter for our transalp, but not sure if it's worth it.
    Look forward to maybe catching up with you somewhere along the way perhaps!
    Lisa & Dan

    1. Hey Lisa and Dan! We are looking forward to following along as you start moving south again. And it would be great to catch you somewhere along the way.

      Overall we have had pretty good luck with gas. And aside from poor combustion in northern Brazil (no big deal) and a couple of instances of clogged pilot jets (maybe even the same damn speck of dirt that I just couldn't get unlodged), there haven't been many issues. In fact, I just rebuilt the petcock (needed) and went ahead and replaced the fuel filter, which was not needed, but easy enough to do while in there already. So after crossing all of Central America and northern South America the internal fuel filter didn't appear fouled at all. **Note that I did carry that spare internal filter, and would probably do the same if I were to do it again.**

      What kept me from adding an external inline filter was that it has been reported to reduce range since the TA is gravity fed, but that's just something I read on the internet, so take that with a grain of salt.

      Hope this helps your thought process some.
      And have fun getting back on the bike!

      Mike & Jill

  2. Another Great Blog! Miss you guys! Enjoy all the posts!

    1. Hey Bobbi, great to hear from you. Glad you are enjoying the blog. How is everything going in the ´ville? Please tell the family hi for me. We miss you all too. We will be home eventually.