11 November, 2011
Second Day of Pico Duarte Trek:
We woke to the sound of the Guacaras River and promply left headed for Bao Valley, with the wet boots of Kevin (Thanks to God we found them after they had disappeared yesterday while crossing the river rapids and miraculously retrieved underneath the river reeds this morning).
We got lost.
After climbing a mountain for an hour and a half, we realized we were off the trail. Down again we went retracing our path.
Upon climbing again, we realized hiking together in a group gave us more energy and more rhythm.
Today was a very long and very great day. We left a bamboo forest to a beautiful river that we had to take off our shoes to ford. After walking 12 kilometers, we arrived to Boa Valley, where we found beautiful pines with green moss and a dense white fog that looked like snow. We bathed in Boa River, in precious, clean, and way too cold water. After smelling like mules, a nice bath felt good.
Yucca, sweet squash, and sauteed salami with onions for Dinner.
Tomorrow another climb.
We are carrying a flower to offer to God in the form of "Pachamama" to receive greatness, good energy, and everything that is holy.
Quote of the day, "If it didn't smell so much I would kiss it." - Dominican Friend Michelle about riding Blaco, the pack mule.
This was one of my favorite days climbing the great Pico Duarte (10,125 ft.). This is trip # 3 to the top of the island, this time accompanying me were five young Dominicans from my community and my best Peace Corps buddy, Kevin and his wife Michelle. It was kind of a sort of goodbye to my community. My buddies Jorge, Christopher, Carlos, Jason, and Jose Antonio are young Dominican men I will forever remember. They were every day at my door step, ready to share work and play together. I wanted to celebrate with an adventure. The 6 day "fiesta" trekking to the peak of the Caribbean's tallest mountain blessed us all. Nature triggers personal reflection. It brings us back to giving gratitude for the very elements of this planet that exist naturally. No human manipulation, no attitudes, no preferred aromas, just the simplicity of forests, hilly terrain, open skies, lots of rocks, and quiet vistas upon which we found real peace.
Ojo de Agua has blessed me with a home and a community for the past 2 plus years. I shall move back to America and reestablish my roots, never to forget the roots I planted on this island nation. My spirit and the spirit of Peace Corps shall forever remain in a country and with a people who I think of as family.
Going to Miss you DR,
Go adventure in nature with people you want to get to know better. It will bring out the realness of who they are.