It all started with an exchange of emails before last week between me and Pedro, who unfortunately did not result in a date that would serve for both of us. Also exchanged emails with Julio but just waiting for a good weather forecast. To Know the mountains Ferraria Peak (1.754 m) and Taipabuçú (1.732 m) was a great desire for me and Pedro, then, we wanted to go together and the idea was to go with Julio, who was busy with work.
The days passed and life was showing itself more and more challenging as the problems appear, so I need get myself together to make that happen. Yet another issue appeared last week and I was very upset. What is the best tool for a mountaineer fight it? Go to the mountain. As if guessing what had happened, Pedro sent me an email curiously at the moment I received the unfortunate news to invite me for the 37th Mountain Dinner and then to Sierra, to hike a few peaks. I thought half an hour before responding with money running through my sight until I thought again, "you know what, fuck it, let's enjoy the mountains. i'm screwed anyway. " I answered the email.
We agreed to meet on Friday (5/14/2010), and 10:00 in the morning I was meeting with Pedro in Brooklyn (Brazilian neighborhood) and after breakfast we hit the road. Only one stop to eat something, it was junkie food, but much better and cheaper than McDonalds. We arrived in Curitiba late in the afternoon, no traffic at all.
We went to the market to complete the provisions for the mountain. Pedro shares with me that no matter how the situation is, eating well on the mountain is very important. He gave me a great idea: take pizza pan, sauce, cheese, oregano and do some pizza up there! I completed the thought with another one, take rice and salt meat to a more elaborate dinner.
We spent only R$ 36,00 (about US$ 20.00) for food and headed for Pedro's place. Getting there Hilton called us combining the time for we to meet at the 37th mountain dinner. Since the 35th edition I was curious to see the look of that event! Packed our bags, leaving all with weight balanced and prepared to wake up, have coffee and leave for the Sierra. Without haste and without crisis since the forecast was great for Saturday and Sunday. When the time came, we went out for the great dinner.
The dinner was really historic, but I missed some friends that I have much appreciation such as Julio Fiori (http://www.altamontanha.com/categoria.asp?CatID=2&Cat=Julio%20Fiori), who had to go to work in Posadas (Argentina). It would be very nice also review Moises and Eliza, who also could not be there. I leave here a hug to everyone!
What can I say about the dinner? It was the best and I feel sorrow and Pedro too at every ten minutes because we left the cameras in his place, no pictures! About 400 people, all related to mountaineering, Andes, climbing and marumbinismo (People who climb the famous mountain in southern Brazil called Marumbi). Sensational! The air was breathed by all in common and with the same feeling, and I dare say that not only I but everyone present there enjoyed the dinner in an atmosphere different from people who normally only see each other on rock climbing, trail hiking or ice climbing. I found it really majestic. The food was not good but nobody cared about it. Breathing all that experience exchange was incredible! Certainly i'll be in the next edition of the dinner!
Well, where was I? Sierra! We arrived at Pedro's place shortly before 01:30 am. We went to sleep fast bcuz on saturday morning we would go out straight to Sierra nonstop. Woke up late, had breakfast and went out too late! We went to McDonalds and got small, cheap sandwiches just to put some protein and calories inside before starting to walk. We went to Farm Pico Paraná where we arrived at noon. Many cars at the farm, 15 or 20. We knew we'd see a lot of people on trail so there's no point in rush to get started. We had lunch, took water and began to hike the Getulio hill half hour after our arrival at the farm.
It was very hot, sun on our heads. I was sweating like a pig. Still, we passed two groups slower than us and two couples who had reached the hill and were enjoying the view. I suffered to get on top of the hill Getúlio. Bathed in my own sweat. We took some photos, quick chat with the people that was there, then put our foot on the track quite eroded moving forward to finally go into the forest toward Caratuva peak, our first goal. The hike of Caratuva with weight and heat was not easy. At another time I was there was not as hot as this time. Pedro got at the summit before and was talking to some people. I got there after 2 or 3 minutes stopping just once to shoot the view. There we met a people of CPM (Clube Paranaense de Montanhismo - Parana mountaineering Club) that we saw in the mountain dinner the night before. The Pico Parana Farm is at 1.000 m high (about 3.280 feet) and Caratuva's summit is at 1.850 m high (about 6.070 feet).
We could not stay there much then we just sign the visitor's book, some photos and ready to go. It took about three hours to get up there because of the heat and now the time verged 16:00h. Our goal was to get to Taipabuçú, mountain new for both of us, and sleep there to attack Ferraria the next morning. We said goodbye to the people who have already started to go back down and we left to the colouir between the two mountains. Looking from Caratuva seems to be far away, but the trail is pretty beat up, very well marked, and the nebular forest itself gives a very pleasant climate just like "The Shire" from a story by Tolkien. There was a sea of clouds triyng to pass through the mountain to our right. To our left was a farm on a hill nearby. What a wonderful place...
We arrived at the first summit of Taipabuçú (it has 3 summits) at 17:19 h. We did not knew where was the source of water. There was a boy coming down from the ridge, he did an attack from Caratuva. Told us there was water in the third summit but he wasn't precise where. Once we arrived at the second summit, signed the visitor's book. Pedro managed to call to Hilton to get better information about water and camping. Great! I returned alone to the first summit as they spoke. Minutes later Pedro joined me and we decided that he would go find the water and I would prepare our camp, which actually would be limited to a bivak.
There goes Pedro, now with the latest daylight around 17:45 h. I took everything out of the backpacks, prepared my bivak, Pedro's, stoves, separated the food, left everything ready. The minutes passed, the sun set, I took some photos and I communicated with flashlight with the other camps. There were people in the camp 2 of Pico Paraná, on the summit of Pico Paraná and also there were people camping on top of Caratuva.
The night came and with it total darkness, Pedro did not return. I began to worry and to evaluate the possibility of going after him. The time has progressed and 19:00h when I thought to myself "I will give ten more minutes, if he does not come back i'll go look for him." Put on my boot, prepared the flashlight and I was counting the minutes. Just before I go Pedro's flashlight emerged at the second summit of Taipabuçú. Good! I shouted asking if everything was OK and he replied positively. The problem is that water is much below the top half the way to the colouir between the Taipabuçú and Ferraria, and as the terrain is very steep and Pedro was already tired like me, took longer than expected, but in the end everything worked out.
Time for dinner! We did OUR 38th edition of the Mountain Dinner! Feijoada with energetic juice. As always, the beans passing down the throat leaves a taste of life going into the body... That is a fantastic feeling after a long day of hiking. Starry sky, very tired already, after dinner each one entered his sleeping bag before 20:00h. Unlike what I expected, fast asleep, we talked for about two hours, looking at stars, it feels like magic, the conversation flowed like river water, sleep was long gone. Finally at almost 23:00h the conversation went to bed and with it, Pedro. I stayed up staring at the Ibitiraquire Sky, thinking about life. The last time I checked it was about one o'clock am, then woke up and looked again, it was close to three. I slept no more until morning!
The new day came and with it new goals...
Tired of lying and no sleep, I started to get up around 8 am. Hearing the noise of the zipper of my sleeping bag Pedro raised at the same time. The night was so uncomfortable for me and Pedro as well. I turned all the time seeking a comfortable position to sleep but the uneven ground did not help at all. That does not bother me so much on the mountain, at least not for three nights, more than that is complicated.
We began to prepare our breakfast, pizza! What a wonder, food for sultans, we made a feast in the mountain, outdoors and with good weather! Eat, eat and eat. Fill your belly before walking is a guarantee of energy in the legs to the walk that would follow.
When we look at the time was already quite late, 09.00h! We clean everything, organize everything within the backpack and raincoat and hid in there. We started walking at 9:30h. Our destination this day was the distant peak Ferraria. With 1754 meters of altitude (about 5.755 feet) it defies many who dare not to attempt the summit. I've heard so many stories about Ferraria as I heard about Ciririca. I can not say that I confirm none of them.
We went down the trail very well marked with ribbons, pass the water point that Pedro was the night before to get water, we were in another nebular forest very much enjoyable to walk. Neither needed to pay close attention to the trail, it was so open, we talked all the time. But joy of mountaineering in the Serra do Mar do not last very much. Arriving at the colouir connecting the two mountains we find a difficult pass. It is a sequence of about 300 or 350 meters of trail dominated by traditional bamboo and fire bamboo fell on the trail, making a true mesh (or web) that literally clings to everything. At three points whose trajectory is no more than 5 or 6 meters long, the only way is to lie down and go as a soldier dragging. We have done that with fun, laughing and without complaint, even stopping to photograph and eat BIS (brazilian chocolate bar) under the mesh! ahahahahhaa
A little more ahead Pedro decided to leave it there his backpack. After all, we did not knew how much of that bamboo would be ahead, to get stuck every three meters of trail would be a pain in the ass. There was new ground for us both. He left the bag and marked the spot on the GPS. We continued on and ironically that was the last stretch of bamboo, the end of our military life (he he he). The track was reopened in a forest gently fantastic, with tall trees that prevented the entry of sunlight, making the air very humid and walk more than nice!
At the exit of this last part of bamboo, we entry at the forest. Beautiful, it takes about five minutes to see the trail that seemed to have disappeared, but we found ten meters above, and it continued without any problems, always following the track very well defined and marked with ribbons. A window between the trees opened and I could see the sky completely overcast. I Commented to Pedro that i was worried about the weather and he replied "I am also concerned" but we were very close and despite being all cloudy, rain was not a possibility that day. Aldo it was a windy day.
With the same tranquility that we hiked, we reached a part of rock climbing, no big deal, an easy pass. Just took the bag out to facilitate and went up. Five minutes later we were on top of Pico Ferraria, deviating from huge ant nests that stand guard there. We took the total of 2h and 40m to the summit of Ferraria, from the first summit of Taipabuçú.
The sky was clouded, but very high clouds, which meant that our vision was not limited and at no time, we could see everything from up there, even the sea! Visibility really good, an angle rarely seen for the group of Paraná Peak, dominated by Pico Ibitirati wall and its 600 meters of rock. At north we could see Ferreiro Peak, even less frequented. Further north and a bit farther Capivari Sierra. Between Paraná Peak and Camels Peak on one side and at the other Ciririca Peak, loomed as an island lies the Silver Tower Peak, what a beautiful mountain! Inspired me to return to Paraná to go at lands that i have not yet stepped on.
They're not big, but quite challenging mountains!
Brazilian state: Paraná.
Nearest big city and airport: Curitiba (40km)
Trailhead: There's two farms you can go on from, To hike from the Caratuva side go to Pico Paraná Farm. To go hike from the Camapuan side, go to Bolinha Farm.
We began the descent still not believing how easy was to reach this summit. I believe the best is what we did, spending a night in Taipabuçú to hike the mountain, it is less stressful and maximizes the chances of reach the summit before the weather change, very common out there. At most one overnight in Caratuva. Well, we came back the same way without making any mistakes, took the bag, went through all the bamboo already knowing the ground. We began the ascent of the Taipabuçú and i was already getting tired. Undaunted and without caring for dozens of injuries and bruises, I continued enjoying the adventure and forgetting the problems that contemporary social life gives us as a gift.
After 2 more hours hiking back we reached the third summit of Taipabuçú. From there we went back to the first summit where we left our stuff. We had two sausages left over from the first package opened for breakfast, then we decided to make some shrimp noodle with the sausage to give a distinctive flavor.
We rested for a while, eat, hydration time, and started to go down the trail. It's funny how time has passed when we sit on the top of Taipabuçu to this rest...I looked at the clock and marked 16h! Incredible! The idea was obvious, take the trail that comes bordering the Caratuva underneath instead of going up again its summit. This way was opened by Julio and Élcio a long time ago. However remains wide open despite less frequented.
We descended and entered the forest as the sun is gone with the treetops, it was 16:30h and it was almost dark in the forest on the slopes of Caratuva. We continued without stopping until the path Caratuva - Parana Peak. Only 1 minute rest, I was pretty tired and Pedro appeared to be much more willing. We followed up the trail until the water point, there we had to stop again because we needed enough water to cook salt meat, it requires at least two boils to remove the salt.
Now we are heavier and tiredness got the two of us. We continued walking up and time progressed more rapidly, leaving the trail of the water spot it was about 17:25h, there was no more sun, headlamps to go on from there. We arrived at the entrance to Itapiroca Peak at 18:00h already completely in the dark. Despite being dark, the trail is an avenue of so open and the altitude difference is little, since the trail starts at 1.660 meters (5.445 feet) and Itapiroca's summit has 1.805 meters (5.921 feet), the camp is even lower: 1.762 meters (5.780 feet). We had to win only one hundred meters to the camp and still was very tiring after a long day walking with big and heavy backpacks.
After half an hour we got there, it was 18:30h, we did not see anything beyond the town of Paranagua well lit at night time. We set up the tent, we emptied our backpacks and began to organize our camp. Suddenly we noticed a phenomenon very cool to see. A sea of clouds formed in the valleys, fill and capping it all sight below us. Paranagua could no longer be seen and the cloud layer began to rise rapidly, soon covered Camelos Peak and began to come to the side of Cotia river. It was a vision indicating weather change, confirming the forecast that Hilton gave to Pedro by cell phone. Still, we were watching that Ballet of clouds under our feet.
Lights indicated that the C2 for Parana Peak still housed campers. Turn our attention to the 39th Mountain dinner, witch would have one taste of Grandma's food he he he: rice cooked with meat! The food in the mountains are getting more elaborate he he he. Some day i'll do a barbecue! We lick our fingers and entered the tent tired, I had muscle pain and i took painkillers to relieve and to sleep peacefully. Sleep. Woke up just after 3am and could not sleep anymore. What a problem! I need to find a way in my anxiety on the mountain, get me out of sleep night after night...that's not good.
I watched the clock waiting for time to pass and saw drops of rain just after half past five in the morning. It stopped. The clock screamed at the time we wanted to see the sunrise in vain, i opened the tent and did not see twenty meters ahead! The weather had changed completly. It started raining and never stopped for an hour.
When the rain eased a little we got up and at the same time decided to abort the attack to Paraná Peak. We would go down without even eating breakfast because water started to accumulate on the ground where was the tent. While Pedro was gathering things I said: "Man, I'm here already, i'm going to the summit of Itapiroca, who knows when there will be another chance to me man?! Is right there!" And there I went to the sounds of laughter from Pedro and the rain. Yes, it was raining.
It took me about six or seven minutes to reach the summit, looked around and went down to the false summit, where the book case is. I made a video and went back to the tent in five minutes, I was pretty fast. We finished packing everything and started the descent at 09:15h. Fortunately the rain stopped just when we closed the backpacks. We could not have any haste, trail wet, slippery rocks, one fall and an fracture are there looking behind that bush, careful way back.
An eternity to get back. Land that never ends! We arrived at the entrance of the trail and went to Getulio hill, walked with no rush, no worries, no rain! At the trail Pedro saw a small snail, about 4 cm long. Pure luck! I spent the entire trip without one photo of an little buddy, here's my chance.
This one Pedro saw at the trailhead at Getulio Hill, Paraná, may 17th, 2010.
Size: Aprox 4 cm.
We arrived at the farm at 11:25h, there was only one car with Pedro's car, sign that those people still in the C2 or returning. Pedro took a bath, then I went, threw everything in the car and only stopped to eat at Tio Doca gas station.
Funny talk between Pedro, an employe of the gas station and I:
Pedro: How much is it?
Girl (employe): We have the buffet option that costs R$ 14,00 (about US$ 8.5), we have barbecue for R$ 15,00 (about US$ 9.00 - that option you can eat as much as you want) - (pause)
Girl: We also have a ready meal witch contains rice, beans, salad and one meat that can be chicken or filet.
Me: Fuck it Pedro, barbecue of course!
Pedro: ahahahahha we have to end this properly!
Me: Who cares? I'm screwed anyway!
We decided democratically by the barbecue option! The food was really good, especially coming out of the mountain and getting the package ready, without having to connect to the gas to the stove, search for water, cook, eat, pee, number 2, wash dishes in cold water of the mountain...We went to Curitiba, passed at Pedro's so I could change my wet pants to a dry jeans and then he left me on the bus station at 14:54h, took a bus from 15:00h to São Paulo! Lucky me.
What can I say about this weekend? Best and funniest impossible!