March 19, 2007
Chapada Diamantina Trek Day 2
We were supposed to leave at 8:00 this morning, so I got up at 7:00 in anticipation. Frequent camping on this trip has put me in the routine of getting up, putting away my sleeping bag and mattress, cooking and eating breakfast, cleaning my pots, taking down my tent, and packing everything in an hour without rushing. I was pretty annoyed when 9:00 rolled around and some of the others in the group still weren't ready to go. All they had to do was put away their sleeping bags and pads and eat the breakfast that was already cooked for them by the guide, so I couldn't understand why they would possibly need over two hours to get ready. I'm not just complaining for no reason, either. Sometimes temperatures can get unbelievably hot by 10:00 here, so I think it's best to leave as early as possible when it's still cool.
Luckily today the weather cooperated and the hiking was easy. We reached our campsite after hiking only one hour on fairly flat ground. We put our backpacks in the caves and began walking upstream toward the bottom of the Cachoeira da Fumaca, the highlight of the trek. It was an easy two-hour walk to the waterfall. Along the way, we spotted a small constrictor snake, a lucky sight because it was resting on a flat rock, making it easy to spot.
The waterfall itself was incredible. At 420 meters it's the highest waterfall in Brazil. Underneath, there was another big cold pool of water for swimming. We had lunch, enjoyed the location for awhile, and headed back down to our campsite.
Camp was once again in a great location and there still wasn't any rain to ruin anybody's night. However, the atmosphere wasn't festive like it was last night. I think most people didn't get much sleep last night in the caves on their thin rented foam mattresses. Everyone went to bed early tonight to try and compensate, but that just means laying even longer on the hard rocks. I was really glad to have my tent so I could sleep on the soft ground outside the caves. Sleeping in caves sounds great until you actually do it.