Wednesday, 29 July 2009


We were picked up at 6 in the morning to ride down the mountain on trucks to Cofradia, then transfered round to the other side of the park by a bus, which absolutely did not stop at a shop, and even if it had done, certain people were not responsible. 

From the drop of the bus it was a three hour uphill walk to Santo Thomas, our packs were taken most of the way by truck then the rest by mules.  Santo Tomas is different again, the centre of the camp is two buildings in the middle of fields, there are houses dotted around and a little shop.  The view is amazing, in one direction up into the mountains again, the other way down to the coast and across to Guatemala. There was a fantastic stream right by the camp with little waterfalls and locals brought round fresh fruit Transects were fairly hardcore as they all started at least half an hour from camp and were on about 60 degree slopes.

On my second last night there we had a party with a bonfire, Santo Tomas is a dry camp and there is absolutely no alcohol allowed, unless you go to the shop, which is all of two minutes away so of course no one drank anything. 

The walk up to Cortecito was five and a half hours uphill, the mules took our bags until an hour before the end but that hour was probably the hardest walking I've ever done.

Cortecito is the most beautiful camp but unfortuntely my camera battery died so I will have to try and steal pictures from other people.  Highlights included a stream running through the middle of the camp where we caught frogs, the comedy value of a table built on a slope so that you could walk one side of it with only your head showing and best of all, Howler Monkeys! I also got to feel smug when a school group arived having taken nine hours to walk up from Santo Tomas

The walk back down was easy and we were in Santo Tomas in under three hours, after another night we walked out to the road and got on a minibus. Then things got interesting, one person on the bus needed to be taken to the dentist and the rest of us had been promised a stop at a burger bar.  The driver had his own ideas and took us off the road through a slum and the through the city centre before driving straight to Cofradia. We stopped three times, twice for police roadblocks and once when he ordered us to turn off the aircon then, stopped to get in the back and turn it back on.

Base camp was full with school groups and all the staff had to sleep on the floor in the DNA lab.  There were events in the afternoon, including the Cusuco olympics and Mr and Miss Cusuco 2009, which will need to wait for photos to explain.

One week left in the forest, but I'm already thinking about where to go on my next expedition.

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