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Locombia 2017 Chapter Eighteen: The Ladies

We crave beauty

San Vicente - Potosí, Los Nevados National Park 33 kilometers, elevation gain 2,014 meters

Potosí, Los Nevados National Park - Villa María 44 kilometers, elevation gain 992 meters

The Ruiz mountain in the background is home to an active volcano. The cloud on top of the mountain is smoke coming out of the volcano Arenas. A part of Los Nevados National Park has been closed for six years due to volcanic activity. 

The Ruiz mountain in the background is home to an active volcano. The cloud on top of the mountain is smoke coming out of the volcano Arenas. A part of Los Nevados National Park has been closed for six years due to volcanic activity. 

They are impossible to understand. They are beautiful. They are capricious. They have lovely curves. They frustrate you. They are magnificent.

I'm of course talking about mountains. We were so drawn to them that we endured another couple of cruel days, this time riding on dirt roads. Well, a bit of walking, too, to be honest. It was brutal and cold.

Our climb to get to Los Nevados National Park. From Strava.  

Our climb to get to Los Nevados National Park. From Strava.  

We weren't really helped by the locals. Our handmade map was okay for directions, but way off for distances. 22 kilometers turned out to be 30. Not so much on a smooth, slightly downhill trail. But eight kilometers uphill, into the unknown, with some very wet-looking clouds above, that's not good for morale.

Not that people on the way made it any easier for us. Here are some of the pointers we've had since last time we were connected:

"It's about 25 kilometers to get there." They were wrong by eight kilometers.

"You're going there?! That's so sonofab****h far away!" I can't really make a better translation. He turned out to be right, though.

"You're about one hour away." He was off by two hours.

"It's a half hour walk." More like an hour by bike!

"It's all downhill, and then a short climb to get there." On which planet, mister, is a two-hour climb and almost thousand meters elevation a small climb?!

We have been up and down to Los Nevados National Park. We endured one of our coldest nights ever. We knew we didn't have sufficient clothing, but we didn't know we would have to consider spooning to get through the night. Finally it didn't come to such extreme measures. We were almost suffocated instead by the weight of six blankets each on top of us.

So was it worth it? Eighty kilometers off road, enduring ice cold weather for a short flirt with this beautiful but moody mistress called Nevados? Definitely. Just look at the photos. 

The Otún lagoon. Oh,  the tranquility! 

The Otún lagoon. Oh,  the tranquility! 

Some interesting flora in Los Nevados National Park. It felt like artificial grass. 

Some interesting flora in Los Nevados National Park. It felt like artificial grass. 

Espeletia. These are important for the ecosystem, but fragile. Only found above 2,800 meters in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Espeletia. These are important for the ecosystem, but fragile. Only found above 2,800 meters in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Omar as ready as he can be for sleeping at 3,900 meters above sea level.  

Omar as ready as he can be for sleeping at 3,900 meters above sea level.  

Fog made riding conditions wet and incredibly cold.

Fog made riding conditions wet and incredibly cold.

Locombia 2017 Chapter Seventeen: The Therapy

Locombia 2017 Chapter Ninteen: The Politics