It all starts here...hehehe
I waited for like 3 years to made that shot.
A slight play on numbers that at first glance may seem innocent, but there are grounds , believe, and it is not funny att all . My return to Itatiaia National Park had long been delayed , due to chemotherapy, because of a winter cold front opportunistic , because of my agenda that could not match with my friend and fellow in the mountains, and in particular there, finally , several reasons that invariably , made the plans go wrong . This time everything went right , and not just for us , for more friends . Why should I let a cancer disrupt our way ?
Miss the park made my heart beat strong all the way, Lilianne is the main witness of this fact, hear me speak these words at least once or twice every week. As said above, would not let leukemia mess with it. The number two Paulo Cesar (rock climber) reserved the Rebouças Hut for a night with ten vacancies and invited me . From start he gave some spots to use so I tried to invite Tacio, Aline , another Paulo photographer (with whom I went to Morro das Torres recording the Brazilian Snow) , who tried to invite his friend Marcelo .
From the party of Paulo from Volta Redonda (the rock climber dude), all his friends gave up the idea since they look the weather forecast for Itatiaia in climatempo ( even after I spent some time explaining that I do not see the weather forecst to Itatiaia on this site since they use cities that are within 400m, 500m altitude and that's it, and the park road which is the highest in Brazil is at 2,400 m above sea level, are two vertical kms of difference here!) . Therefore, we use the specialized site Mountain Weather Forecasts, which with latitude and longitude coordinates, builds its forecasts upon Agulhas Negras to predict the time at the park . Literally 2,300 meters above where Paul 's friends looked the forecast. The result was quite obvious, all of them gave up.
Obviously the weather is not applicable, and based on this , thr group aborted their participation in the use of the hut with us. Therefore , our group stayed summarized to only six of the sixteen vacancies in the shelter . No other group would join us , which gave us hope of stretching the reservation for another night there, leaving the park Monday morning comfortably .
Second shot of the trip, wow! (panorama composed by nin shots)
Ok, keep reading it
Starting the trek
Tacio and Aline again
Tacio , Aline and I left Sao Paulo Friday the 8NOV2013 afternoon , no hurry , hoping we arrived at night and sleep somewhere on the road that goes up park , since there are no more options to camp unless you have a reservations to camp besides the hut (10 tents space, thre persons each) ,or stayed in a hotel at the base of the park cities ( Resende , Queluz , Itatiaia or Itamonte ),or sleep in secret without drawing attention already above the line of the 2000 meters, coming early in the main entrance, that was more like us, done it dozens of times .
Let's be clear about something first, everyone because I know is aware of our reputation and concern for the preservation of the site. every time we go, we enter, left, and never leave anything but footprints . This is our way and we practiced by the book .
Well, after a few hours of road, a stop for dinner, soon sunset , we arrived at Garganta do Registro (1669m - Entrance of the dirt road to the park itself), it was night , and began to drive up. On the way up we saw several great places to casmp, but in plain sight, so we keept going up towards the place where we planned to camp . Did not work , part of the budget of R$ 350,000.00 invested in the park was recently applied to side road protections, preventing entry of vehicles at this point of the road . Patience , we left for option B. Entered the road leading to the Sierra Negra neighborhood, we descended about 800 meters down the road until we found a broad stretch, enough to fit the car parked and our tents , without preventing the passage of others . So we did , and we were right there , at 2.080 meters. Fair enough for us.
Then I noticed that my blood precarious state was more precarious than I imagined . Had in mind something around 7.0 of hemoglobin and hematocrit of 22 % , which would be 50 % of normal in a healthy man . This alone would be enough for most even leave the house. Just putting up my tent had two episodes of almost fainting just lowering myself to pick up the sticks and getting up again, even if slowly as prevention. I Was breathless and tachycardic , with at least 130 HR ( heart rate ) . Wow I thought, " is even too much , I'll see how it rolls tomorrow, but I think I cannot take 1km walk out of the hut..." . Truste me, it was very, very sad to me just to think about the possibility. Planned to illuminate the tent and make a night , I could not stand on my feet, I was beat up...Once I finished assembling the tent and without fixing specks , walked and slept deeply.
I woke up early , with the first projections of sunshine, before six in the morning. Shortly before a car passed us though that does not hurt my sleep . This time, with natural lighting got up , left the tent, and I was feeling a little better . Maybe overnight at two thousand meters has forced my marrow to produce something coming through the momentarily state of extreme hypoplasia she is , I do not know , but the feeling I had was that my red number had risen a little , felt " acclimated " .
Relieved the bladder, made three or four photos, walked a hundred yards down the road and noticed that we were super close to a river , walked back . Hence three bikes now comming up the road, were the park rangers of Itatiaia, luckily, I knew two of them and even without entering the gate of the high end for at least two and a half years, I think they remembered me. Waved and continued into the beginning of another day's work in paradise.
How ironic , we sought a recluse , hiding place , and stopped just at the site most frequented by park rangers, since most of them live in the Sierra Negra neighborhood, another paradise in mantiqueira Crusted more than 1,500 meters of altitude at the base of Serra Negra Peak, also known as "Black Stone" by locals, where we come walking in October 2010 . Enough now to disassemble everything and follow the plan to hit the park entrance as soon as possible.
So we followed , and during the ascent we passed by Marcelo's car. They were less discreet, stopped the car on a nerve in front of Alsene and bivy there hehehe , the most likely option is there to sleep. I think that day the guards were kinda "zen", because apparently turned a blind eye to the fact too. They wasn't ready then we went our way to the rangers statin, and heard the old joke about where we camp . Jokes were made of course, but everyone remembered the face of everyone and no one stressed in, a relaxed conversation quickly changed the subject to balance the inputs and overnight at the refuge. The second night, we got to stay there, what a beauty ah?
Arriving at the refuge we prepare to start walking toward our goal, Crystal Peak of Itatiaia of 2552 meters above sea level (altitude measured by Tácio in 2010 , when repeated this year , gave us 2543 meters, petty close ) , which is the left side of the trail that leads to the Aiuruoca waterfall, with a privileged view of the Pedra do Sino Itatiaia (2,670 meters ) , Unnamed Peak (which holeds Hermes Wing rock - 2,649 meters) and the Agulhas Negras (2,792 meters) and finally the great Sierra Negra Peak (2,572 meters).
While preparations was finalized soon after eating breakfast , the rest of the group arrived , so our group was complete and so we set all together in six , on the trail that goes to the Agulhas Negras and several other elevations of the oldest national park in Brazil .
Calmly , with amazing weather and mild temperatures, we enjoyed every step within the number one for the Brazilian mountaineering place number one ( I myseilf consider havens for Brazilian mountaineering three specific locations : Itatiaia National Park , Serra do Ibitiraquire and Caparaó National Park), mountain paradises where mountaineering, adventure, photography, wildlife walk side by side in harmony. The walker has just to practice the necessary respect.
Now that's a shot isn't it? Do not say it isn't, I'm very very proud of it hehehe.
Thought to be somewhat reduced the number of Flamenguinho frog we saw in the park , on other occasions I visited the park in the same month, saw an infinitely greater number , but as this year is atypical and the seasons are "comming late" about three weeks , the number will certainly increase considerably . Even so , we have seen many , and the erotic frenzy in puddles on the traditional cups Rocks park was rolling loose, then wait and check , the park will be in the best mood right.
Slowly, slowly we progress along the path , and arriving at the " trifurcation " where the hike sdivides in three ways , I felt more and more the burden of my poor blood. It seemed impossible to give ten steps without reach tachycardia, no matter hoe slow I was . Stretching for twenty paces , my heartbeat went from 150 andI got dizzy. Dangerous, so I needed constant stops and so the entire group was late for my fault . I can not lie, I felt so ashamed and thought of Parofes I used to be and what 's left of Parofes today, but how important is it? How concerned were the people who accompanied me in this regard? Bet you, anything at all. However , psychologically , for me this was devastating.
Still, life goes on , and the road is long. With great effort we reached altitude of 2,550 meters where the trail flattens and becomes extremely eroded , where you walk forward without gaining or losing even one meter . There I got back to being a mountaineer and won the ground a little more quicly. The trail is now marked with platelets , and this is good for the less experienced don't get lost. After a few minutes we saw the "Y" division, to right, the Altar Rock and left, continuing down the route of the crossing we were doing .
I thought fast and gave an interesting idea for half of our companions, to Paulo photographer, to Paulo climber and Marcelo, since no one of the were mountaineers, to hike the trail to Altar Rock summit, and to met us down there further on our trail since we were moving so slowly. None of them had stepped on top of the mountain that sustains an enviable altitude (2,665) mand reign on the list of highest mountains of Brazil (10th highest). They quickly agreed and climbed the stone while Tacio , Aline and I continued down to our goal .
From there we were relatively close, all we had to to was to go arounf the massif of Altar Peak and we would be face to face to our goal. We continued calmly , photographing , and enjoying the place pornographic bash flat flamenguinhos thrush, having sex in any wet place. When we finished the curve we saw the hill in front, and a providential sequence of rocky ramps in its slope. Shortly after our stop for a medium lunch, salami with natural lemon fruit from the fruit, which I took with me.
When I saw those natural sections of rock ramps, I thought about going up there, but we had to cross a small patch of tall grass and I could not risk cuts , bruises and a pool, nor think, since it is one of the places most frequented by snakes in the park. Thought, and aborted alone without verbalizing my idea.
Differently and while I thought Tacio thought equal, but he talked outloud. Commented that the same thought , but feared there was a puddle. Tacio was up to investigate and came to the conclusion that we could move without great difficulty . So off we went .
What happens, I think, is that we already climbed many mountains in the Park, open for visitors, prohibited , named, unnamed, to climb the easy way is not always more our option. So without even realizing it , just suggesting each other a way that can present some challenge, you know, think that's it. Although cross that bush possibly present in some obstacle, we would have less altitude difference to win from the normal longer trail, from the other side. Hell , straight ahead we go!
Finished, it took us no more than ten minutes in crossing the stretch that proved to be a hundred yards straight, and did not represent any challenge worthy of real shitholes where we already stick our boots before I have to say, all in the distant eastern edge of the park, vaccinated, we were pretty much okay. On the other side , and on the first ramp rock, a new stop for my heart beat to lower down a bit.
Behind us down the trail crossing , the trio was already approaching when we still had began to climb the first slope of rocks. Shouted to them explaining the crossing and when we listened and started down the little valley we turn our backs and follow to the final mountain summit ridge.
There were less than 800 meters straight from our goal, and following the little ramps, rock ramps in about half an hour again we surpassed the line of the 2,500 meters (after getting down to 2,300m), in the main ridge of the mountain. Thence to the top for the couple was a walk in the park (Tacio and Aline), and for me a constant struggle between my body just wanted to lie down and sleep, and my mind that I had in front of an irrevocable goal, there very close, palpable after Steps...steps. stops... I got there eventually.
Some shots of the summit...or not
Off we go!
Behind them, the whole massif of Massen Peak and Massena Northwest Peak.
The flowers are Amarilis Hippeastrum morelianum.
Resting and enjoying a privileged view full of Amarilis around us, with the Serra Negra Peak very close by, and near the rocky formation known as Chicken eggs closer still , talked and did some photos. At the same time and after close to 40 minutes, we notice that the trio did not come. Ten minutes passed, twenty minutes, thirty minutes and nothing. Aline was to see where they were and found them behind the mountain a few feet below, around 40 feet, tired, bet up. They took the wrong way and gave up the climb. Aline called them , and only the Paulo photographer decided to climb up , Marcelo decided along Paulo rock climberto go around back the way he came , they were tired, trashed out.
So Paulo photographer joined us on the summit . Aline wanted to keep going toPedra do Sino de Itatiaia (2,670m), Tacio was not much in the mood go there because he knew it would be a long way to go and it was already two in the afternoon , It was late for an attack on a mountain of 2,670 meters that would add up 4kms of trackking including its top down to the brand of 2,350 meters near the chicken eggs. Even so, she's his girlfriend and he gave up, I said to him I d be okay regarding my return , since this was a big complicating factor in all our works , me and a possible collapse . I said I d be okay because after all I would not be alone, and even being the only one who knew the way back pro refuge, felt well enough to do it. Aborted without hesitation to invest on my chicken eggs assault , and we parted ways.
I decided to take the same way back , and so we did , slowly , stopping every five minutes and talking a lot about mountains, the park, and many varied subjects always related to mountaineering of course.
We took an eternity, but we got to the top of the trail and walked back into the upper plateau , the base of the Altar Peak . There we could accelerate a little more because our water was gone . Soon after around the mountain , near the warning sign, we find a natural water fount and collect pure mountain water . It was great and very relaxing ... Relieved , we follow our path.
Even knowing that from there on our way we had to go for a while only downhill , we were all pretty tired , and I , well, beyond my limit. I do not know where I found the strength to keep walking . As Tacio sometimes says, we turn on the "autopilot" and that must be it. when I'm pretty tired I use the counting steps, did not help more , look ahead was s torture because I saw how much we had to go , so I limited myself to look at the floor . Even as tired as I was, I tried to kept them relaxed with conversations, and I upgraded the group periodically on how long we had to go to reach the hut.
So, slowly and more slowly, just as I predicted, we arrived at Rebouças Hut at 6:51pm. Fortunately , because of the summer time, with daylight, with the sun shining yet in our faces.
All relax in the outdoor garden at the side of the dam , and I immediately began to calculate the time required for my friends to comply with the object and return safely. Since we also know all those paths, as well as Tacio, numbers and trails flew through my head that even deprived of oxygen and killing me with pain, well calculated.
We entered, and all was laid even before eating something, all bodies needed at least ten minutes in bed before eating. After the relaxed , each made his meal, ate, and everyone went for the real rest, sleep. Marcelo roared like a wild boar that more resembled LOST (laughs) series, Paulo photographer tired slept silently and Paulo climber organized his backpack for the third time that day (laughs). Even lying, I could not fall asleep , sleeping and did not want to lose track indefinitely with the profound nap. Wanted to be alert. Incidentally, had told the Paulo climber that if Tacio and Aline did not arrive until 22:30, I would go in search of them. Promptly he said he would go with me. Great, I like that sense of urgency he noticed on me.
The hours passed and I reassess it in the head , already relieved under the effect of tylenol (one of the best inventions of mankind I must say). And then to be revised three or four times thinking of variables, when the clock marked 9:50pm, I started to get ready and prepare for a fast lookouy before start walking. Paulo climber prepared as well, our plan was to hike a small hill beside the hut, even earning only twenty meters of elevation, that would give us a huge advantage against huge rocks, enough to be able to see headlamps coming from a considerable distance.
We took everything, and when I held my gloves and went into the kitchen of the hut, Tacio opened the door . Whow...looks like my calculations were right gain ah? What a relief...
Paulo climber had done plenty of pasta already thinking about Tacio and Aline, and this was providential, because they were exhausted from walking so much and would not cook at all. His return path went out completely different than I imagined , all three variants that I could put up together in my tired and troubled head. They ended up breaking a very difficult terrain of colossal rocks, dodged entire legions of Orcs and Goblins in an attempt to reach safe and sound to our castle. The task was very difficult in terms of navigation, especially the moonless night as the sky was partly cloudy, but by combining the knowledge of the terrain and technological Tacio fixture in their hands, they arrived safely.
Both ate and went to bed immediately. Relieved, we all went to sleep.
Sunday. Dawned a relentless sun, watered the tranquility that should only be compared to a soil full of bodies after colossal battle in which all succumbed to death . At the sound of birds I stayed, Tacio and Aline lawn outside the shelter just talking about the day before and many other subjects. Paulo photographer and Marcelo were walking to the waterfall of flowers and disrupt a couple who engaged himself in coitus, and Paulo climber returned to Morro do Couto hoping not to break his ankle again.
Soon the duo returned, prepared his things and said goodbye , they would face the traffic back to Sao Paulo on Sunday, around one in the afternoon. They took everything and left. Our group has now boiled down to four people in the shelter, and the alleged group of ICMBIO who would stay and do field research ended up not attending .
The only work we did for our delight on the sun was drying our tents and store them properly , what we did not Saturday morning . During this work , I had a new episode that took me almost fainting, down to my knees, damn it!
After lunch we decided to walk a little bit down the road towards the base of Prateleirs Peal to shoot something, and went up , but as I was completely defeated and other bleeding from the nose after a quarter mile I decided to stop.
Some shots of the rest/photo time...
Always happy to see you my beloved Agulhas Negras!
Gorgeous isn't it?
toilet paper up my nostrils trying to stop the bleeding.
Okay, keep going...
Not the first one on this trip, not the last one too!JUst love them!
The goob bye shot. Will I ever see this mountain again?
We stayed there for a good time, talking while Tacio was working on a time lapse (several shots to a short time video. Total of 115 shot I guess). Then they stretched the ride to Prateleiras hoping to have a beautiful sunset lighting. I had no strength, could only settle for the return. As I returned , I met with some tarantulas preparing to hunt on the roadside at night already close . I chose one , I sat beside her , gently took it and left it walk on my arm . After two minutes she got a little skittish, not receptive to interaction, then left her return the stony ground and made three pictures of her.
I came back to my return to the shelter, which seemed to be many more miles away. When I finally arrived , I was alone . There I refreshed mysel , ate an apple , and went to the bathroom to clean the blood from the nostrils . Traditionally this process causes me nausea , nosebleeds and besides I had bleeding gums also prevented by brushing my teeth , limiting me to gargle with toothpaste. When I cleaned the nose, retching was uncontrollable, missed almost the entire lunch on a vomit, too bad.
Cleaned up myself and tried to relax a little, and lay down, with tachycardia, and tried to keep myself as calm as possible. Hence when it was quieter I got up , left the shelter of the dam looked around and noticed that Tacio would have a beautiful show for photos , as the sky began to clear and the golden time approached, there would be a sunset to remember, to my position, impossible to do with all the massif of Morro do Couto in front blocking the view. All I did was, without having the strength to walk to the lookout in Morro Antenna, observe nature around me in all its fullness. Only, I could fully reflect, on many things. I guess in a way I won my moment too, even without the shots.
The sun has set, night fell, and around 20:30 Tacio and Aline arrived. We dined, we talked some more, and soon the sky was shut, ruining our plan to do some night shots. Paulo climber arrived soon afterwards after a whole day climbing in Couto, almost ten hours of rock with your friends. Wow, this guys really loves rock climbing hehehe
Nothing else to do, went to sleep . All woke early and left the park at around nine thirty in the morning on Monday. No traffic and quietly, three o'clock Tacio already dropped me home.
Now you guys will finally understand the title of the TR:
Tuesday I stayed home and rested. I made a deal with Lili that Wednesday 13th I'd come early to the hospital to see my situation and probably be admitted and that's what happened . My blood was very poor with only 5.1 of hemoglobin , 1,160 leukocytes and severe neutropenia, and only 12,000 platelets. That thing...with such a low red series, to climb a mountain of 2552 meters for me meant a peak of over 8,000 meters and without the use of supplemental oxygen, since my blood carried at the time literally only 1/3 of the oxygen that the blood a healthy man carries. Surprising. How I did it, I do not know. Well...it gets explained my extreme weakness.
Did a new myelogram (16th) , immunophenotyping and damn bone marrow biopsy (2nd) again. On the same day I made tomography of the paranasal sinuses and chest. The result of tomes have been something annoying, acute sinusitis and pneumonia, This is something that has been going on for propably two weeks the MD says. When the outcome of bone marrow then left, the house fell : The cord is already contaminated by 11.6 % blasts. The decision taken in, NOV 17, 2013, was immediate reinduction , that toxic chemo which almost killed me earlier this year.
Here we go again...
Did u get it? I'll write it again, I had at the same time all this shit:
>Acute sinusitis (running for at least three weeks at the left side of my face)
>Penumonia (running for at least three weeks)
>5.1 of hemoglobin (normal for a healthy man of my age would be between 13.5 and 17.0
>12.000 of plateles (damn, I should be on an emergency room getting some human juice!)
>1.160 of white blood cells, which btw doesn't stop anithyng...lol
>Anything more? Oh yes, 11,6¨of blast cells killing me day by day...and this number was growing of course. If I did the test lets say ten days later, probably would be like 20%. Maybe more.
Cool enough for ya? Not much for me.
Anyway , that's it . Slightly disappointed with this outcome , but it is no surprise , the bone mrrow was already dying since the end of last consolidation chem, did not recover as it did in the three previous consolidations. Therefore, drugs that come, I will go bald again, all over again...and hospitalized for undetermined time, spend my birthday here...just sad.
Wish me luck you all , I'll need.
PS: This trip report was completely written inside the hospital, published in Portuguese in www.altamontanha.com in Nov 18, 2013 in just a couple of hours. (I was admitted in nov 13, 2013). Annnnnd, I'm still here, 31 days after (and going...).
PS2: I promiss to correct most of the english mistakes as soon as possible, kinda on the rush here working on my release from the prison!
I guess I have maybe another 10 to 15 days inside, don't know for sure..I miss my wife and Mussarella so much...
Best wishes folks (my image on the happy holydays album is already online, did it last night :P)
Plans to visit this AMAZING PARK? Please, check the Weather Forecast first:
PS: The weather forecast on this link is not for this mountain but it will do just fine since the mountain from the forcast (Black Needles) is just a few kms away from it.
To hike/ climb is a dangerous activity and requires proper equipment and clothing, the owner of this page cannot be blamed by injuries caused to anyone who read this page for its info about the mountain, and eventually got hurt by doing so with reckless behaviour or bad weather conditions.
Paulo Roberto Felipe Schmidt – AKA: PAROFES
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